UNIX random devices and utilities

learn more… | top users | synonyms

28
votes
2answers
21k views

How can I populate a file with random data?

How can I create a new file and fill it with 1 Gigabyte worth of random data? I need this to test some software. I would prefer to use /dev/random or /dev/urandom.
27
votes
8answers
8k views

How to generate a random string?

I would like to generate a random string (e.g. passwords, user names, etc.). It should be possible to specify the needed length (e.g. 13 chars). What tools can I use? (For security and privacy ...
21
votes
9answers
39k views

Generate random numbers in specific range

After googling a bit I couldn't find a simple way to use a shell command to generate a random decimal integer number included in a specific range, that is between a minimum and a maximum. I read ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

Why does dd from /dev/random give different file sizes?

I am running the following command on an ubuntu system: dd if=/dev/random of=rand bs=1K count=2 However, every time I run it, I end up with a file of a different size. Why is this? How can I ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Run commands at random

I want to run one of the two commands C1 and C2 at random. How do I do that on commandline (bash)? Will appreciate if a one-liner is possible.
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Why writing to /dev/random does not make parallel reading from /dev/random faster?

Typically reading from /dev/random produces 100-500 bytes and blocks, waiting for an entropy to be collected. Why doesn't writing information to /dev/random by other processes speed up reading? ...
16
votes
4answers
8k views

Why can't tr read from /dev/urandom on OSX?

A colleague suggested creating a random key via the following command: tr -dc A-Za-z0-9_\!\@\#\$\%\^\&\*\(\)-+= < /dev/urandom | head -c 32 | xargs It gave me the error: tr: Illegal byte ...
16
votes
3answers
11k views

Reading from /dev/random does not produce any data

I often use the command cat /dev/urandom | strings --bytes 1 | tr -d '\n\t ' | head --bytes 32 to generate pseudo-random passwords. This doesn't work with /dev/random. Specifically cat ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

Tool for measuring entropy quality?

Is there a tool available for Linux systems that can measure the "quality" of entropy on the system? I know how to count the entropy: cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail And I know that some ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Create random data with dd and get “partial read warning”. Is the data after the warning now really random?

I create a 1TB file with random data with dd if=/dev/urandom of=file bs=1M count=1000000. Now I check with kill -SIGUSR1 <PID> the progress and get the following: 691581+0 Datensätze ein ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Shuffle file randomly with some additional constraints

I have a huge music playlist and, while some artists have many albums, others have just one song. I wanted to sort the playlist so the same artist won't play twice in a row, or his songs won't end up ...
10
votes
2answers
190 views

What program(s) is(are) lowering my entropy pool level?

I've made a simple bash script that checks the entropy pool level in /dev/random. I realize that the way I do it, I lower it very slightly at each check (cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail) but ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Writing /dev/random to file?

If you ran the following, what would happen? cat /dev/random > ~/randomFile # don't run Would it be written until the drive runs out of space, or would the system see a problem with this and ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Adding “random number entropy” for GPG keys?

In the following video: Linux HOWTO: Secure Your Data with PGP, Part 2, you are shown how to create a key pair with gpg. At about 1:50, the instructor says the following: While the key is being ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

Fast Way to Randomize HD?

I've read about how to make hard drives secure for encryption, and one of the steps is to write random bits to the drive, in order to make the encrypted data indistinguishable from the rest of the ...
8
votes
1answer
249 views

Is it wrong to link /dev/random to /dev/urandom on Linux?

I'm currently testing gpg --genkey on a Linux VM. Unfortunately, this software seems to rely on /dev/random to gather entropy and politely asks the user to manually type screens after screens of ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Is /dev/random data a psuedo-random AES cypher, and where does the entropy come from?

My current understanding of an entropy pool is that it gathers truly random bits of data at a slow rate. I'd like to know how Unix & Linux collect entropy, and how that entropy is used by ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

RSA 2048 keypair generation: via openssl 0.5s via gpg 30s, why the difference?

RSA 2048 keypair generation: via openssl 0.5s via gpg 30s, why the difference There are several programs which can gerate RSA public/private keypairs GnuPG/OpenPGP for instance has a wizzard being ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Lightweight utility/program to run a command after a random delay

I need to randomize the time before a given command starts. I realize it's relatively trivial to do this within a script, or to write a "wrapper" script to do this, but I'm wondering if anyone knows a ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What keeps draining entropy?

If I do watch cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail I see that my systems entropy slowly increases over time, until it reaches the 180-190 range at which point it drops down to around 120-130. The ...
7
votes
1answer
234 views

/usr/bin/random using a lot of CPU

Using QNX 6.4.1, there is a command called pidin times that shows information about processes. I think it means PID INformation. Among other things, you can see how much CPU a process has used since ...
7
votes
1answer
362 views

Can you explain the entropy estimate used in random.c

/dev/random uses the timings of kernel interupts to add to the entropy pool. The amount of entropy in the pool is tracked in a variable named entropy_count. Here is the relevant snippet of code from ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

dd if=/dev/random is 'randomly' bottlenecked with BIG time lags, but I have no idea why

I get wildly different real times when I run the following command. dd if=/dev/random bs=1k count=1 It doesn' happen for if=/dev/null, nor does it happen for if=/dev/urandom I've run it 500 ...
6
votes
3answers
429 views

Print random lines respecting the order of the source file

I have a large text file (~500K lines) with short sentences (couple of words long). Additionally, there is some XML markup in most of the lines. Finally, the text file has been sorted before the ...
6
votes
5answers
883 views

Sources of Entropy for Linux

Let's say I want a gigabyte or so of random data from /dev/random, suitable for a one-time pad (so /dev/urandom is out.) How do I seed my /dev/random with enough entropy to do this? I am looking for ...
5
votes
1answer
478 views

How to copy a file several times into randomly choosen paths within the filesystem?

