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Security Dictionary
Can't tell 'smtp' from 'snmp'? Find the precise meaning of these and hundreds of other security-related terms in our convenient and up-to-date Security Dictionary.
random
(I) General usage: In mathematics, random means "unpredictable". A sequence of values is called random if each successive value is obtained merely by chance and does not depend on the preceding values of the sequence, and a selected individual value is called random if each of the values in the total population of possibilities has equal probability of being selected. [Knuth] (See: cryptographic key, pseudo-random, random number generator.)

(I) Security usage: In cryptography and other security applications, random means not only unpredictable, but also "unguessable". When selecting data values to use for cryptographic keys, "the requirement is for data that an adversary has a very low probability of guessing or determining." It is not sufficient to use data that "only meets traditional statistical tests for randomness or which is based on limited range sources, such as clocks. Frequently such random quantities are determinable [i.e., guessable] by an adversary searching through an embarrassingly small space of possibilities." [R1750]

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