In computing, entropy is the randomness collected by an operating system or application for use in cryptography or other uses that require random data. This randomness is often collected from hardware sources, either pre-existing ones such as mouse movements or specially provided randomness ...

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Passphrase generator and strength & recovery time estimator. Right strength and randomness?

Questions about the strength of pass phrases frequently popup, as does: how to generate a strong passphrase? I tried to combine both in a tool. The free tool also includes recovery time estimations ...
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745 views

Open-source alternative for CryptGenRandom?

Let's say that for some reason I don't trust CryptGenRandom. Are there any open source software Windows entropy collectors to get cryptographically secure random numbers from for seeding purposes? ...
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Why is /dev/random so slow on Linux? [duplicate]

If it's true you only need about 128 bits of entropy to fuel enough data forever, why is it that /dev/random is so slow? My system has uptime of 214 days! Is it really only gathering .000000001 bits ...
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How can I measure (and increase) entropy on Mac OS X?

I'd like to generate a bunch of keys for long term storage on my MacBook. What's a good way to: measure the amount of entropy and ensure it is sufficient before each key is generated, and ...
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Java SecureRandom doesn't block? How?

I know from experience that reading from /dev/random blocks when the Linux kernel entropy pool runs out of entropy. Also, I've seen many articles and blog entries stating that when running on Linux, ...
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5answers
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Are there any guidelines for passwords that need to be read out loud?

I recently saw the movie Olympus Has Fallen. Like in many action movies, at the end a missile is launched, and the hero (Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler) has 60 seconds to recall the launch in ...
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1answer
103 views

Does adding an extra, non-entropic keyfile lower security? [duplicate]

Suppose I create two TrueCrypt volumes using keyfiles. The first volume uses a keyfile generated by TrueCrypt, whereas the second one uses the same keyfile in addition to a second, non-entropic ...
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2answers
237 views

Does adding a non-entropic part to a password makes it less secure?

Suppose I'm encrypting a file via AES using a password of my choice, or creating a TrueCrypt volume using a password and no keyfiles. Which of the following two passwords would be more secure: ...
17
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2answers
809 views

How do I ensure there is sufficient entropy on an embedded system at first boot?

I'm working on an embedded system that will generate an SSL key the first time the system boots. I would like to avoid the problems discovered by Heninger et al. and Lenstra et al. where embedded ...
4
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2answers
343 views

How can I create a secure password?

I know the standard tricks, create a long password, numbers, symbols, capital letters, etc. My questions is how do I judge password security. I heard different tricks to make secure passwords. For ...
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1answer
171 views

PHP - Serializing user inputs

My entropy gathering system works by serializing user inputs: $entropy=sha1(microtime().$pepper.$_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'].$_SERVER['REMOTE_PORT']. ...
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3answers
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Is it appropriate to use haveged as a source of entropy on virtual machines?

While looking for solutions to entropy pool depletion on virtual machines, I came across an interesting project called haveged, which is based on the HAVEGE algorithm (HArdware Volatile Entropy ...
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6answers
803 views

Is there additional security value in using passwords with words or phrases in non-English languages?

I was thinking about correct horse battery staple. I am not a native English speaker. In my language, the above could be written as: vqrno kon bateriq telbod OR вярно кон батерия телбод. Keep in ...
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2answers
371 views

Computing entropy for a passphrase ( minimal word length … )

Edit: 2013-05-17 . 2013-05-27 After reading first answer from Tom Leek and some docs around the web, I've begin to write some options to my tool genpassphrase.pl: $ ./genpassphrase.pl -h Usage: ...
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4answers
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Is there a length beyond which increasing password length provides no additional security?

Assuming that the password is stored hashed and salted, and that it is a string of random characters, is there a point where adding to password length doesn't add security? Since the hash will have a ...
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3answers
4k views

For how much time should I randomly move the mouse for generating encryption keys?

