Pseudo Random Number (PRN) Calculator

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Pseudo Random Number (PRN) Definition - A number which appears to be truly random but is not due to the means used to generate the number. Random numbers are widely used within cryptographic applications to generate keys which cannot be guessed by an attacker. A cryptographic algorithm is said to be 'perfect' if the only way to reveal the encrypted message is to try every possible key in turn (brute force) until the correct result is discovered. Even a perfect algorithm can be broken if the key or keys used can be guessed or calculated by an attacker. It has been found by cryptanalysts that many cryptographic applications use a PRN generated by a computer as their key and that, by knowing facts about the way these numbers are generated, they can predict or significantly narrow the number of possible keys.

It is widely believed that the only way to generate a truly random number is to sample some natural phenomena. This has lead to the widespread practice of gathering data from the users movement of the computer mouse to generate a true random number.

In some high security application truly random sources such as 'white noise' or the rate of decay of a nuclear source are used to generate secure keys. Ironically such systems will typically test their own output for randomness and will reject obvious sequences such as all one's or all zero's (in binary). The act of rejecting these truly random strings does, of course, mean that the output is no longer truly random.