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Programming Math Music Science

Exploiting Network Captures For Truer Randomness 189

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 @06:05PM (#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.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings