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SubjectRe: [PATCH, RFC 10/12] random: cap the rate which the /dev/urandom pool gets reseeded
On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 02:21:48PM -0700, H. Peter Anvin wrote:
> Is this really an improvement on a system with plenty of entropy? Would it not make more sense to modulate this bad on entropy production rates?
> Also, the urandom pool is only reseeded once per read, no matter how large...

I added this after observing using the random driver's tracepoints to
measure how the entropy pool behaves on a desktop system. It turns
outs the Chrome browser requests a truly amazing amount of entropy
using /dev/urandom. Enough so that while you are reading GMail or
using G+, the available entropy in the input pool is always running at
minimum levels. (i.e., it never gets above 192 bits before we do a
catatrophic reseed and it drops down to 128 bits.)

I'm not sure what the heck it is doing --- maybe it is using
/dev/urandom to generate random padding values? I can't believe it is
opening new SSL connetions that quickly. So this might be a Chrome
bug, and I can talk to some Chrome developers when I get into work
tomorrow. But in the case of badly behaved applications, this is

It results in more entropy building up in the input pool before we do
a reseed, so it should result in better "catastrophic reseeding", and
it means that there is more entropy available in the input pool for
use by the /dev/random pool, even if /dev/urandom is being used in
what might be arguably considered an abusive fashion.

You can test this by applying the patch, and observing the value of
/proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail over time while running a Chrome
browser (and there may be other userspace applications which are as
aggressive in the use of /dev/urandom). The compare it after running
the command "echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/random/urandom_min_reseed_secs",
which will restore the original pre-patch behaviour.

- Ted

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