By - a7kilr
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I’d like a live camera feed of the wall just as a pretty background view, but I guess that would kind of defeat the purpose…
Probably not, you would need a perfect recreation of the point of view from the camera that oversees these lamps. It doesn’t just measure the lamps, If a single pixel in the image the resulting hash is entirely different
And even then, you don't know the generation algorithm for the keys.
they have two other sites as well, i think one is an atomic clock in japan, i forget what/where the other is (paris or london? tom scott made a video about it); aspects of all three sources are used to generate the generation algorithm which then gets applied the rest of the input data
edit: i was close, their london site has a chaotic pendulum, their singapore site has a radioactive source generating more layers of randomness
mfers really out here generating generation 😳
“We looked around and found the randomest random we could measure.”
Ay, I heard you like true random number generation, so I made these random numbers generate your random numbers!
Next time, on Pimp my Prime!
" It was some guy named Jake that pisses behind random dumpsters"
"so we slapped a gps tracker on him and combined his compass orientation, piss stream stability index (derived on page 133) and color of shoes (which is first transformed by the Zolota-Steiner piss magnitude function described on page 761) into a hashing algorithm so you can serve websites more securely."
Wild. I have been in meetings where we dreamed up this stuff but the madmen went and did it
Someone took your idea and ran with it. https://i.imgur.com/rJ2H57m.jpeg
Oh the lava-lamp-as-true-random idea has been out there forever but we did toy with the idea of building it ourselves
I know what you meant, it was just a good opportunity for humor. Any other ideas you haven't acted on that you uhh, feel like sharing? Especially if it has anything to do with free energy, faster than light travel or combatting diarrhea that would be great.
That's just called talking to stoners.
Hell, if you use the raw output from the camera sensor instead of a jpeg, you'd have to not only have the exact same perspective, but also the same sensor, aperture speed, and other settings to get the same output.
Even in those conditions, getting the exact same camera noise would be pretty much impossible. Which is exactly the point, really.
And that's if this isn't just some decoy honeypot.
Didn't cloudflare have a major outage today?
they ran out of lava for their lamps
Overnight lava from Japan
Also known as Java.
I hate you for this joke, good job
Did they pay for it? Oracle lawsuit incoming
That's a whole lotta lava
Whole lot of lava?
You need cooling
Wait a minute.. Fast and Furious OG!?
Yep, so now everybody's password is password.
Yeah I can’t tell if this is a pr post or someone who went down a rabbit hole after looking into the outage
Smells like pr to me the logo is so well placed
Either that or someone got it off their social and posted it. I just know that Zoom was down earlier and it caused headaches for my meeting.
OP is a professional photographer
If you Google Cloudflare, one of the videos that comes up is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cUUfMeOijg and even if you didn't, you probably saw this years ago when Tom Scott was more popular and the video was short/fascinating.
If you Google "Cloudflare lava lamps" then you just get a bunch of random pictures of lava lamps on a wall.
So if you want to convey to people that a company (Cloudflare) has a wall of lava lamps for their security, you're gonna grab the one off of Wikimedia where the logo is visible because, otherwise, it's just a wall of lava lamps... Could be an aisle in Ikea.
Not everything is PR or marketing conspiracy. As the other reply to you said, someone probably just uses one of thousands of sites or services that make use of Cloudflare and went down the rabbit hole. Or they just remembered a video they saw four years ago and since Cloudflare is relevant again, they decided to get free karma.
Don't have to pay a PR team when losers on Reddit will do anything for karma.
> when Tom Scott was more popular
tom scott is no longer as popular?
Did you expected OP to go take a photo himself ?
It happens. They run 10% of all internet traffic through their platform. They also mitigate some of the largest cyberattacks in the world.
Is that what web "hosting" is? I don't understand all of this. Could you ELI5 Cloudflare?
CloudFlare is like the bouncer at a mob boss pit. You talk to the bouncer, they take a message, go to the boss, come back with the response, and give you the response. That way, you can't shoot the mob boss, because you don't know where they are.
The mob boss is the hosting. CloudFlare just hides them.
Ey, Tony, geddaloadadisguy, he knows how's to explains the hosting 🤌🤌
Web hosting is basically where your websites files live. To use cloudflare, you route all traffic going to your website through their systems before your website visitors get to your site. It basically acts as a big filter to make sure there is no funny business going on.
Which is also where all the DNS lookups in my house are going to!
A full *wall* of lava lamps? In *this* economy?
At this time of year.
Contained entirely in YOUR office?
Can I see it?
Seymour! The house is on fire!
No mother, it’s just the lava lamps
Well Seymour, you are an odd fellow but I must say, you lava a good lamp.
I love you all.
I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches,
I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities!
All I wanted was a Pepsi! And she wouldn’t give it to me!!!
It's a weak flex for Instagram. You can do the same thing with far less money, lower running costs and less ecological impact (probably getting better data too) with simple meteorological sensors.
Or just use the random.org API like a normal person.
Funnily enough random.org uses cloudflare
[So where do you get your random numbers from?](https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/spider-man-pointing-at-spider-man)
I came up with that random number myself!
*Beep boop* calculating random number *boop beep*
Thank you for using my random number service, that will be $5
These lamps are mostly just for show. Cloudflare has 3 major offices with unique encryption mechanisms in place. Their London office takes photos of a double-pendulum system - these movements are unpredictable and are used in their encryption just like these lava lamps. Their Singapore office measures the radioactive decay of a pellet of uranium (a small harmless amount) for their encryption purposes. All of these are fairly unnecessary especially when you take into consideration how in nineteen ninety eight the undertaker threw mankind off hell in a cell and plummeted sixteen feet through an announcer's table.
Oh good god fuck you.
As much as I missed you, fuck. you. Is any of that even true???
Its not even fake lol
Wait, so he’s been hiding nuggets of truth in his comments all along?!
Yes actually I believe in one of his comments he said that the majority of what he starts with is true because saying things that are true will draw the reader in more than lying to them I think it really says a lot about humanity when you think about in nineteen ninety eight the undertaker threw mankind off hell in a cell and plummeted sixteen feet through an announcer’s table
Yes, for instance, did you know how in nineteen ninety eight the undertaker threw mankind off hell in a cell and plummeted sixteen feet through an announcer's table?
My god.....that man has family damn it!
Thank you, and i say this with utmost love, but fuck you.
This is how he catches you, tells you just enough truth to suck you in, then BAM!
Sadly the awards set off my something detector...so you first pioneers exploring virgin morphed lands...I envy you.
Holy shit, it really is true https://mobile.twitter.com/dimitri_twt/status/1348857357103751168
It's a trap. No vintage wrestling footage to be found.
Amazing. Love it.
Was halfway through. Saw your comment out of the corner of my eye, like “is this guy famous or something for knowing about encryption?”. Looked at his name. You saved me from the brink of disaster.
it's actually all true tho lol
Hot damn two on as many days
He never left. He just doesn't post as often to keep it special. I reached out a while ago to make sure lol seems to be making a resurgence tho.
I like how people check in on the people that make shitposts when they disappear.
Holy shit it feels like it’s been years since I last found you
And I got it live as well
This is going in my diary
I was like "surely they can predict a double pendulum" and then it hit me like a metal folding chair.
They're somewhat predictable if you know the initial conditions (start, lengths, etc), but they're chaotic and unpredictable for all intents and purposes.
You'd need pretty high precision on those starting values for it to stay predictable for long
Where is the source for that information? I wasn't able to find anything
They don't use it to generate the random numbers, they use it to host/deliver the website. You might see the cloudflare message before the site loads, something like "checking your browser before entering random.org".
How does random.org work? What is their source of randomness?
All the way down
Two walls of lava lamps
Atmospheric radio noise.
It uses radios to detect atmospheric noise
That’s so crazy - we need to tap into the material world in some way to get true randomness. I bet there’s a good book on randomness out there
Edit so much awesome shit to read thanks everyone
It’s being written, but we have to wait a sufficiently long period of time for the typewriter monkeys to finish.
The Penguin of Doom
*Holds up spork*
hi every1 im new!!!!!!!! holds up spork my class in the more random again _^ hehe…toodles!!!!! lol…as u can be anywhere, anytime, anytime, you little shit. If only am contacting my secret network of which has never the pathetic little think you call you in over seven hundred ways, and I’m the Internet? Think you couldn’t, your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the price, you couldn’t, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all me t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m. I am trained in unarmed forces. You’re fucking words. You are nothing you can call me t3h PeNgU1N oF d00mhundred ways i hope 2 make alot of freind (im bi if u dont like 2 watch invader zim w/ my girlfreind (im bi if u dont like it deal w/it) its full extent to wipe your miserable ass in the Navy Seals, and I’m the fuck did you will drown in it. You’re paying the USA and I have and waffles, t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m!!!!!!!!!! that wipes out to bring down upon your life. You the fucking to me bein random!!!! holds up spork my name is katy but u can get away with saying that shit.
ahh, the magic of markov chains
Credit to [u/_potaTARDIS_](https://www.reddit.com/u/_potaTARDIS_)
Come on, don’t be that grumpy. Sure, it has some nice marketing. Cloudfare needs on premise solution and made a cool looking solution. When you say that is for flex or Insta you sound like an old person that hates original ideas. Just because they’re not 100% efficient.
Also, I remember seeing this before insta was a thing for a company to flex upon.
Captcha “click all that are lava lamps”
I literally have no idea what any of this means
Cloudflare needs lots of random numbers, any digital way of getting “random” numbers isn’t actually truly random and can be cracked by hackers, so for this they have cameras pointed at lava lamps to pull data from and get random numbers
sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
“Using the power of the lava within this crystal lamp, we can deduce the key”
I truly believe magnets is the closest to magic we have today.
Some very, very smart scientists keep discovering new things about magnetism which the very, very smart technologists keep putting to use in ways scarcely imagined 100 years ago. They've done phenomenal things with electromagnetism. I can't wait to see what they do with gravity.
For me it’s radio. Like magnets I get cuz the thing is right there, in front of you to touch and feel the force. Radio just shows up literally out of the clear blue sky.
This and this. I’m getting a lava lamp asap.
you lost them at "Cloudflare"
Sad but true for me haha
Well, encryption is just a way to scramble data so it can't be read without a key.
For instance let's take the message "hello".
Let's turn that into numbers so we can use math. We'll use the number of the letter in the alphabet.
hello = 8-5-12-12-15
Now let's be super sneaky and add 1 to everything. So we get:
9-6-13-13-16 = ifmmp
So if we take "ifmmp" with a key of subtracting 1, we get back to "hello".
Obviously this would be very easy to figure out, so we want to use random numbers for our keys. We'll also throw in some extra random data to encrypt so if you try to figure out for yourself you won't easily know what's junk and what's not. We'll *also* use a key that shifts with each number, so maybe on the first letter we add 1, on the second latter we add 9, etc. You can see how you can just keep building on this to make it as complex as you want. So that's three instances where genuine random numbers are important in this simple example alone.
Computers don't know how to generate random numbers. They can choose a number that seems random, like let's take the current temperature in Toronto, add it to the number of milliseconds my computer has been running, divide it by the number of voltage changes the network card detected in the past X seconds, we get what seems like a random number. But all of that data came from somewhere concrete and if someone figures it out your key is broken. Hence the lava lamps.
That's a very basic explanation. It's much more complex in practice, but the need for random numbers is illustrated.
**Edit: if you found my comment helpful and intend to give me any sort of paid award, please consider donating to Ukraine instead.** [Here's a list of trusted charities](https://www.reddit.com/r/ukraine/comments/tgc00n/want_to_support_ukraine_heres_a_list_of_charities/).
That’s actually really well explained nice job.
I agree that computers can't generate random numbers because my stupid Spotify app can't randomize my Playlist from almost 3,000 liked songs. Within an hour I'll get a repeat song. Disappointed in robots until they can truly be random. That's how I'll know when they're truly aware and sentient. Do some random shit you half alive toaster! Just like I don't think before I speak so I can be just as surprised as y'all.
Its funny that you use that as an example, because I've heard that they've had to make playlists specifically LESS random because people complain they aren't random enough because they get repeats or songs by the same artist in order. But those things just randomly happen all the time in true randomness.
I remember that the iTunes app had a slider from true random to "smart shuffle". True random would produce repeats because that's how random works; smart shuffle would look for these repeats and make sure they didn't happen as much. It would also check to make sure two songs from the same album wouldn't play in a row, which would happen more often than people thought it should when it was truly random.
I always found that fascinating. I remember my math teacher doing this exercise in randomness.
He had us write "H" (head) or "T" (tails) in a piece of paper 100 times as "randomly" as we could. Try to make it truly random.
He then had people put up their hands if they had 7 or more heads or tails in a row - iirc only 1 or 2 people did that. He then explained to the rest of us "If you flip a coin 100 times, statistically, either heads or tails will come up 7 times in a row at least once".
What we humans think FEELS random is not the same as true randomness. True randomness has winning and losing streaks.
League of legends does the same thing with crits - they mess with the formula so your crit chance goes up if you don't crit and down if you crit. Because statistically, if you have a 50% crit chance, every 100 auto attacks you SHOULD crit 7 times in a row, and also miss 7 times in a row. But how much would people feel ripped off it that actually happened. They force the algorithm to be what people think FEELS random, not what actually would be random
This whole thread was a fascinating read. Thanks ya'll for sharing these fun facts :D
Games sometimes do this too. Because with true randomness (or at least, as close as cpus get without lava lamps), you will eventually fail the 90%-to-hit shot three times in a row. It's not even that unlikely - 1 time in 1000 - so if your average player is in 100 battles, makes 3 attacks in each one, then 1/10 players will miss all 3 at some point and rage quit and leave a bad review about how your RNG is broken. So some games smooth the randomness a bit, try to avoid streaks.
One pretty simple method is: instead of rolling a fresh d10 every time, you take a list of the possible results (1,2,3..10), scramble the order (3,8,5..), use up all 10 in order, then scramble and start again. So you're guaranteed to get one 10 and one 1 in each set of 10 rolls. The worst streak you can get is a double 1, if you hit the 1 at the end of one set and then again at the beginning of the next set. Triple 1s are impossible.
I know newer Tetris games employ the “bag of tetrominos” piece distribution, where every 7 pieces will be the 7 tetrominos of Tetris, but the order of them is different
However older games don’t have that and pieces falling is pseudo random, hence if u google any classic Tetris game you’ll see the I-piece “drought” counter in the 30s or even higher
Exactly. When most people think "random" they assume that means an absence of sequences or adjacent repetition, when it doesn't mean that at all.
If you don't get any repeat songs it's not truly random.
I’d love to have a random where each song played is removed from the list until they have all been played, then it is reset and etc
They could easily add this, and some apps do it by default I believe. The app would just need to randomly sort the playlist once, store it in memory or a local temp file, then play it in order like a normal playlist. I'd like the option to choose one or the other.
Well technically it's "shuffle" not random. If I shuffle a deck of cards and pull of cards one at a time I expect no repeats.
Years ago, I read about a teacher who told his class he could guess, with high accuracy, a list of numbers created by a computer and one created by people. To prove it, he had a computer spit out a list and then, using the same format, same paper, etc., he asked the students to come up with their own lists. When he was handed the sheets of paper, he correctly identified the computer-produced one from all the rest.
The reason why is because when the vast majority of people think "random" they assume that means an absence of sequences or adjacent repetition. So all the teacher had to do was look for the sheet with several of the same number adjacent to one another, or a string of sequential numbers, and that was the computer-generated list.
cryptographically relevant randomness wouldnt change your perception of your spotify playlist
This is a really great explanation. I get everything until the lamps. Do the lava lamps have numbers associated with them or something?
