JEP 273: DRBG-Based SecureRandom Implementations

OwnerWeijun Wang
StatusClosed / Delivered
Componentsecurity-libs /
Discussionsecurity dash dev at openjdk dot java dot net
Reviewed byBrian Goetz, Sean Mullan
Endorsed byBrian Goetz
Created2013/05/28 19:56
Updated2017/09/23 19:26


Implement the three Deterministic Random Bit Generator (DRBG) mechanisms described in NIST 800-90Ar1.


Provide API for Source of Entropy Input (SEI), or implement approved SEI on all platforms, where "approved" means approved by NIST or FIPS.


The JDK has two kinds of SecureRandom implementations. One is platform-dependent and based on native calls or OS devices such as reading /dev/{u}random on Unix, using the CryptoAPI on Windows, and using various preconfigured PKCS11 libraries. The latest releases of Solaris, Linux and Windows already support DRBG, but older releases and embedded systems might not. The other kind is a pure Java implementation that uses an older SHA1-based RNG implementation, which is not as strong as the algorithms used by approved DRBG mechanisms.

The DRBG mechanisms developed and approved by NIST (as in SP 800-90Ar1) use modern algorithms as strong as SHA-512 and AES-256. Each of these mechanisms can be configured with different security strengths and features to match user requirements. Support for these mechanisms is becoming very important in some environments, especially for the U.S. Government.


According to NIST SP 800-90, a random bit generator (RBG, 800-90C) is constructed with a source of entropy input (800-90B and 800-90C) and a DRBG mechanism (800-90Ar1). The source of entropy input provides fresh randomness (entropy) as a seed to the DRBG mechanism, which is then able to continuously generate "random" bit sequences.


These new APIs should be generalized enough for any SecureRandom flavors (not just DRBG) and can be added to SecureRandom and SecureRandomSpi.