What were you doing when you were 11? I know for a fact that I wasn’t doing anything of note, save for shooting threes on the bball court. Anyway, an 11-year-old named Mira Modi has taken NYC, and the world, by storm by opening up a business for secure Diceware passwords.
The sixth grade student generates passwords for her website dicewarepasswords.com by hand. Yep, she actually rolls dice, hand writes the password and mails it to you for $2. Not familiar with Diceware? No problem, we’ve got you covered.
Diceware has been around for decades and it’s a system for coming up with passwords that requires rolling an actual six-sided die to generate random numbers matched to a massive list of words. Combine the words with a bit of gibberish (“ample banal bias delta gist latex”) and voilà! you’ve got yourself a truly random password that’s really difficult to crack and surprisingly easy to memorize.
“This whole concept of making your own passwords and being super secure and stuff, I don’t think my friends understand that, but I think it’s cool,” Modi told Ars. Most 11-year-olds won’t understand that for sure, but if you’re interested by it then do it!
Naturally, Mira isn’t exactly your average kid. She’s the daughter of famed journalist Julia Angwin, who knows a thing or two about privacy. So, when you’re a journalist and you’re writing a book about relentless surveillance you might just wind up having your daughter become a secret agent. Julia asked her daughter to generated Diceware passphrases as part of research for the book. Turns out Modi really digs it and then came up with the idea to sell the ones she made. At first Modi would travel with her mother to book-related events and sell the passwords in person, but that wasn’t going all too well.
“I wanted to make it a public thing because I wasn’t getting very much money,” she said. “I thought it would be fun to have my own website.”
Outside of her little business, which would pay her roughly $12 an hour if she took it up full time, she enjoys all the things that other sixth graders do like gymnastics and dancing.
Arnold Reinold, the creator of Diceware, was “tickled” to hear about Modi and her business.
“Obviously from a security perspective it is much better to generate your own Diceware passphrase in private, but it is unlikely she is working for the bad guys, and any effort to publicize the importance of strong passwords is for the good,” he continued. “I just hope she isn’t sending the generated passphrases to her customers by e-mail or storing them on her computer. I wish her well.”
C’mon, mate. You know she’s smarter than that! In fact, she’s said she doesn’t store them anywhere and since she sends them via postal mail they’re pretty darn safe. Why’s that? Well, postal mail can’t be opened by the government without a search warrant.