Cloudflare named the lava lamp system the “Wall of Entropy” because it relies on chaos and disorder to create truly random data for secure encryptions. (Credit: paketesama/Adobe Stock) Cloudflare named its lava lamp system the “Wall of Entropy” because it relies on chaos and disorder to create truly random data for secure encryptions. (Credit: paketesama/Adobe Stock)

Secure encryptions require truly unpredictable numbers to prevent cybercriminals from figuring out the code and decrypting data. Even the most advanced computer system will still produce predictable, logical outputs because computers are designed to do so, but predictability equals liability in cybersecurity. Some companies are turning to the physical world to find chaotic data. Among them is Cloudflare, Inc., a global company providing internet hyperconnectivity for millions, which uses a wall of 100 lava lamps to produce stronger encryption keys.

“Computers are bad at being random,” said John Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer at Cloudflare. “To make the encryption we rely on to use the internet, we need random numbers. One way to get random numbers is to look at randomness in nature. One of the ways we do that is by taking pictures of the motion of the colored blobs in a wall of lava lamps. Their motion is not predictable. The pictures are then ‘hashed’ to produce a number that can be fed into our random number generators to give them a truly random starting point, called the ‘seed.’”

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Ashley Hattle-Cleminshaw

Ashley Hattle-Cleminshaw serves as ALM's PropertyCasualty360 Senior Editor. She brings 10 years of experience in journalism and communications to the editorial team. Reach her by sending an e-mail to [email protected].

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