How these lava lamps are securing the internet

"Something like ten percent of the web flows through Cloudflare's network," states Nick Sullivan, Head of Cryptography for internet "gatekeeping" service Cloudflare.

So, in order to keep their client's protected, they need to generate a lot of unpredictable, completely random numbers. That's where this wall of lava lamps comes in.

Cloudflare's "Wall of Entropy" sits in the lobby of their headquarters in San Francisco. It uses the unpredictability of its flowing "lava" to assist in randomly generating numbers.

On their blog, they explain how it works, for people both with technical and non-technical backgrounds. This is an excerpt from their non-technical explanation:

At Cloudflare, we have thousands of computers in data centers all around the world, and each one of these computers needs cryptographic randomness. Historically, they got that randomness using the default mechanism made available by the operating system that we run on them, Linux.

But being good cryptographers, we’re always trying to hedge our bets. We wanted a system to ensure that even if the default mechanism for acquiring randomness was flawed, we’d still be secure. That’s how we came up with LavaRand.

LavaRand is a system that uses lava lamps as a secondary source of randomness for our production servers. A wall of lava lamps in the lobby of our San Francisco office provides an unpredictable input to a camera aimed at the wall. A video feed from the camera is fed into a CSPRNG, and that CSPRNG provides a stream of random values that can be used as an extra source of randomness by our production servers.

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When online security is literally a roll of the dice, which dice do you use?

My search for an easy way to generate strong passwords and passphrases led me to the "Diceware" method Cory wrote about on Boing Boing. This was no game. I needed serious dice.

Onion Pi - Convert a Raspberry Pi into a Anonymizing Tor Proxy, for easy anonymous internet browsing

About this nifty "Onion Pi" HOWTO just published at Adafruit, Phil Torrone says, "Limor and I cooked up this project for folks. We are donating a portion of any sales for the pack we sell that helps do this to the EFF and Tor."

Browse anonymously anywhere you go with the Onion Pi Tor proxy. This is fun weekend project that uses a Raspberry Pi, a USB WiFi adapter and Ethernet cable to create a small, low-power and portable privacy Pi. Using it is easy-as-pie. First, plug the Ethernet cable into any Internet provider in your home, work, hotel or conference/event. Next, power up the Pi with the micro USB cable to your laptop or to the wall adapter. The Pi will boot up and create a new secure wireless access point called Onion Pi. Connecting to that access point will automatically route any web browsing from your computer through the anonymizing Tor network.
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FBI warns travelers of malware via pop-up browser windows on hotel internet connections

An "Intelligence Note" from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) today warns that "malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms." This vulnerability isn't really new, but a recent string of reports follow a common pattern. Details here. (via @producermatthew) Read the rest