Monday, November 2, 2015

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Pulitizer Prize winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin is also author of the 2014 book,  Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.  It chronicles how government and business track our everyday lives and stockpile data on each of us. She mentions how we could protect our privacy with stronger passwords. The most common password today is 1234, and second place goes to PASSWORD. A few forgetful people even use INCORRECT as a password, so if they can't remember it, any mistake will cause their computer to remind them, "Your password is incorrect." In her book, Angwin mentions Diceware, a method of building passwords that are famously difficult to crack. It involves rolling dice to create five digits in the Diceware dictionary, creating random passwords like the title of this post. On her book tour, readers asked Angwin to demonstrate the Diceware system but she was too busy signing books, so she paid her 11-year-old daughter Mira Modi to roll dice and create passwords for her. This gave Mira (shown below) an aha moment! Anyone can use Diceware to make passwords, but if you're too busy, she'll make one for you for two dollars -- half the cost of a Big Mac.

                                                                                                          Credit: Mira Modi / Diceware Passwords
The New York City sixth-grader never ran a business before, except the occasional lemonade stand, but her new enterprise has a Web site and is recognized in a New York Times video.  If you order from her Web site, she'll roll the dice and create a unique password to keep your data safe. She'll mail it to you by snail mail, which is more secure than email. She hasn't earned enough money for college yet, but who knows what will happen after "Crumbs of Comfort" readers see this post. To order one of Mira's secure passwords, visit

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