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Generate a variable-length hash of `data` in Node.js
var crypto = require("crypto");
/* variableHash - Generate a variable-length hash of `data`.
Similar to the answer here:
If you want a b-bit hash of the message m, then use the first b bits of AES-CTR(SHA256(m)).
Rather than using the suggested algorithm in the stackexchange answer above, I developed
my own.
I decided to derive AES256 initialization vector and key from the output of SHA256(data).
Then, the cipher is fed a zero-filled buffer as plaintext, which is encrypted using this key.
The result should be a pseudorandom number generator seeded with a 256-bit hash of `data`.
In other words, compute SHA256(m) and treat the resulting 256-bit string as a 256-bit AES key.
Next, use AES in counter mode (with this key) to generate an unending stream of pseudorandom bits.
Take the first b bits from this stream, and call it your hash.
Returns a `Buffer` Object
function variableHash(size, data, input_encoding) {
//Generate 256-bit hash of data
var hash = crypto.createHash("sha256");
hash.update(data, input_encoding);
hash = hash.digest("binary");
//Generate pseudorandom-random output that is `size` bytes
var output = new Buffer(size);
//Encrypt a zero-filled buffer using the SHA-256 hash as the AES-256 key
var cipher = crypto.createCipher("aes256", hash);
var offset = output.write(cipher.update(output), "binary");
output.write(, offset, "binary");
return output;
exports.variableHash = variableHash;
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