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Random password generation

Posted on 1998-12-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-25
How do I generate a random password with 6 letters that vary in upper and lower case? I tried this code:

for ($numdigits = 1; $numdigits <= 6; $numdigits++) {
  srand(time ^ $$);
  @letters = ("a","b","c","d","e","f","g","h","i","j","k","l","m","n","o","p","q","r","s","t","u","v","w","x","y","z","A","B","C","D","E","F","G","H","I","J","K","L","M","N","O","P","Q","R","S","T","U","V","W","X","Y","Z");
  $randnumber = rand(@letters);
  $randpassword .= $letters[$randnumber]
}

Since the seed is the time, it just generates the same random letter six times. Also, there must be a better way to do it than having an array with all of the letters...
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Question by:chrisbolt
3 Comments
 

Accepted Solution

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Gunnar earned 200 total points
ID: 1830102
You should not call srand for each iteration. Call it only once, when your program starts. If you use Perl 5.004 or later, it is not necessary to call srand() at all, as it is done automatically. (Actually, it was done automatically in older versions too, but with a bad seed.)

To avoid the letter array, generate an ASCII code between 65 and 80 (A..Z). Then, flip a coin (that is, check if rand() > 0.5); if so, add 32 (which transfers the code to the range 97..112, a..z). Example:

srand(time ^ $$);

for ($n = 1; $n <= 6; $n++) {
  $ch = 65+rand(26);
  if (rand() > 0.5) {
    $ch += 32;
  }
  $pw .= chr($ch);
}

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Author Comment

by:chrisbolt
ID: 1830103
Thank you, worked like a charm!
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Expert Comment

by:ozo
ID: 1830104
srand(time + $$) may be less likely to repeat when both time and $$ increase by one.
(or in 5.004 or later, just omit the srand, as Gunnar sugests)
seeding srand this way may also make it too easy for someone to guess what password was generated. especially if they can get a general idea of when it was generated.
And if you generate a password for one person, they may be able to figure out your clock setting by trying various seeds until they generate the same passord,
and then have a good guess about what passwords you may be generating for others.

you can also say
@letters = ('a'..'z','A'..'Z');
to initialize the array (just once, not for each itteration)
or
 $randpassword = join'',@letters[map{rand @letters}(1)x6];
to generate 6 random letters
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