I have a filesystem and a special file foo. I would like the script to choose several times (5,10 or 100) random paths to folders within this filesystem and to copy the file foo into each of them. ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

What does this command actually cause?

Once while talking with my friend I was trying to joke that we might stand a better chance of completing our project if we just run loads of random programs and expect one of them to solve our ...
5
votes
2answers
825 views

How to determine which processes are using how much entropy from /dev/urandom

Doing fuser -v /dev/urandom tells me which processes currently have /dev/urandom open, but only that. Is there any was to determine anything about how much entropy each one is using up over time? ...
4
votes
2answers
785 views

random permutation of lines of text

If I have a file with following content: 0001 0002 0003 0004 0132 0137 0138 0141 How can I get a random permutation of them in bash?
4
votes
4answers
660 views

How to fill a file with a stream from /dev/urandom with a specified number of lines ?

I am trying to fill a file with a sequence of random 0 and 1s with a user-defined number of lines and number of characters per line. the first step is to get a random stream of 0 and 1s: cat ...
4
votes
2answers
517 views

Generating file with ASCII numbers using /dev/urandom?

How can I generate 10 MB files from /dev/urandom filled with: ASCII 1s and 0s ASCII numbers between 0 and 9
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Decreasing or emptying the entropy pool?

I work with virtual machines a lot, and they seem to generally be low on entropy (no mouse or other entropy-generating inputs). A bug with my software has surfaced, and I think it's due to running out ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

Shuffle two parallel text files

I have two sentence-aligned parallel corpora (text files) with about 50 mil words. (from the Europarl corpus -> parallel translation of legal documents). I'd now like to shuffle the lines of the two ...
4
votes
1answer
278 views

measure amount of data read from /dev/random

background I have written a collection of bash scripts (most of them in German only yet but if you are interested; download the archive not the single scripts) which help users create high-quality ...
3
votes
3answers
115 views

Using /dev/random, /dev/urandom to generate random data

I'm looking for ways to use /dev/random (or /dev/urandom) from the command line. In particular, I'd like to know how to use such a stream as stdin to write streams of random numbers to stdout (one ...
3
votes
2answers
369 views

How to quickly generate (insecure) GPG keys?

I'd like to automate generating at least two GPG keys for testing and demonstration purposes in a virtual machine. Because of this context I want to make sure the key generation is fast, ideally not ...
3
votes
2answers
287 views

Is it bad to have a low entropy in /dev/random?

I wonder whether for the average Linux user it is considered as bad -from a point of view of security or any other relevant viewpoints- to have no or almost no entropy left in /dev/random. Edit: I ...
3
votes
3answers
420 views

How can I shuffle pages from a pdf file in a random order?

I would like to shuffle the pages of a pdf document in a random order. How can this be done?
3
votes
2answers
663 views

Why doesn't `head -c 2 /dev/hwrng` work?

I have an Atmel 97SC3201 in my computer and set the following in the kernel: CONFIG_HW_RANDOM_TPM CONFIG_TCG_TPM CONFIG_TCG_ATMEL /dev has tpm0 and hwrng, but running this command returns the ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

How to check if reading from /dev/random will block

I have found information that /proc/sys/kernel//random/entropy_avail indicates number of bits available in /dev/random. I wanted to check whether the next reading from /dev/random will block and my ...
3
votes
4answers
141 views

How do I create a text file (1 gigabyte) containg random characters with UTF-8 character encoding?

The following command does not use UTF-8: head -c 1M </dev/urandom >myfile.txt
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Debian Jessie - Random freezes

I have a fresh installation of Debian Jessie, with Cinnamon and Gnome. I run it on a decent computer with the following specs: Athlon II x3, 6GB DDR2, 2GB SWAP (swapiness minimum), 600GB SATA HDD ...
3
votes
1answer
240 views

What is the correct available entropy on UNIX systems?

I have three questions related to entropy on UNIX systems: I check entropy on Linux using: cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail. Is this the standard place with information about available ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to debug random reboots, with no kernel panic, of an embedded system?

I have two aValue RPC-10W1 embedded systems that reboots by themselves after 1-2 hours. Facts: The board will reboot within a time span of 1 to 2½ hours. The issue is present on two identical ...
3
votes
5answers
61 views

How do I exchange names for a large amount of files in a folder?

I want to randomize the names for about 350 files in a folder, but I want to have all the names that the files had originally. What I mean is I want All of the names in my folder randomized from the ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

How random is the pseudo random number generators on live boot disks? Is there a way to seed it?

I know that random number generators on computers are only pseudo-random, but are the PRNGs on Live Boot USB or DVDs even less random? Is there a way to seed them after booting? Specifically curious ...
3
votes
1answer
609 views

What entropy sources are used by the Linux kernel?

man 4 random has a very vague description of Linux kernel entropy sources: The random number generator gathers environmental noise from device drivers and other sources into an entropy ...
2
votes
2answers
210 views

How to generate a random string in a profile alias?

I have an alias in my server's /etc/profile which generates a random directory on command, like this: alias rdir="mkdir -p ./`cat /dev/random | tr -cd 'a-z0-9' | head -c 8`/" But it turns out this ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

random number needed

I need a command line script that will generate a random integer between 1 and 6. I'm using Ubuntu with bash. I was working on this a couple of months ago using 'bc', but never got it to work ...
2
votes
3answers
131 views

Random number generation in Solaris?

What is the best way to generate random numbers in Solaris? I can not seem to find a good answer for this. Most results do not work in my environment. There is a variable or command RAND that seems ...