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How Computers Generate Random Numbers

Do you know why you are able to play online casinos and video games? Well, it is all thanks to random numbers generated by your computer. Do not be surprised if you find that your windows 10 VPN port number is also randomly assigned. In other words, computers use random numbers for everything, including cryptography. It is also worth noting that there are two types of random numbers. One is true random numbers, and the others are pseudorandom.

How true random numbers are generated

To generate a true random number, the computer typically takes into account any physical phenomenon that is outside the machine. For instance, one can never know when an atom will decay. What does this mean? The same way that one may not know the time at which the decay will occur so does an attacker unable to identify a random number. This is because it results from pure randomness.

How does a computer generate such a number? The computer uses different phenomenon like a press on the keyboard or things happening in the atmosphere. From such an unpredictable event, random numbers are created.  To make it easy for developers, there are chips in the market, also known as random number generators that can be used for the job. What happens is that the generators gather entropy from the environment, which they use to generate the numbers.

How pseudorandom numbers are created

Unlike the case of true random numbers, pseudorandom numbers are not generated from an unpredictable event. They are predictable and specific algorithms are used to create them. This is mostly through the observation of patterns. Unlike true random numbers, no data is collected from the environment. Pseudorandom number generators form the numbers from a randomly chosen seed.

It is essential to appreciate the differences in the random numbers. It is what makes them applicable in different areas. The true random numbers, for instance, are used in encryption and gambling since attackers cannot be able to come up with them as a result of their unpredictability. Pseudorandom numbers are on the other hand, applicable in statistics and probability. As a developer, it is essential to be selective when it comes to the selection of a random number generator. Using the wrong random number generators will impact your cryptographic system negatively. It is therefore vital to have an evaluation criterion while choosing a random number generator.

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