Category Archives: security

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Jon Southurst – PSA: Protect Your Wallets

Jon Southurst – PSA: Protect Your Wallets:

Jon Southurst (@SouthTopia) provides in a post on CoinDesk some examples of how with Bitcoin is not just 9/10ths of the law, it is the law.  Bitcoin is a bearer instrument — meaning if a payment gets sent to the wrong party, or a thief gains control of a wallet, the funds can be spent.  Excerpts:

“A simple concentration lapse can see exponentially more bitcoin leave your wallet than you’d intended, never to be seen again.”

“The difference between bitcoin and cash, though, is that much larger amounts may be at stake. Cash transactions tend to be smaller, while (reputedly safer) credit cards and bank transfers handle larger ones. Bitcoin allows you not only to transfer a million dollars in a heartbeat, it gives you a chance to send it to the wrong place. Or nowhere at all.”

“Mike Hearn, developer at the Bitcoin Foundation, says most loss-causing errors are the result of users not backing up locally-stored wallet files at the right time, and by misusing paper wallets.”

“The bitcoin development team also hopes to add human-memorable address aliases and a messaging function to transactions. Messaging would allow users to include a refund address with transactions.”

 – http://www.coindesk.com/dumb-mistakes-costly-bitcoin-losses

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Fixes For Android Mobile Bitcoin Wallets Released

Fixes For Android Mobile Bitcoin Wallets Released:

Correspondent for IDG Jeremy Kirk (@Jeremy_Kirk) published a report providing an update on the security vulnerability affecting nearly all mobile Bitcoin wallet apps for Android.  Excerpts:

“Four Android Bitcoin clients — Bitcoin Wallet, Blockchain, Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet and BitcoinSpinner — have been fixed, according to an updated notice on Bitcoin.org.”

“In some cases, the supposedly random numbers were the same for different transactions, which could allow an attacker to determine someone’s private key and steal their bitcoins.”

“Tens of thousands of other [non Bitcoin-related] Android applications may be vulnerable, Symantec wrote. The company found more than 360,000 applications that use the SecureRandom class in the same way as the affected Bitcoin applications.”

“Symantec noted that applications running on Android version 4.2 and up may not be affected […]”.

 – http://bit.ly/1eJldmp
 – http://bitcoin.org/en/alert/2013-08-11-android
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=271831.0 (Further discussion of the fix)

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DealBook – Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust

DealBook – Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust:

NY Times financial reporters Nathaniel Popper (@NathanielPopper) and Peter Lattman (@PeterLattman) broke the news that the Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss have filed with the SEC a proposal to create a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.  Excerpts:

“The plan involves an exchange-traded fund, which usually tracks a basket of stocks or a commodity, but in this case would hold only bitcoins.”

“The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust could send digital money from the realm of computer programmers, Internet entrepreneurs and a small circle of professional investors like themselves into the hands of retail investors — virtually anyone with a brokerage account.”

“‘The trust brings bitcoin to Main Street and mainstream investors to bitcoin,’ said Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder of Math-Based Asset Services, which would operate the proposed fund.”

“Their proposal has the advantage of coming from the desk of Kathleen Moriarty [who had] a leading role in the creation of the first exchange-traded fund and popular gold- and silver-backed E.T.F.’s.”

“The Winklevosses [previously] went public with their own bitcoin hoard, amounting to about 1 percent of all outstanding coins, or about $10 million.”

“An exchange-traded fund would make it significantly easier to gain exposure to bitcoins, just as commodities-based funds have made investing in gold, silver and other precious metals more accessible.”

“The Winklevoss fund would buy one bitcoin for every five shares, making the value of a single share worth about a fifth of a single bitcoin.”

“‘Digital currencies are not going away,’ said Carol Van Cleef, the head of law firm Patton Boggs’s emerging-payments practice.”

 – http://nyti.ms/1cK00Ys
 – http://1.usa.gov/13i07w0 (Proposal / S-1 Registration Statement)
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=248013.0 (Further discussion)

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