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Lots of programs generate ultrasecure “random” passwords. But any computer-generated sequence is actually pseudo-random — and ultimately predictable — because

Lots of programs generate ultrasecure “random” passwords. But any computer-generated sequence is actually pseudo-random — and ultimately predictable — because such programs are based on algorithms. Know that algorithm’s rules, and you unlock its secrets. So what’s a serious security freak to do?

Use HotBits, which creates character strings by monitoring the truly random radioactive decay of cesium-137. You tell HotBits how long a character string you want and whether you want the result to include numbers, letters, and/or punctuation marks; a moment later, your string arrives. One caveat: HotBits creator John Waller says that because the cesium-137 decays slowly, the strings that HotBits provide are pre-generated. “You can’t be certain I’m not squirreling away a copy,” says Waller. “But I’m not, really.”

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