Randomness

Choose a number between 1 and 10.

When asked to pick a number between 1 and 10, most people say 7. Did you? Humans are not good at generating random numbers and, it turns out, neither are machines. In this activity, we look at the ways in which accidentally non-random data can lead to broken cryptography and the ways in which cryptographers can generate better random numbers.

The US Government (through the NSA) was accused of working with Intel to change the way random numbers were generated in their CPUs, potentially weakening any encryption algorithm that requires a source of randomness run on those chips.

Your task

How sure can we be that the hardware we use is doing what we expected of it? Discuss this issue with your fellow learners.

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This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Cryptography

Coventry University