While most kids are content to play, 11-year-old Mira Modi has proven to be both business savvy and security conscious in her recent e-commerce effort. After the Grade 6 from New York City began creating passwords for her friends and family, for fun, by rolling dice, the idea grew into an online business.
Last month, Modi created dicewarepasswords.com, where users can buy guaranteed secure passwords that she creates. Not sold? Here’s the pitch:
“Buying a password seems crazy. But trying to make your own passwords is even crazier. C’mon – admit it, your passwords could be better. Instead of 12345 or password, your passwords could be longer, stronger, and more unique.
That’s where I come in. Using a proven methodology, I build long, strong, memorable passwords using strings of words from the dictionary that I select using dice. This method has been endorsed by no less an authority than the XKCD comic.”
In an impressively short amount of time, Modi’s online shop has exploded and attracted plenty of media attention. Two weeks after her launch, Modi had sold about 30 passwords according to an interview with Ars Technica. Two days after the piece was published, Modi had processed 500 orders.
“Any plans on my weekends have now been canceled,” Modi told the New York Daily News. She has disclosed that each password takes about 10 minutes to generate and complete. “My entire weekends go to this. During the weekdays I really don’t have much time since I have to do homework.”
Modi’s Diceware system, initially developed by Anrold Reinhold, uses a pair of baby blue six-sided dice 30 times. The numbers she generates correspond with letter and word patterns from the official Diceware word list. From this, Modi creates a random, six word password that she claims in “very secure” and “not easy for the computer to hack.”
Mira Modi’s interest in password safety is fitting, considering her mother is Julia Angwin, a Pultizer Prize-winning veteran reporter and author of Dragnet Nation, which explores computer and network surveillance.