Google Research

Randen - fast backtracking-resistant random generator with AES+Feistel+Reverie



Algorithms that rely on a pseudorandom number generator often lose their performance guarantees when adversaries can predict the behavior of the generator. To protect non-cryptographic applications against such attacks, we propose 'strong' pseudorandom generators characterized by two properties: computationally indistinguishable from random and backtracking-resistant. Some existing cryptographically secure generators also meet these criteria, but they are too slow to be accepted for general-purpose use. We introduce a new open-sourced generator called 'Randen' and show that it is 'strong' in addition to outperforming Mersenne Twister, PCG, ChaCha8, ISAAC and Philox in real-world benchmarks. This is made possible by hardware acceleration. Randen is an instantiation of Reverie, a recently published robust sponge-like random generator, with a new permutation built from an improved generalized Feistel structure with 16 branches. We provide new bounds on active s-boxes for up to 24 rounds of this construction, made possible by a memory-efficient search algorithm. Replacing existing generators with Randen can protect randomized algorithms such as reservoir sampling from attack. The permutation may also be useful for wide-block ciphers and hashing functions.

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