sixth grader sells passwords
Mira Modi, 11, started her own business only earlier this monthdicewarepasswords.com

An 11-year-old girl from New York, who has started her own business of making cryptographically safe passwords by rolling a real dice, has caught everyone's attention.

Earlier this month, Mira Modi launched her business of generating six-word Diceware passwords and sending them to her customers in sealed letters via the United States Postal Service (USPS) for $2 each.

Modi became an entrepreneur after she was reportedly employed by her mother -- privacy journalist at "ProPublica" and author of "Dragnet Nation" Julia Angwin -- to create passwords as part of the latter's research for a new book.

The sixth grader began accompanying her mother to several events associated with books and sold passwords to people, which she created on the spot by rolling a dice.

Initially, the sales weren't that good and thus, Modi decided to put her password business in the public domain. "I thought it would be fun to have my own website," Mira Modi said, Ars Technica reported.

Although this isn't Modi's full-time business, the reports suggest if she makes it one she would earn $12 an hour, which is one-third more than the minimum wage of $8.75 in New York. She said that until now, she has sold a total of nearly 30 passwords, including in-person deals.

Highlighting the need of having strong passwords, Modi said as we have good computers these days, "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," she added.

Quite an old system of creating passwords, "Diceware" involves rolling a real dice to produce random numbers that are equivalent to a list of English words. After finding the right match between the numbers and the words, the latter are then merged into an absolute random non-sensical string that is difficult to guess. In fact, these passwords are reportedly so strong that they "cannot be broken by the government without a search warrant" as well.

Using the same process, Modi generates passwords, writes them down in hand on a piece of paper and sends the sealed letter to her customers. In order to help them make their passwords stronger, Modi recommends her customers to "capitalise some letters and/or adding symbols such as exclamations," so they are not the exact same that she gave them, according to her website dicewarepasswords.com.

Diceware passwords can be easily memorised, but hard to crack.

Also read