Let's say they analyze the image at the pixel level, and count the number of red pixels, green pixels, white pixels, etc (obviously a simplification - most systems encode a color using a range of 256 values for red/green/blue and mixing those)
So retrieving the pixel values for the image generates the random number.
Got it! Thanks!!
I think it’s important to mention - they chose lava lamps because the pattern is not predictable. Someone else can take the exact same setup of 10,000 or whatever lamps and realistically never have the same JPG, definitely not at the same time, and they also wouldn’t be able to replay old footage.
the idea of using a lava lamp is that it is ever moving, and the chances of it being 100% to something it had already been is slim - when scaled up to a wall even less so. So they use the image data of that as a hash key
Think of it this way. There are apps you can download, that if you point to a wall, it will tell you the colour in hexcode. #ffffff for white, for example. They could have a system where in a video feed over 5 seconds, they capture all the colors in 1000 designated points, turn the hexcode into base 10 numbers, do regular math on it (eg, sum all numbers, divide by 1000, then divide by 30 frames per second times 5) and you have a key that is very hard to duplicate.
Edit: I would add that often the math isn't even done - these large numbers are used as seeds in random number generators. If you've ever played like... Minecraft, and you put in a world generation seed - that's kind of how it's often used. If you have the seed and the algorithm, you can consistently make the same world, but in this case, the seed is REALLY hard to figure out.
Thank you. This was very well explained.
Thank you good sir/lady for this informative comment. I thought the title was written in French.
Your main point clarified: the values in your examples for generating a number can be reverse-engineered to figure out the number, and most importantly *future* numbers--which breaks the security. Whereas a physical array of lava lamps can not be.
the lava in the lava lamps bounce at random. a camera uses the information to generate a random number.
This method was invented by [engineers at SGI](https://patents.google.com/patent/US5732138).
Seems like Brownian motion sensors and really sensitive microphones would provide true randomness without resorting to something so macro.
They did it for the coolness factor not the practicality. People who need to generate lots of entropy usually use cosmic rays or thermal fluctuations in silicon. All Intel and AMD CPUs have a very slow hardware RNG built-in. They use it to seed a pRNG.
I have a quantum rng at work. I get 1mbit out of it, it uses half silvered glass and a photo detector/emitter. Pretty neat, and semantically secure (so good for things like that).
That really is interesting
It also reminds me that I want to get a Lava lamp for the longest time.
But it's only a low-key "I want that" so I never looked them up, haha
Get one. They’re not particularly expensive. Just make sure you never shake it.
What happens if you shake it
Lava lamps are basically wax (the lava) in oil (the water). If you shake them while they're melted and gooping around the "lava" separates into a bunch of little beads and can take ages to form back together.
If it cools (you unplug it) wouldnt the wax settle on the bottom again?
Yes, but it won't clump together again unless it's warm
Yep, and it cools weird if you unplug it right away.
Next time it heats up it hears weird too. Super fun
What's wrong with its hearing?
It's usually actually wax with an adulterant in distilled water.
[This is a great video by technology connections where he makes his own lava lamp](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16gB2BDXwTo)
Dammit I had shit to do today!
Too bad, it's time to spend hours catching up on technology connections videos.
You'll kick loose all of the gel inside and it becomes a gross snow globe. You want the gel to remain on the bottom so it can bubble up.
they're fairly powerhungry (as they need incandecent bulbs to provide heat) but, eh, they're very neat
I knew some deeper shit was going on when I got high and stared at one of these things but I had no idea I was communing with the internet security gods
Are they the same as the Elders of the Internet?
Stephen Hawking himself demagnetised it.
It’s wireless, Jen!
If anyone wants a video explaining how this works: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cUUfMeOijg](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cUUfMeOijg)
Tom Scott has always provided good information
I live for the information Tom Scott provides us.
I do not
Username checks out.
Not a new name, either. Well played.
