Random Strings

Posted on 1244786144|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover under science tips-&-tricks

I normally encounter situations when I need quick random string such as creating strong database passwords, password for zipped data archives etc. Humans are given extra ordinary capability of generating random numbers/strings. Ask your friend to pick a number between 1 and 1000. What he replies is a true random number since he himself didn’t know what he would pick before you asked the question. Having said that, it is observed that it is difficult to behave randomly even for humans.

Creating random number using computers or electronic circuit is surprisingly difficult. The moment you start thinking about the ways of generating a random number, you are already loosing the battle because the very fact that you need a random number, you just cant rely on one algorithm. The fact that sometimes human can control the factors you rely on while generating the random number (which necessarily mean it is no longer random) makes in even more difficult.

Nevertheless, there are certain methods which produce random numbers/strings:

  • Generating the random number based on atmospheric effects
  • Generating the random number based on network/Internet traffic

Generating random numbers is a science and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert of that but I do find this article on randomness very interesting. The same site (http://www.random.org/) is an excellent site to generate random numbers and strings of your choice. You can even bookmark a link to create a string as you like. For example, clicking this link will generate a string which is 20 character long and which includes upper and lower case letters and digits.

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