Cryptanalytic Attacks on Pseudorandom Number Generators

J. Kelsey, B. Schneier, D. Wagner, and C. Hall

Fast Software Encryption, Fifth International Workshop Proceedings (March 1998), Springer-Verlag, 1998, pp. 168-188.

ABSTRACT: In this paper we discuss PRNGs: the mechanisms used by real-world secure systems to generate cryptographic keys, initialization vectors, “random” nonces, and other values assumed to be random. We argue that PRNGs are their own unique type of cryptographic primitive, and should be analyzed as such. We propose a model for PRNGs, discuss possible attacks against this model, and demonstrate the applicability of this model (and our attacks) to four real-world PRNGs. We close with a discussion of lessons learned about PRNG design and use, and a few open questions.

[full text – postscript] [full text – PDF (Acrobat)]

Categories: Pseudorandom Number Generators

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.