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Subject[PATCH v36 00/13] /dev/random - a new approach

The following patch set provides a different approach to /dev/random which
is called Linux Random Number Generator (LRNG) to collect entropy within
the Linux kernel. It provides the same API and ABI and can be used as a
drop-in replacement.

The LRNG implements at least all features of the existing /dev/random such as
NUMA-node-local DRNGs. Patches 1 through 3 provide the code that is feature-
identical. The following advantages compared to the existing /dev/random
implementation are present:

* Sole use of crypto for data processing:

- Exclusive use of a hash operation for conditioning entropy data with
a clear mathematical description as given in [2] section 2.2 -
non-cryptographic operations like LFSR are not used.

- The LRNG uses only properly defined and implemented cryptographic
algorithms unlike the use of the SHA-1 transformation in the existing
/dev/random implementation.

- Hash operations use NUMA-node-local hash instances to benefit large
parallel systems.

- LRNG uses limited number of data post-processing steps as documented in
[2] section 2.2 compared to the large variation of different
post-processing steps in the existing /dev/random implementation that
have no apparent mathematical description (see [2] section 4.5).

* Performance

- Faster by up to 75% in the critical code path of the interrupt handler
depending on data collection size configurable at kernel compile time -
the default is about equal in performance with existing /dev/random as
outlined in [2] section 4.2.

- Configurable data collection sizes to accommodate small environments
and big environments via CONFIG_LRNG_COLLECTION_SIZE.

- Entropy collection using an almost never contended lock to benefit
large parallel systems – worst case rate of contention is the number
of DRNG reseeds, usually the number of potential contentions per 10
minutes is equal to number of NUMA nodes.

- ChaCha20 DRNG is significantly faster as implemented in the existing
/dev/random as demonstrated with [2] table 2.

- Faster entropy collection during boot time to reach fully seeded
level, including on virtual systems or systems with SSDs as outlined
in [2] section 4.1.

* Testing

- Availablility of run-time health tests of the raw unconditioned
noise source to identify degradation of the available entropy as
documented in [2] section 2.5.4. Such health tests are important
today due to virtual machine monitors reducing the resolution of
or disabling the high-resolution timer.

- Heuristic entropy estimation is based on quantitative measurements
and analysis following SP800-90B and not on coincidental
underestimation of entropy applied by the existing /dev/random as
outlined in [4] section 4.4.

- Power-on self tests for critical deterministic components (ChaCha20
DRNG, software hash implementation, and entropy collection logic)
not already covered by power-up tests of the kernel crypto API as
documented in [2] section 2.14.

- Availability of test interfaces for all operational stages of the
LRNG including boot-time raw entropy event data sampling as outlined
in [2] section 2.15.

- Fully testable ChaCha20 DRNG via a userspace ChaCha20 DRNG
implementation [3].

- In case of using the kernel crypto API SHASH hash implementation, it
is fully testable and tested via the NIST ACVP test framework, for
example certificates A734, A737, and A738.

- The LRNG offers a test interface to validate the used software hash
implementation and in particular that the LRNG invokes the hash
correctly, allowing a NIST ACVP-compliant test cycle - see [2]
section 2.15.

- Availability of stress testing covering the different code paths for
data and mechanism (de)allocations and code paths covered with locks.

* Entropy collection

- The LRNG is shipped with test tools allowing the collection of
raw unconditioned entropy during runtime and boot time available at

- Full entropy assessment and description is provided with [2] chapter 3,
specifically section 3.2.6.

- Guarantee that entropy events are not credited with entropy twice
(the existing /dev/random implementation credits HID/disk and
interrupt events with entropy which are a derivative of each other)
and guarantee that entropy data is not reused for two different use
cases (as done in the existing /dev/random implementation when
injecting a part of fast_pool into the net_rand_state).

* Configurable

- LRNG kernel configuration allows configuration that is functionally
equivalent to the existing /dev/random. Non-compiled additional code
is folded into no-ops.

- The following additional functions are compile-time selectable
independent of each other:

+ Enabling of switchable cryptographic implementation support. This
allows enabling an SP800-90A DRBG.

+ Enabling of using Jitter RNG noise source.

+ Enabling of noise source health tests.

+ Enabling of test interface allowing to enable each test interface

+ Enabling of the power-up self test.

- At boot-time, the SP800-90B health tests can be enabled as outlined
in [2] section 2.5.4.

- At boot-time, the entropy rate used to credit the external CPU-based
noise source and Jitter RNG noise source can be configured including
setting an entropy rate of zero or full entropy - see [2] sections
2.5.2 and 2.5.3.

* Run-time pluggable cryptographic implementations used for all data
processing steps specified in [2] section 2.2

- The DRNG can be replaced with a different implementation allowing
any type of DRNG to provide data via the output interfaces. The LRNG
provides the following types of DRNG implementations:

+ ChaCha20-based software implementation that is used per default.

+ SP800-90A DRBG using accelerated cryptographic implementations that
may sleep.

