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Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 09:28:41 -0700
From: Dwayne Litzenberger <>
Subject: CVE-2013-1445 python-crypto: PRNG not correctly reseeded in some

In PyCrypto before v2.6.1, the Crypto.Random pseudo-random number
generator (PRNG) exhibits a race condition that may cause it to generate
the same 'random' output in multiple processes that are forked from each
other.  Depending on the application, this could reveal sensitive
information or cryptographic keys to remote attackers.

An application may be affected if, within 100 milliseconds, it performs
the following steps (which may be summarized as "read-fork-read-read"):

1. Read from the Crypto.Random PRNG, causing an internal reseed;
2. Fork the process and invoke Crypto.Random.atfork() in the child;
3. Read from the Crypto.Random PRNG again, in at least two different
     processes (parent and child, or multiple children).

Only applications that invoke Crypto.Random.atfork() and perform the
above steps are affected by this issue.  Other applications are

Note: Some PyCrypto functions, such as key generation and PKCS#1-related
functions, implicitly read from the Crypto.Random PRNG.

== Technical details ==

Crypto.Random uses Fortuna[1] to generate random numbers.  The flow of
entropy looks something like this:

      /dev/urandom  -\
                      +-> "accumulator" --> "generator" --> output
      other sources -/   (entropy pools)     (AES-CTR)

- The "accumulator" maintains several pools that collect entropy from
    the environment.

- The "generator" is a deterministic PRNG that is reseeded by the
    accumulator.  Reseeding normally occurs during each request for random
    numbers, but never more than once every 100 ms (the "minimum reseed

When a process is forked, the parent's state is duplicated in the child.
In order to continue using the PRNG, the child process must invoke
Crypto.Random.atfork(), which collects new entropy from /dev/urandom and
adds it to the accumulator.  When new PRNG output is subsequently
requested, some of the new entropy in the accumulator is used to reseed
the generator, causing the output of the child to diverge from its

However, in previous versions of PyCrypto, Crypto.Random.atfork() did
not explicitly reset the child's rate-limiter, so if the child requested
PRNG output before the minimum reseed interval of 100 ms had elapsed, it
would generate its output using state inherited from its parent.

This created a race condition between the parent process and its forked
children that could cause them to produce identical PRNG output for the
duration of the 100 ms minimum reseed interval.

== Demonstration ==

Here is some sample code that illustrates the problem:

      from binascii import hexlify
      import multiprocessing, pprint, time
      import Crypto.Random

      def task_main(arg):
          a = Crypto.Random.get_random_bytes(8)
          b = Crypto.Random.get_random_bytes(8)
          rdy, ack = arg
          return "%s,%s" % (hexlify(a).decode(),

      n_procs = 4
      manager = multiprocessing.Manager()
      rdys = [manager.Event() for i in range(n_procs)]
      acks = [manager.Event() for i in range(n_procs)]
      pool = multiprocessing.Pool(processes=n_procs,
      res_async = pool.map_async(task_main, zip(rdys, acks))
      [rdy.wait() for rdy in rdys]
      [ack.set() for ack in acks]
      res = res_async.get()

The output should be random, but it looked like this:


== Solution ==

The solution is to upgrade to PyCrypto v2.6.1 or later, which properly
resets the rate-limiter when Crypto.Random.atfork() is invoked in the

== Files ==

PyCrypto v2.6.1 may be downloaded from the PyCrypto website[2], from 
PyPI, or using your operating system's package manager or ports tree.  

The official tarball has the following SHA256 sums:

f2ce1e989b272cfcb677616763e0a2e7ec659effa67a88aa92b3a65528f60a3c *pycrypto-2.6.1.tar.gz
c2ab0516cc55321e6543ae75e2aa6f6e56e97432870f32a7799f3b89f467dc1b *pycrypto-2.6.1.tar.gz.asc

The git repository is here:
The v2.6.1 tag id is: ebb470d3f0982702e3e9b7fb9ebdaeed95903aaf
The v2.6.1 commit id is: 7fd528d03b5eae58eef6fd219af5d9ac9c83fa50

For informational purposes, patches against pycrypto v2.6 and v2.1.0 are 
attached.  Distributors patching older versions of the library, please 
remember to run the test suite before releasing a modified package:

    # From the source tree
    python build test

    # After installation
    python -m Crypto.SelfTest.__init__

== Thanks ==

Thanks to Yves-Alexis Perez and Sebastian Ramacher for helping to 
coordinate the release of this fix.

== References ==

[1] N. Ferguson and B. Schneier, _Practical Cryptography_,
      Indianapolis: Wiley, 2003, pp. 155-184.

[2] or

Dwayne C. Litzenberger <>
    OpenPGP: 19E1 1FE8 B3CF F273 ED17  4A24 928C EC13 39C2 5CF7

View attachment "CVE-2013-1445-pycrypto2.6.patch" of type "text/x-diff" (13972 bytes)

View attachment "CVE-2013-1445-pycrypto2.1.0.patch" of type "text/x-diff" (10454 bytes)

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