3/27/10 – Cigital, a major consulting firm specialising in software security and quality, has certified the reliability and security of the random number generator (RNG) that PokerStars uses to shuffle cards on its online poker site, confirming the solution meets or exceeds best practices in generating unpredictable and statistically random values for dealing cards.
"Truly random numbers are the heart of fair online gaming," said Paco Hope, manager of Cigital's gaming services this week. "Our assessment looked at the entire solution, including the hardware and the software, and confirmed that the output of the RNG is cryptographically random and truly unpredictable."
Given the results of this examination Cigital believes that online players should have full confidence that each hand is randomly dealt and the cards being dealt cannot be predicted in advance.
Cigital certifies that it analysed the source code, entropy sources and documentation for PokerStars' RNG implementation. In addition, a sample RNG output stream provided by PokerStars passed FIPS 140-2 style testing. Using standard methods for exploiting RNGs and having full access to the source code, Cigital found no weaknesses in the PokerStars RNG, concluding that the implementation adheres to the current state-of-the-practice in generating random seed values.
Lukas Gant, director of online marketing at PokerStars said that Cigital's previous work in the field had prompted the Pokerstars decision to engage with the company. "Their previous discovery of critical RNG implementation weakness at a major online poker site made our decision to work with Cigital an easy one," Gant said. "Their considerable technical expertise and thorough approach to software reliability and security have established them as a trusted third-party evaluator."
"Building software that can properly generate reliable random numbers is non-trivial, but it is an absolute requirement in the gaming industry," said Dr. Gary McGraw, CTO at Cigital and author of the book Exploiting Online Games.
"We are pleased to provide extensive expert analysis of the PokerStars random number generator and act as a trusted advisor. Our analysis shows conclusively that the PokerStars RNG used to generate the poker hands dealt on PokerStars makes proper use of statistically random sequences. A safe and fair gaming environment is an important part of any online gaming experience, and PokerStars meets those criteria."