1994-04-29 - Re: Random #’s via serial port dongle?

Header Data

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Message Hash: 00e879e4e122e7f11aa9b1bbf3074e87bf972895a0ce709f8f689ee1a2311e6e
Message ID: <199404292128.OAA28043@netcom.com>
Reply To: <m0pwxLM-000IDpC@crynwr>
UTC Datetime: 1994-04-29 21:27:52 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 29 Apr 94 14:27:52 PDT

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 94 14:27:52 PDT
To: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Subject: Re: Random #'s via serial port dongle?
In-Reply-To: <m0pwxLM-000IDpC@crynwr>
Message-ID: <199404292128.OAA28043@netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Russ Nelson asks:

> This has probably been discussed before, but has anyone built a little
> device that amplifies the white noise from a transistor junction, and
> converts it into serial data?  You could easily build a self-powered
> dongle that sits on an RS-232 port and continuously spits out truly
> random bytes.
> I could probably sell them for $25 if I could sell more than a hundred
> of them.  Is there a market for true random number generators?

Yes, it's been debated many times on this list. The forthcoming FAQ
has a section on random number generators, noise sources, Zener
diodes, commercial implementations, etc.

Several people have said they could sell them for $25. So far, I know
of no such serial port dongles for $25. If you really think you can do
it, go for it.

(But, as politely as I can put it, don't make a lot of vague promises
to the list, ask for ideas and feedback, and then let the whole thing
drop. This has happened several times before.)

I don't think generating random numbers is all that much of a
priority. The Blum-Blum-Shub C code is available, and I defy anyone to
break _that_ PRNG! (Issues of entropy are a bit different, but I
expect the entropy with the BBS generator to be about as high as one
can get, and as high as what would get in some instance with a
"physically random" RNG.)

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
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