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Programming Math Music Science

Exploiting Network Captures For Truer Randomness 189

Posted by timothy
from the when-lorem-ipsum-doesn't-cut-it dept.
First time accepted submitter ronaldm writes "As a composer who uses computers for anything and everything from engraving to live performance projects, it's periodically of some concern that computers do exactly what they're supposed to do — what they're told. Introducing imperfections into music to make it sound more 'natural' is nothing new: yet it still troubles me that picking up random data from /dev/random to do this is well, cheating. It's not random. It bugs me. So, short of bringing in and using an atomic source, here's a way to embrace natural randomness — and bring your packet captures to life!"
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Exploiting Network Captures For Truer Randomness

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  • Mod parent up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by impaledsunset (1337701) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @05:05PM (#37961186)

    /dev/random is already gathering environmental entropy from hardware sources and (except if you're running it on a virtual machine), it should produce data with good entropy that's truly random and is not comping from a pseudo RNG algorithm.

    Now, of course, if you XOR it with the network data you might increase entropy, but if it happens that /dev/random already uses it, you're not gaining anything, or in fact make things worse.

    But, please, if you think that /dev/random isn't providing data that's random enough, suggestions and patches would be welcome. Even if they don't get accepted in the mainline kernel, you can still distribute them.

    Another issue: I'd encrypt the data from the network source or XOR it with a pseudo RNG, because otherwise you might be leaking sensitive data through your "random" numbers.

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