When creating a Truecrypt volume, there is the wizard page in which the user is told to randomly move the mouse (the longer the better) to generate entropy, and that it will significantly increase the ...
16
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2answers
587 views

What statistics can be used to identify pseudorandom data?

I'm working on some code that attempts to identify files whose contents appear to be "random". As such, I'm looking for statistical measures that can be used to identify such randomness. I've ...
3
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1answer
446 views

How genuine are password entropy calculations?

I apologise for perhaps the confusing title, I'll try and elaborate a little better. Many discussions I see surrounding password entropy focus on the specific context of the range of choices ...
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3answers
896 views

Calculating how secure my password is

I generally use GnuPG for encrypting my files and as far as I know its strength ultimately depends on the passphrase I use. So, I would like to know: how can I mathematically calculate how secure my ...
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2answers
1k views

How is the available entropy in /dev/random calculated (or estimated)?

It seems (to a non-expert) that /dev/random is acclaimed to be useable as a source of pure random data. However, I am curious as to the analysis of the file /dev/random. /dev/random is a collection ...
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2answers
710 views

Password entropy match for alphanumeric but there are special characters in password

I have a problem cracking some of the fundamentals on passwords' entropies. Namely: I have read this article about a guy cracking DKIM of Google (maybe more noticing that the keys are only 512 bits) ...
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3answers
2k views

Is a predictable MAC address a risk?

If you knew from the public internet that a certain IP address belonged to a machine with a certain MAC address, can you see any security exposure associated with that? I know that some software will ...
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4answers
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Confused about (password) entropy

There seem to be many different 'kinds' of entropy. I've come across two different concepts: A) The XKCD example of 'correcthorsebatterystaple". It has 44 bits of entropy because four words randomly ...
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3answers
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Calculating complex password entropy?

Whenever I look at password entropy, the only equation I ever see is E = log2(R)*L, or alternatively E = log2(R^L), where E is password entropy, R is the range of available characters, and L is the ...
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6answers
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Does having a minimum number of digits improve password security?

Some password systems will enforce at least X of a type of character - a common one I see is 'minimum 3 numeric characters'. As far as I understand, simply allowing certain character classes, like ...
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4answers
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Google Account: implications of using application-specific passwords

In the wake of the recent Mat Honan story I decided to try out two-factor authentication on my Google account. But in order to keep using it with Exchange, the Android OS, Google Talk and Google ...
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3answers
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Why are passwords limited to 16 characters?

What is the reason that most websites limit to 16 characters? I would have thought the longer the password the more difficult it makes it for someone to crack it? Is it something to do with hash ...
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3answers
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When changing a password, does it have to be completely different?

When changing a password how important is it to have a significantly different one? For example is it bad to reverse the sequencing of the old password to make a new one or change a few numbers?
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4answers
488 views

If the attacker knows part of the password but not the length, does that help him in any way?

The idea behind this is that if knowing part of the password and not the length is useless, "passwords" can be easily stored in cleartext or paper since you would just add your own n characters ...
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3answers
879 views

Does the salt need to be unique or not predictable?

I always thought that salts is simply used to prevent rainbow tables to be used. Other have suggest they should be unique on a per account basis. Currently i have been using a config file to use as ...
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4answers
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password complexity policy for non “English” passwords

In an internationalized application, what is the best practice for a policy on complexity of passwords? I am not having luck searching for the answer. Wikipedia lists these items for password ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Recompute Rainbow table with salt?

So, as I understand it, you prepend a password with salt before you hash it so that the resulting hash can't be used with a rainbow table to find the original password, as you could if the password ...
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7answers
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Are passwords made up from concatenating a few foreign words better than shorter random characters? [duplicate]

Does it make sense to insert a foreign word into a paraphrase to mitigate against brute force? For example: "pussiMeansCatInEskimo" "caballoMeansHorse" "CatIsGatto" "SalopeMeansBitch" ...
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6answers
695 views

Using passwords made of words

People say don't use passwords in the dictionary but if you use two words isn't it alright? Dictionaries have at least 10,000 entries so just two words will be 100,000,000 possibilities (and that's ...
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9answers
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Why do password strength requirements exist?

