Generating Secure Random Numbers in R

knitr::opts_chunk$set(comment = "") library(openssl)

The rand_bytes function binds to RAND_bytes in OpenSSL to generate cryptographically strong pseudo-random bytes. See the OpenSSL documentation for what this means.

rnd <- rand_bytes(10) print(rnd)

Bytes are 8 bit and hence can have 2^8 = 256 possible values.


Each random byte can be decomposed into 8 random bits (booleans)

x <- rand_bytes(1) as.logical(rawToBits(x))

Secure Random Numbers

rand_num is a simple (2 lines) wrapper to rand_bytes to generate random numbers (doubles) between 0 and 1.


To map random draws from [0,1] into a probability density, we can use a Cumulative Distribution Function. For example we can combine qnorm and rand_num to simulate rnorm:

# Secure rnorm x <- qnorm(rand_num(1000), mean = 100, sd = 15) hist(x)

Same for discrete distributions:

# Secure rbinom y <- qbinom(rand_num(1000), size = 20, prob = 0.1) hist(y, breaks = -.5:(max(y)+1))