+ Any DRNG that is accessible via the kernel crypto API RNG subsystem.

- The hash component can be replaced with any other hash implementation
provided the implementation does not sleep. The LRNG provides the
access to the following types of non-sleeping hash implementations:

+ SHA-256 software implementation that is used per default. Due to
kernel build system inconsistencies, the software SHA-1 implementation
is used if the kernel crypto API is not compiled.

+ SHA-512 hash using the fastest hash implementation available via the
kernel crypto API SHASH subsystem.

* Code structure

- The LRNG source code is available for current upstream Linux kernel
separate to the existing /dev/random which means that users who are
conservative can use the unchanged existing /dev/random implementation.

- Back-port patches are available at [5] to apply the LRNG to Linux
kernel versions of 5.8, 5.4, 4.19, 4.14, 4.12, and 4.10. Patches for
other kernel versions are easily derived from the existing ones.

Booting the patch with the kernel command line option
"dyndbg=file drivers/char/lrng/* +p" generates logs indicating the
operation of the LRNG. Each log is pre-pended with "lrng".

An entropy analysis is performed on the following systems - details
are given in [2] appendix C:

* x86 KVM virtualized guest 32 and 64 bit systems

* x86 bare metal

* older and newer ARMv7 system

* ARM64


* IBM Z System mainframe

* old MIPS embedded device

* testing with GCC and Clang

[1] - If the patch is accepted, I would
be volunteering to convert the documentation into RST format and
contribute it to the Linux kernel documentation directory.





Changes (compared to the previous patch set) - individual patches
are visible at

* fix display of available entropy - the fix only affects the display of
available entropy at /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail

* simplify code to obtain available and max entropy

* always reset entropy gathering interface when listener detaches

CC: Torsten Duwe <>
CC: "Eric W. Biederman" <>
CC: "Alexander E. Patrakov" <>
CC: "Ahmed S. Darwish" <>
CC: "Theodore Y. Ts'o" <>
CC: Willy Tarreau <>
CC: Matthew Garrett <>
CC: Vito Caputo <>
CC: Andreas Dilger <>
CC: Jan Kara <>
CC: Ray Strode <>
CC: William Jon McCann <>
CC: zhangjs <>
CC: Andy Lutomirski <>
CC: Florian Weimer <>
CC: Lennart Poettering <>
CC: Nicolai Stange <>
CC: Eric Biggers <>
Tested-by: Roman Drahtmüller <>
Tested-by: Marcelo Henrique Cerri <>

Stephan Mueller (13):
Linux Random Number Generator
LRNG - allocate one DRNG instance per NUMA node
LRNG - sysctls and /proc interface
LRNG - add switchable DRNG support
LRNG - add common generic hash support
crypto: DRBG - externalize DRBG functions for LRNG
LRNG - add SP800-90A DRBG extension
LRNG - add kernel crypto API PRNG extension
crypto: provide access to a static Jitter RNG state
LRNG - add Jitter RNG fast noise source
LRNG - add SP800-90B compliant health tests
LRNG - add interface for gathering of raw entropy
LRNG - add power-on and runtime self-tests

crypto/drbg.c | 16 +-
crypto/jitterentropy-kcapi.c | 3 +-
crypto/jitterentropy.c | 31 +-
drivers/char/Kconfig | 2 +
drivers/char/Makefile | 9 +-
drivers/char/lrng/Kconfig | 353 +++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/Makefile | 20 +
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_archrandom.c | 93 +++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_aux.c | 136 ++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_chacha20.c | 352 +++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_chacha20.h | 29 +
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_drbg.c | 197 +++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_drng.c | 406 +++++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_health.c | 407 +++++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_interfaces.c | 649 +++++++++++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_internal.h | 429 +++++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_jent.c | 88 +++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_kcapi.c | 228 ++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_kcapi_hash.c | 97 +++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_kcapi_hash.h | 19 +
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_numa.c | 108 +++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_pool.c | 457 ++++++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_proc.c | 182 +++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_selftest.c | 344 +++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_sw_noise.c | 466 ++++++++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_sw_noise.h | 56 ++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_switch.c | 203 ++++++
drivers/char/lrng/lrng_testing.c | 689 ++++++++++++++++++
include/crypto/drbg.h | 7 +
.../crypto/internal}/jitterentropy.h | 3 +
include/linux/lrng.h | 79 ++
32 files changed, 6155 insertions(+), 10 deletions(-)
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/Kconfig
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/Makefile
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_archrandom.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_aux.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_chacha20.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_chacha20.h
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_drbg.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_drng.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_health.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_interfaces.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_internal.h
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_jent.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_kcapi.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_kcapi_hash.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_kcapi_hash.h
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_numa.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_pool.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_proc.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_selftest.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_sw_noise.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_sw_noise.h
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_switch.c
create mode 100644 drivers/char/lrng/lrng_testing.c
rename {crypto => include/crypto/internal}/jitterentropy.h (84%)
create mode 100644 include/linux/lrng.h


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