Recently starting to immerse myself into cryptography, the problem concerning the generation of true randomness being unachievable for computers at this point was raised. If computers were able to measure temperature, or measure time in nanoseconds, some randomness could be acquired. This is however not the case.

A somewhat new, perhaps even partially unexplored way of attacking computer systems consists of reading memory many (many!) times, abusing quantum effects in order to try to flip adjacent bits in memory. By my understanding this is called bit flipping, and the concept has already been proven in what is called a bitsquatting attack (https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/03/windows-com-bitsquatting-hack-can-wreak-unknown-havoc-on-pcs/ ).

My question is: Would it then not be possible to acquire a random number by reading a pre assigned memory block over and over and over again, and then take the adjacent memory block bits as the result (this would be a unforecastable string of 1s and 0s)? Is this unfeasible due to the computational requirements of reading the data this many times? Could it cause memory corruption beyond the intended adjacent blocks as well?

If there is anyone who has more documentation about these mechanics, or any complemented research, this would be much appreciated!

  • 1
    This sounds for me like a complicated way to get comparable few entropy per time, especially since RAM designed to be reliable in general and not show much of these effects. Given that modern CPU contain hardware based random generators which also rely on physical processes which are explicitly designed for lots of randomness, I don't see a need to do something slow and complex where something faster and easier is already available. Unless of course one does not trust the provided random generators. Nov 14 '21 at 9:13
  • thanks for commenting Steffen. I'll have to look into these physical processes in the hardware for a better understanding of their actual randomness. Nov 14 '21 at 11:05
  • WRT complimented research, see random.org which is a random number generator that uses entropy derived from atmospheric noise.
    – mti2935
    Nov 14 '21 at 14:28

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