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Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2014 08:32:07 +0000
From: "Poul-Henning Kamp" <>
To:, Bill Cox <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] A final cheat killer pass with smoke

In message <>
, Bill Cox writes:
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>That's what the "smoke" is for.  If all an attacker has access to is cache
>miss timing, then simply randomizing the order of of memory access would
>make it virtually impossible to gain information from the timing.

Can I mention another thing which bugs me, now that I've got started ?

The word "random" is not in our dictionary.

We have three parts to work with:

The password, which contains entropy, but which is not random, certainly
not from invocation to invocation.

Salt(s), that can be random, or more likely least pseudo-random,
but we should assume that the attacker knows it.

The algorithm, which is deterministic[1], and which the attacker also
know -- and can optimize.

Please use the word "random" sparesly, most of the time it is unwarranted.


[1] I'm personally willing to entertain probablistic algorithms,
    but I can't speak for everybody else.

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk@...eBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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