Sixth Grader Indian American Sells cryptographically Secure Passwords

NEW YORK:  An enterprising 11-year-old Indian-origin girl in the US has started her own business selling cryptographically secure passwords generated by dice rolls at USD 2 each.

Mira Modi, a sixth grader in New York City, runs a small business at where she helps customers to have stronger and more secure passwords by generating passphrases by hand. As the name implies, she uses the system known as “diceware” which involves rolling “real” six-sided dice in order to generate random numbers which she then matches to an English word from a list that she keeps in a binder.

Diceware is a well-known decades-old system for coming up with passwords. It involves rolling a dice as a way to generate random numbers that are matched to a long list of English words.

“You roll a die 5 times and write down each number. Then you look up the resulting five-digit number in the Diceware dictionary, which contains a numbered list of short words,” as explained on her official site.

When an order comes in, Modi would roll the physical dice and then look up for the words in her Diceware list, which she even labeled with the words “top secret” on the front page. After finding the word, she writes it down by hand. Once she has completed the string of words (6 words to be exact), she sends the copy to the customer by postal mail. She assures the safety of sending the copy through mail by stating that it cannot be searched without a warrant.

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Those words are then combined into a non-sensical string that exhibits true randomness and is therefore difficult to crack. These passphrases have proven relatively easy for humans to memorise.

“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,” Mira told ‘Ars Technica’.

“I think [good passwords are] important,” said Modi. “Now we have such good computers, people can hack into anything so much more quickly. We have so much more on our social media. We post a lot more social media – when people hack into that it’s not really sad, but when people [try to] hack into your bank account or your e-mail, it’s really important to have a strong password. We’re all on the Internet now.”

Mira’s mother, Julia Angwin, a veteran journalist and author of Dragnet Nation, employed her daughter to generate Diceware passphrases as a part of research for her book.

That is when Mira had the idea to turn it into a small business.


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