rand(3) OpenSSL rand(3)
rand - pseudo-random number generator
int RAND_set_rand_engine(ENGINE *engine);
int RAND_bytes(unsigned char *buf, int num);
int RAND_pseudo_bytes(unsigned char *buf, int num);
void RAND_seed(const void *buf, int num);
void RAND_add(const void *buf, int num, int entropy);
int RAND_load_file(const char *file, long max_bytes);
int RAND_write_file(const char *file);
const char *RAND_file_name(char *file, size_t num);
int RAND_egd(const char *path);
void RAND_set_rand_method(const RAND_METHOD *meth);
const RAND_METHOD *RAND_get_rand_method(void);
/* For Win32 only */
int RAND_event(UINT, WPARAM, LPARAM);
Since the introduction of the ENGINE API, the recommended way of controlling default
implementations is by using the ENGINE API functions. The default RAND_METHOD, as set by
RAND_set_rand_method() and returned by RAND_get_rand_method(), is only used if no ENGINE
has been set as the default "rand" implementation. Hence, these two functions are no
longer the recommened way to control defaults.
If an alternative RAND_METHOD implementation is being used (either set directly or as pro-
vided by an ENGINE module), then it is entirely responsible for the generation and manage-
ment of a cryptographically secure PRNG stream. The mechanisms described below relate
solely to the software PRNG implementation built in to OpenSSL and used by default.
These functions implement a cryptographically secure pseudo-random number generator
(PRNG). It is used by other library functions for example to generate random keys, and
applications can use it when they need randomness.
A cryptographic PRNG must be seeded with unpredictable data such as mouse movements or
keys pressed at random by the user. This is described in RAND_add(3). Its state can be
saved in a seed file (see RAND_load_file(3)) to avoid having to go through the seeding
process whenever the application is started.
RAND_bytes(3) describes how to obtain random data from the PRNG.
The RAND_SSLeay() method implements a PRNG based on a cryptographic hash function.
The following description of its design is based on the SSLeay documentation:
First up I will state the things I believe I need for a good RNG.
1 A good hashing algorithm to mix things up and to convert the RNG 'state' to random
2 An initial source of random 'state'.
3 The state should be very large. If the RNG is being used to generate 4096 bit RSA
keys, 2 2048 bit random strings are required (at a minimum). If your RNG state only
has 128 bits, you are obviously limiting the search space to 128 bits, not 2048. I'm
probably getting a little carried away on this last point but it does indicate that it
may not be a bad idea to keep quite a lot of RNG state. It should be easier to break
a cipher than guess the RNG seed data.
4 Any RNG seed data should influence all subsequent random numbers generated. This
implies that any random seed data entered will have an influence on all subsequent
random numbers generated.
5 When using data to seed the RNG state, the data used should not be extractable from
the RNG state. I believe this should be a requirement because one possible source of
'secret' semi random data would be a private key or a password. This data must not be
disclosed by either subsequent random numbers or a 'core' dump left by a program
6 Given the same initial 'state', 2 systems should deviate in their RNG state (and hence
the random numbers generated) over time if at all possible.
7 Given the random number output stream, it should not be possible to determine the RNG
state or the next random number.
The algorithm is as follows.
There is global state made up of a 1023 byte buffer (the 'state'), a working hash value
('md'), and a counter ('count').
Whenever seed data is added, it is inserted into the 'state' as follows.
The input is chopped up into units of 20 bytes (or less for the last block). Each of
these blocks is run through the hash function as follows: The data passed to the hash
function is the current 'md', the same number of bytes from the 'state' (the location
determined by in incremented looping index) as the current 'block', the new key data
'block', and 'count' (which is incremented after each use). The result of this is kept in
'md' and also xored into the 'state' at the same locations that were used as input into
the hash function. I believe this system addresses points 1 (hash function; currently
SHA-1), 3 (the 'state'), 4 (via the 'md'), 5 (by the use of a hash function and xor).
When bytes are extracted from the RNG, the following process is used. For each group of
10 bytes (or less), we do the following:
Input into the hash function the local 'md' (which is initialized from the global 'md'
before any bytes are generated), the bytes that are to be overwritten by the random bytes,
and bytes from the 'state' (incrementing looping index). From this digest output (which is
kept in 'md'), the top (up to) 10 bytes are returned to the caller and the bottom 10 bytes
are xored into the 'state'.
Finally, after we have finished 'num' random bytes for the caller, 'count' (which is
incremented) and the local and global 'md' are fed into the hash function and the results
are kept in the global 'md'.
I believe the above addressed points 1 (use of SHA-1), 6 (by hashing into the 'state' the
'old' data from the caller that is about to be overwritten) and 7 (by not using the 10
bytes given to the caller to update the 'state', but they are used to update 'md').
So of the points raised, only 2 is not addressed (but see RAND_add(3)).
BN_rand(3), RAND_add(3), RAND_load_file(3), RAND_egd(3), RAND_bytes(3),
0.9.7d 2003-11-20 rand(3)