Modify a message to have a desired CRC signature.
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madler Change spoof CRC specification to match ruse.
Previously spoof would use degree reflect polynomial, where the
polynomial is reflected if reflect is true. Now spoof uses degree
polymomial reflect, where the polynomial is never reflected. This
is the same convention that ruse uses. Use the word "degree"
instead of "dimension" for the number of bits in the CRC, also
to be consistent with ruse.
Latest commit 3f09ee5 Jan 15, 2018


spoof will assist you in modifying a message to make the CRC of that message equal any desired value. spoof does not need the message itself, but just the length of the message, the exclusive-or of the message's current CRC and the desired new CRC, and a set of bit locations in the message to potentially modify. spoof will then deliver a subset of those locations whose bits should be inverted. Then the modified message will have the desired CRC.

ruse will modify a small number of bits in a file such that the specified CRC of the file is unchanged. The least number of bits possible will be changed, starting at a randomly chosen location in the file. To do this, ruse uses a provided dictionary of CRC codewords in the file codewords.txt, pulled from the work of Philip Koopman, which he makes available online. If the specified CRC is not covered in codewords.txt, then the CRC polynomial is used as the codeword.


The purpose of spoof is to illustrate the extremely non-cryptographic nature of a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) as a signature. Since a CRC is a linear operation on the message, it is easy to invert the operation to construct messages with any desired CRC. spoof runs in O(log(n)) time, where n is the length of the message. Similarly, ruse applies codewords found through brute-force searches for bit patterns that leave CRCs with given polynomials unchanged.


Simply compile and link spoof.c and fline.c with a standard C99 compiler, and compile with a standard C++11 compiler. spoof.c is a command-line program that takes input from stdin and produces output on stdout. ruse is a command-line program that modifies the named file. The instructions for each are near the start of the respective source files.


This spoof input, specifying a 4-bit CRC with polynomial x4+x+1 reflected, an exclusive-or of the current and desired CRC of 1111, a message length of 89 (decimal) bytes, and four candidate bit locations to change in byte offset and bit number:

4 3 1
f 89
37 0
41 0
45 0
49 0

will produce this output:

invert these bits in the sequence:
offset bit
    41 0

This ruse command:

./ruse 32 4c11db7 1 file

will modify some number of bits in file, leaving the standard CRC-32 unchanged. The script getcodes can be used to pull the latest codewords from Philip Koopman's website:

./getcodes > codewords.txt


This code is under the zlib license, permitting free commercial use.