The Institute IMDEA Software researcher, Miguel Morona, was awarded with the second “Leonardo Torres Quevedo” prize in the specialty of Cryptology and Information Security, sponsored by CSIC and ITEFI, on March 28th, 2023. This distinction has been achieved thanks to his final degree work: “Algebraic Constraint Systems for Cryptographic Proofs applied to SHA-256”, which is the basis for the demonstration and verification of the hash code through matrices.
SHA-256 is a function based on an algorithm commonly used in cryptography for data compression, especially applied for digital signatures. Its widespread use is mainly due to its ability to effectively ensure data integrity, associating a unique 64-digit identifier to each text. Its applications are unlimited, allowing to detect any modification in the data since, in that case, the hash code will be radically different from the original one.
IMDEA Software researchers, Dario Fiore and Ignacio Cascudo, have supported and advised Miguel’s work, in which he manages to obtain an optimal R1CS (Rank 1 Constraint System) in terms of the algebraic relations of SHA-256, taking into account the generation of matrices with 23296 rows and 26113 columns. This algorithm guarantees that the hash code is correct and verifies it through the matrices.
This represents an evolution in cryptographic proofs, as it allows them to be more efficient.