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Home » Dictionary » Chipsets

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Numeric

Author: Gabriel Torres Last Updated: January 6, 2006
Category: Chipsets

Random Number Generator

When a program generates a random number, this number is not really random (that is why program-generated random numbers are called pseudo-random). This occurs because the computer, as an ”exact“ device, cannot ”create“ a number out of the blue. To generate a random number, the computer uses its real time clock.

For the majority of users this ”problem“ isn’t a big deal, since the numbers generated that way are random enough for almost all applications. But when it comes to encryption keys this can lead to a security problem.

A hacker, knowing more or less the date and time that a given key was generated, is capable of reducing a lot the number of tries he (or she) has to perform to reproduce it.

In systems where important encryption keys are generated it is necessary to use a separated circuit called Random Number Generator (RNG), which generates keys without using the computer’s real time clock.

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