On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 10:23:07AM -0500, Thierry Moreau wrote: > Do you really trust that no single source of entropy can have knowledge of > the other source's output, so it can surreptitiously correlate its own? > > I.e, you are are also assuming that these sources are *independent*.

I do not think one means the other here. An omniscient malicious RNG source seems quite unlikely in most threat models. However that is a very different statement from saying that lacking such an attacker, you can safely assume your 'pools of entropy' (to quote the original question) are independent in the information-theoretic sense. Say you execute (on a Linux machine) two commands, like ifconfig -a and netstat -s (which print ASCII text with statistics about network interfaces and network protocols, resp), capturing the output as two of your entropy sources. Both have some amount of entropy (perhaps zero if an attacker is on the machine and runs his commands at the same time as yours - and perhaps quite a bit more if the local machine happens to be safe). But they are certainly not statistically independent! Information in one will be somewhat reflected in the other (packet counters), and of course at the macro level all your inputs have high bit unset, so if you combined via XOR your output will have at best .875 bits of entropy per bit. To address IanG's question more directly, my first thought would be to use something like the design Hugo Krawczyk describes in "On Extract-then-Expand Key Derivation Functions and an HMAC-based KDF" (http://www.ee.technion.ac.il/~hugo/kdf/kdf.pdf) or one of the related PRNG designs he references. Then use the output of the HMAC PRF to feed the DT vector of an X9.31 PRNG (using block cipher du jour), a trick AFAIK invented by Peter Gutmann which has always seemed like a good worst-case-scenario trick to me (for instance, if the code for the hash's compression function is miscompiled), though at the cost of extra code/design complexity (and thus points of failure) - as always there are tradeoffs to make. -Jack (IANAC) --------------------------------------------------------------------- The Cryptography Mailing List Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to [EMAIL PROTECTED]