The Code Breaker

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THE CODE BREAKER: Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, expert code breaker and inspiration for my boys

WE live in constant fear of a cyber attack from our eldest, Harry,  aged just nine.

Last night, he merrily told us that if he had Daddy’s password, he’d “buy everything on the internet.”

Being his mother, I already knew this.

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I am careful.

When typing in passwords, I make him leave the room and close his eyes. Then once I have checked for any reflective surfaces, keyholes, cracks in the ceiling and all other possible breaches in security… only then will I go under the duvet and type in my magic letter combination.

I’ll hear a muffled “Don’t you trust me?”

My reply is “No.”

One problem is, Harry being a family member, he already knows my personal details.

When he memorised my date of birth, I strongly suspect this was not in a kind and thoughtful manner, more likely he was trying to hack my iTunes account.

Nick and I were out the other day and I received a verification text message thingybob, something was going on with my email account. While Nick drove home at near loon levels, I checked our bank accounts online – all fine there.

Back at the house, Harry was playing Minecraft with Freddie the babysitter.

He was happy and telling us about the three diamonds he’d found, my eyes narrowed, suspicion kicked in once again.

Had he somehow bought these diamonds and the transaction had yet to show up on the bank account? Were there other purchases? How long will it take to cancel the orders? Does Amazon list a “reason for cancellation” as “my nine-year-old son is trying, for the umpteenth time, to rip me off”?

Happily all is (currently) fine (he was trying to post something on Youtube).

I have email alerts on everything, he can’t do a virtual fart without me knowing about it… I will change some passwords anyway.

Once the passwords are changed, more problems arise as the need to communicate the secret sign-ins with Nick becomes necessary; this is usually done through codes and riddles, for example, “it’s the one you used circa 2015 that time for the online shop your uncle visited before he holidayed in Honululu” – the more abstract the better, but I obviously often confuse myself in my attempts to outwit the boys. 

The problem is the boys love puzzles and riddles and are complete password sleuths, they will go to great lengths to crack the codes – I suppose I could be celebrating this really; cyber-crime is all the rage and maybe exciting, lucrative careers beckon for my boys (possibly as criminals or as spooks in counter intelligence – who knows?).

• Sarah, the writer of this blog on family life, moved to the Costa del Sol with her husband and two small boys 18 months ago. She explains her relocation on “a need for sun and to exercise my sons  which is easier with less rain,” adding “they are pretty normal, a shock as I am from a family of girls!”

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