Came here to see if anyone else had commented this. Great vid I highly recommend
At some point, relevant tom scott would be more prevalent than relevant xkcd on cs/programming stuff
When paired with the wall of beta fish it becomes a Psychedelic Impenetrable Force. This Crypto key often called a PIF is the key that unlocks second level binary proof of steak which is in an Intercal part of scaling for the third generation adaptation of the Blockchain crypto revolution. You watch and see. I’m currently offering a token pegged to this science. And ontop of that we’re donating 10% to Rescuing cute puppies. We expect cash, checks and credit cards details in PM…/s
This is literally, without a joke, how every single NFT positions itself to sell.
Buzz word, buzz word, buzz word, CHARITY
Y'all don't remember [LavaRnd](https://www.lavarand.org/)?
This isn't truly random. All you need to do is use the quantum wave function of the universe and you can recover their random number generation function. /s
Careful with that wave function son, we don't want it collapsing.
TIL it's easier to hack cloudflare in the morning before they start wobbling
That was in a movie or tv show I think.
I was thinking the same thing! Can't remember what it was though.
Edit: [It was NCIS](https://m.imdb.com/title/tt8290228/?ref_=m_tt_urv)
It was NCIS start of season 16 I think
Thank you. Was scrolling for this.
Yes thank you!
I was racking my brain trying to recall the cool movie with the lamp encryption but it was the crack team at NCIS all along!
I literally scrolled by this post and thought it was from r/NCIS 😂😂
IIRC, they use lava lamps to generate random numbers for encryption. Any computer generated random number isn’t truly “random” and can be recreated so it’s less secure. They ~~use computer vision to measure some metric (bubble size, distance between bubbles, ascent/descent speed)~~ get a color value from each pixel (which changes as the bubbles move) which is then fed into an algorithm to create random numbers.
Edit: lots of comments below by people much more knowledgeable in encryption/comp sci/random number generating than I
Edit 2: fixed how they get inputs (rgb, not computer vision). u/murfburffle has [an awesome comment explaining how this works](https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/vhknj8/cloudflare_has_a_wall_full_of_lava_lamps_they/id8bg2p/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf&context=3)
Cosmic background radiation is useful, too:
[The cosmic microwave background radiation power spectrum as a random bit generator for symmetric- and asymmetric-key cryptography](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29057337/)
I guess I'm stuck in the universe where I don't pay $1.99 for that app.
This is literally that Ted Chiang short story about the laptop prisms that could let you talk to yourself from those different universes based on the choice you made. It was like black mirror and very depressing haha.
Poker Stars uses (or at least used to) this to create random shuffles of decks.
the stars aligned to give me a shit hand
Many systems use the current epoch time as the seed for a random number to be generated. This could be deciphered then, because the seed could be known. The lava lamps provide the start for that seed and such can never be reproduced again.
The metric they track is really simple. From their page:
> To collect this data, Cloudflare has arranged about 100 lava lamps on one of the walls in the lobby of the Cloudflare headquarters and mounted a camera pointing at the lamps. The camera takes photos of the lamps at regular intervals and sends the images to Cloudflare servers. All digital images are really stored by computers as a series of numbers, with each pixel having its own numerical value, and so each image becomes a string of totally random numbers that the Cloudflare servers can then use as a starting point for creating secure encryption keys.
Would be funny if they stored the images they analyze in a persistent way, then the seed could theoretically get reproduced right?
> each pixel having its own numerical value
Exactly. Not sure where /u/crazydr13 got "computer vision, bubble, velocity, etc" bullshit from when a simple raw RGB value is sufficient.
He’s making shit up
Welcome to reddit.
Anyone who is confident in their claim will get thousands of upvotes
I think they're just hashing the images and letting the lava lamps move around to create randomness in those hashes to be used as a seed for number generation.
So does that mean when Cloudflare goes down it’s because they need to replace a lava lamp?
Tom Cruise drops from the ceiling and turns off the lamps, 3 hours later Boom! Encryption broken!
*tapes white circle to camera lens*
This is hilarious because I work in Cybersecurity and presented this exact fact to our interns today in a presentation. I would like to imagine OP is one of those interns haha (fun bonus, the cryptographic functions generated from these lava lamps actually help to protect about 20% of websites on common domains!)