This ingenious method is impossible for police to crack. It works like this:

Both persons (or multiple parties) purchase the exact publication of any random dictionary. The messenger writes the page number of the word needing to be communicated followed by a dash (hyphen) followed by the number the word appears in the list on the page of the dictionary. For instance, if the word needing to be communicated is "stash," the code for this word could be 210-14 because "stash" appears on page 210 and is the fourteenth word listed. A dictionary makes it easier to locate the words but you may use a novel or any other book.

To further protect the message, open a Hushmail email account (it's free) and share the username and password with your partner. Do not email the coded message back and forth. Simply type the code into an email and save it to DRAFT. The receiving party of the message can login to the account and check the DRAFT folder for the message and reply using the same method. This combination of code writing and saving to DRAFT is impossible to de-code.


  1. Just a Guy on November 25, 2015 at 8:26 am

    I would recommend protonmail,com as a hushmail alternative

  2. Scott on June 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    There exists extremely powerful and robust encryption software freely available to anyone. OpenSSL for example, allows anyone to use AES-256-CBC (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption algorithm which has been used by the military and government for decades. It allows you to scramble and de-scramble any file using a password as a lock and key. The longer and complex the password, the less chance there is it can be guessed.

    If your password is say, 51 characters, the chances of someone correctly guessing it greater than 1 in >4×10^10 (40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) lol. Even if the guesser has access to ten of the most powerful super computers in world and combines them together they would never likely guess your password within your or your great great great grandchildrens’ lifetime. In fact, the sun will explode and the Andromeda galaxy will collide with the Milky Way before they crack it. lol Even at a rate of 10 decillion guesses per second it would take at least >1×10^60 years to crack a 51-character password using the standard character set and assuming they know the encryption algorithm you chose (there are scores of them).

    As an IT expert, I highly recommend this encryption method so long as the password is strong because it is pretty much a sure fire way to guard the content of any kind of file, whether text, video, audio, or other. You can then safely electronically transmit your encrypted file (be sure it’s the encrypted file and not the unencrypted file!) to a friend with whom you’ve discreetly agreed upon the password with and have real confidence that any intercepted content will never be decrypted so long as your password is strong, long, and complex. However, obviously, I must warn, in the wake of the NSA spying scandal, that any information you transmit electronically that’s not encrypted well or at all (such as the TO:, FROM:, SUBJECT:, body content, or other metadata such as the frequency of your transmissions and geolocation data) may be subject to surveillance. But there are even ways around that; just look around on the web and see what folks are saying.

    To use OpenSSL, you may download it freely from a variety of known and trusted sources, and it’s compatible with most operating systems. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, you may run the program and simply enter commands to encrypt and decrypt your files. The command syntax is available in the manual and online. It’s very simple, fast, extremely useful, and it can’t be beaten if your password is strong enough. Someone trying to get into your file would have an easier time trying to find a particular molecule of water out of the all the water on earth. LITERALLY! 🙂 OpenSSL is open-source software (unlike Windows and Mac OS, which most of you probably use), which means its instruction code is non-proprietary and available in uncompiled form so that the millions of watchdog programmers out there can examine the code for potentially harmful instructions. If you’re that paranoid, you can always scan it for viruses and mal-ware and run the program in a virtual machine (VM) or dedicated machine that’s not attached to a network, but this is not necessary. It’s always good to run from an open-source operating system anyway, such as linux, which doesn’t prevent you from running Windows or Mac software.

    • Scott on June 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Whoops…I meant, the chances are 1 in greater than 1 in >4×10^100, not ^10! 🙂

    • JamesP on December 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      OpenSSL comes preinstalled free with every Mac – just open the Terminal app. You can search the web for the commands to use.

  3. Shawn on January 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Sadly, this method is no longer very secure. While it was very effective, back before parallel processing and code-breaking hardware became commonplace, it simply isn’t so anymore. Google Books is ‘scanning everything ever printed’ and has digitized more than you can imagine (including variations of the same books). Couple that with systems like rainbow tables and high-performance computing – and in a matter of minutes this method could be defeated quite easily.

  4. bruinlifer on January 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Used the hushmail account. It works and is convenient. The dictionary method… now that is FUCKING INGENIOUS! That will also work should the unfortunate happen and one is incarcerated (or in another situation where they don’t have phone/email access… though if you write a letter with pages full of numbers they might suspect something. They say they don’t read the mail and only check for contraband, but that is BS.