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October 16, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Netscape Communications Corp, Mountain View released updated versions of its software, 10 days after two students at the University of California at Berkeley discovered serious security problems with its products. David Wagner and Ian Goldberg discovered that the random numbers that Netscape use to seed its encryption process are not actually very random at all. Instead they are constructed from a combination of time in seconds and milliseconds and the program’s process ID running on the machine. This knowledge substantially eases the search for encryption keys. The pair was able to show that it is possible to find the encryption keys in less than a minute using a moderately powerful workstation. Netscape then released new beta versions of its Navigator software for Mac OS, Unix, Windows 3.1 and Windows95. It also issued a Patch to its Commerce Server.

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