Password strength is now everything, and they force you to come up with passwords with digits, special characters, upper-case letters and whatnot. Apart from being a usability nightmare (even I as a ...
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4answers
1k views

In hashing, does it matter how random a salt is?

I recently had a comment made to me in an online discussion after I'd stated that randomness in a salt doesn't matter -- and I got the following response: Salts may not have to be "secure," but ...
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2answers
658 views

Can I use hardware random number generation on my computer? Am I already using it?

A lot of computer security depends on encryption: SSL connections, TCP packet sequencing, encrypted files, etc. These depend on random number generation to ensure that attackers can't guess the ...
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3answers
319 views

What would the cryptographic impact be of knowing the output of /dev/urandom?

Another noob question, I know, but something I'm unsure about. If I somehow magically knew the output of /dev/urandom at any given time, how much would that weaken a given encryption system? Or, ...
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3answers
655 views

If I have two identical linux virtual machine images, will they generate identical random numbers?

A really noob question, I know, but something I was wondering about this morning. If this were the case, would they encrypt things identically? Or maybe someone could direct me to a helpful research ...
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3answers
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Pseudo Random Generator is not initialized from the (entropy pool)?

The RHEL5 manuals state that /dev/urandom will use the entropy pool until it's exhausted, and then it will resort to a fall-back pseudo-random algorithm, so that it will never block. But when ...
2
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1answer
232 views

How to estimate the number of entropy bits & search space of a signature system like passtouch?

Apologies if I'm using the wrong lexicon, I'm just reading up about password systems out of interest. After seeing the xkcd strip on passphrases and coming across the passtouch system (youtube demo) ...
2
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1answer
520 views

Does client certificate authentication demand more server-side entropy?

We have a secure web service running Apache that requires client certificates for access. This service has a problem with running out of entropy. We have several other sites that use TLS that get ...
12
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1answer
638 views

General purpose slow/unique hash routine for dup checking of private data, without storing the data itself?

I am wondering if there is a percentage of uniqueness known to be lost with every repeat of various hash routines, like MD5, SHA1, and how that might compare with other algorithms. If theoretically I ...
18
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1answer
5k views

Can a dictionary attack crack a Diceware passphrase?

Everyone knows the words used in Diceware passwords (all 6^5 = 7776 words are published) -- they're all common words. Everyone seems to know that we're not supposed to use dictionary words for ...
4
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2answers
2k views

/dev/random security holes

I'm doing some reading into the security issues surrounding /dev/random but it's proving to be hard to find good sources of information. Can anybody help? I've asked Google and got a bunch of articles ...
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2answers
921 views

How should I make diceware passphrases more memorable?

I find that truly random diceware passphrase, more often than not, either contain a word that is easily misspelled or has an order that is illogical. I think there are three ways to make a diceware ...
6
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4answers
2k views

Password entropy in layman's terms

Entropy is a term used often in relation to password security and brute-force attacks, but it is a topic that can get complicated quickly. What is the best way to describe password entropy (what it is ...
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2answers
1k views

Are there some good papers (or discussions) on using Markov chains or Hidden Markov Models for password auditing/cracking?

As a programmer and language enthusiast I've been very interested in Markov chains for some time. Considering the influence of natural language on password and passphrase selection (by humans of ...
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22answers
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XKCD #936: Short complex password, or long dictionary passphrase?

How accurate is this XKCD comic from August 10, 2011? I've always been an advocate of long rather than complex passwords, but most security people (at least the ones that I've talked to) are ...
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2answers
1k views

How can we accurately measure a password entropy range?

I've given myself the task of writing code that determines the strength of a password, and really want to break out of a lot of already established ways we do that, as they're often lacking, not ...