Via puts RNGs on new processors

Perry E. Metzger perry at
Tue Apr 8 12:20:27 EDT 2003

The new Via Technologies x86 clone processors appear to have on-board
cryptography support, including a hardware random number generator.

Quoting from the above:

   PadLock Data Encryption Engine
   The PadLock Data Encryption Engine has been integrated into the new
   generation VIA C3 processor to ensure greater confidentiality,
   integrity, and authenticity of electronic data either stored in the
   computer or transmitted over a network or the Internet, and enables
   a host of powerful new security applications, including heavy-duty
   data encryption and safer online transactions. 

   At its heart is an advanced Random Number Generator (RNG) that uses
   random electrical noise on the chip to securely produce random
   number values, and features a direct application level interface
   through a new x86 instruction. Developers can obtain random numbers
   directly from the hardware without having to use separate software
   drivers, thereby providing an inherently more secure and efficient
   solution than combined hardware/software RNG architectures. The RNG
   includes several operating modes, offering performance from 750K
   bits per second to as high as 6 million bits per second.

   "VIA's incorporation of a hardware random number source on the
   processor die is exciting for developers, since it provides a
   simple and effective way of obtaining high quality randomness. This
   is particularly important for security and cryptography
   applications, since it is notoriously difficult to generate random
   numbers of adequate quality without a hardware random number
   generator," said Paul Kocher, President of Cryptography Research,
   Inc. and co-inventor of SSL 3.0. "I am enthusiastic about the
   benefit to applications such as secure web browsing, cryptographic
   key generation, and protocols where randomness is required."

FYI, it appears that Cryptography Research has done an evaluation on
the RNG. See:

Perry E. Metzger		perry at

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