The IOTA Foundation is a not-for-profit entity that focuses on providing secure communications and payments between machines and devices on the Internet-of-Things. To achieve this goal, IOTA created its own cryptocurrency, built on open-source distributed ledger technology.
Very recently, cryptographers from Danish cybersecurity firm Cybercrypt developed Troika, a new hash function to be used in the IOTA’s distributed ledger technology. The non-profit organization is sponsoring a cryptoanalysis competition called the Troika challenge, where contenders must try to crack round-reduced variants of this function. If they succeed, the competitors can win prizes totaling up to €200,000 in the form of shares.
Essentially, a hash function is a method of mapping data of an inconsistent size to data of a fixed size. If a cracker has access to the hash, he must not be able to reverse engineer the function and gain access to the original data. If this does happen, it means the hash function is shaky and potentially vulnerable to attacks. According to Cybercrypt, Troika is immune to such attacks and was able to withstand all cryptanalytic tests they conducted.
The organization wishes to use this new hash function as the cryptographic and encrypting foundation for its distributed ledger. In a statement made by David Sønstebø, Co-Founder and Co-chair of the foundation, he said that IOTA also hopes that this competition will "bring the cryptographic community together on solving security in the Internet-of-Things".
Participants may choose to use one of two sub-categories of attacks: “collisions” and “preimage" to perform the hack. Application of either type of attack will count as a win. Once the crack has been verified as a success by Cyberscript, the company will proceed with the payout. Individual prize values vary between €100 to €35,000, depending on which variant of the function the contender manages to crack. For a complete list of terms and conditions and to enter the challenge, visit the official link to the competition (accessible via password: (G)st4-pf87H )