Re: [dsfjdssdfsd] what not to do...

Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org> Wed, 02 April 2014 17:02 UTC

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From: Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org>
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Subject: Re: [dsfjdssdfsd] what not to do...
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On Apr 2, 2014, at 9:33 AM, Theodore Ts'o <tytso@mit.edu>; wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 02, 2014 at 10:57:34AM -0400, Donald Eastlake wrote:
>> Hi,
>> 
>> Yes, the "bad ideas" section of RFC 4086bis
>> (draft-eastlake-randomness3-00) seems like a good place to collect
>> additional things not to do.
>> 
>> I am planning to update that draft soon...
> 
> Is this list the best list of have discussions about that draft?

This list was created partially for the discussion of the draft.

>  Or
> are you planning on using some other wg list?

Let's hope not.

> Some things that I might add as caveats is that the recommendations
> about using disk timing is based on research done decades ago, and
> disk drives have changed quite a bit since then.  I believe there
> probably is *some* entropy in spinning disks, but it may not be as
> much as possible.

There are many places in the draft where it uses antiquated ideas of where to get randomness, and does not quantify them. That's why I'm generally against updating the old RFCs at all; instead, we should start fresh with just what are really the Best Current Practices.

> In the section about clocks, it might be worthy to note that on modern
> CPU's, very often many clocks are derived from a single master
> oscillator.  If there are subsystems where you have two clocks that
> are _not_ derived from the same oscillator, there may be an
> opportunity to pick up a few bits of entropy.  (And I suspect that's
> probably one of the remaining sources of entropy from disk drives
> these days.)

Personally, I have a strong hesitation of a BCP using phrases like "a few bits of entropy" if we can't measure them and if we don't even know if they exist.

--Paul Hoffman