Re: Random PIDs, etc.

Aaron Denney (
28 Feb 1998 03:19:24 GMT

On Sat, 28 Feb 1998 15:11:35 +1300, Chris Wedgwood <> wrote:
> Also... what is a suitable way to seed the PRNG?
> Normally I would say get entropy for the /dev/random driver (intercept
> bits?, we only need a few bits every now and then and this is perhaps more
> important), but for a cleanly booted system there isn't much to go around...
> (and the Debian system where saving entropy from /dev/random on shutdown and
> restoring on power-up is horrendous IMO and should be discontinued. Consider
> what could occur by poisoning this data then having someone generate a PGP
> key or something).

I thought that writing to the device file /dev/random mixed the data into
the entropy pool, but did not increase the amount of entropy claimed.
Otherwise, one could just cat lots of zeroes in, while pulling all the
data out, and empty the pool. Given these semantics, how is this
practice "Horrendous". As I see it, it can only help.

This is all AIUI, of course. Could someone who is more knowledgeable
please comment on this?

Aaron Denney

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