The Basics of Infosec: How to Keep Your Bitcoin Seed Phrase Safe

When it comes to managing your bitcoin yourself, there is one inescapable fact: the buck stops with you. You are responsible for your own money, you are responsible for keeping it safe, you are responsible for everything. This can be a frightening prospect, but there are ways to approach self-control in a simple way.

Securing your Bitcoin can be thought of in the same way as building a house. First you need to lay a foundation, then you build a frame on top of that, from there you fill in the walls, insulation, utilities, etc. For each piece of the house you want to add, you must correct the previous piece or the entire house will be unsafe and unstable.

When it comes to Bitcoin security, your seed sense is the foundation of your security. It is at the same time the most important and potentially weakest point in terms of security. Just as the foundation of a house affects its stability, your seed sense affects the security of your wallet.

So how do you keep a seed phrase safe? Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when figuring out how to secure your sperm sense.

Sharing is bad

Your seed sense is your money. Every private key needed to authorize spending, every address and every Bitcoin account in your wallet: all of these components are generated from your seed phrase. Anyone who has access to your seed sense has access to the money stored in that wallet. So, creating and securing a backup of this seed phrase is imperative.

If something happens to your hardware wallet or the device you installed your software wallet on, your only hope is your seed sense backup. If you lose the seed phrase backup, your money is gone. Your money can be accessed in two ways when you manage your money yourself: through the wallet you use, or through your seed sense backup. Your bitcoin wallet protects a copy of your keys on that device, but can’t help you protect the seed phrase backup.

No one need to access your sperm sense; As cold and callous as it sounds, you cannot be sure that they will handle it responsibly. They can still lose a copy of your seed sentence, or leave it lying around unsecured, without any malicious intent on their part.

So rule one: Never share your cum sentence with anyone. Any exception to this rule, under any circumstance, should be considered long and hard before being broken. After all, being too confident could put your Bitcoin at risk.

Computers are not your friend

It is critical to avoid recording your opening sentence in any digital format. Computers are incredibly complicated machines and are therefore susceptible to a litany of security issues. People’s devices are hacked regularly. Copies of your seed sentence can be at risk when stored digitally. In short, your laptop or smartphone is vulnerable to malware and spyware. If a hacker gains access to your device, he could potentially read your files and extract your seed phrase from any type of digital storage he has access to. For this reason, you should avoid storing your sperm phrase digitally.

This is especially true when storing something in a third-party digital service, such as a cloud storage provider. If your email account is ever hacked, the hacker can use your credentials to log into a cloud storage service and access your seed phrase.

Under no circumstances should you ever:

  • Save your seed phrase to a cloud storage site such as iCloud or Google Drive
  • Take pictures of it with your phone or other digital camera
  • Send it via any digital medium, such as email or text message
  • Enter it in everything except the bitcoin wallet you use
  • Treat him to every camera
  • Say it out loud near a microphone

The only copy of your seed sentence must be physical and completely isolated from the internet.

This is why it is also not recommended to keep significant amounts of Bitcoin in a software wallet on your computer or mobile phone. Simply put, your internet-connected devices are vulnerable to hackers. So if you want to keep your Bitcoin safe, you should invest in a hardware wallet.

Use durable Seed Phrase backups

One important decision should stand out to you when it comes to backing up your seed sentence: where do you write it down? This may seem like a stupid question if you’re new to this, but unless you stop using Bitcoin, you’ll have to secure your seed sense for the rest of your life.

Sustainability is incredibly important. You can just write your seed phrase on a piece of paper and put it in a drawer, but how long will that stay safe? Paper is flammable: it breaks down. If you spill water on it, the ink may bleed and your backup may become unreadable. Paper is not suitable for long-term storage.

Metal is a much better option, and numerous products on the market are designed to store your seed sense on metal. Some solutions use small individual metal tiles with letters on them so you can slide them into a frame and lock them in place to record your words, like the Bill Fodl.

Metal Tile backups are reusable, so if you generate and move to new wallets over time, the same backup kit can be reused for the new starter phrase. It is also possible to simply “destroy” your backup if necessary by removing the tiles. If you’re moving somewhere where you can’t take your backups with you because of the risk of someone else finding them, for example if you’re going through an airport, you may not want to leave your backup intact.

Other metal backups Use etching tools to scratch or press the words directly into a flat metal surface, giving you even stronger protection against threats like fire. This is extremely safe, but destroying a copy of your metal-etched seed sentence is extremely difficult. To really make sure it’s destroyed, you’ll need to grind away the entire front of the metal plate until no trace of the words remains.

Finally there are capsule-based solutions. These use small steel tiles with letters on them, but instead of sliding them into a flat frame, they are loaded into a steel tube around a bar to hold them in place. This can provide the benefits of reusability while ensuring that any fire deformation does not spread and loosen the letter tiles.

When choosing between metal tiles or steel plates, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each. But remember: use something made of metal. Don’t trust your Bitcoin to a thin piece of paper.

Physical safety

Now that we’ve established how to store your seed phrase, where should you store it? It is important to store the seed phrase on a sturdy piece of material, but so is storing it in a place that is physically difficult to access. It should be kept somewhere where you can keep it locked, such as a safe or lock box. A safe is better than a key box because it is bulkier and more difficult to physically carry. A safe that is attached to a wall is even better, as the wall must be destroyed in order to remove the safe.

If you don’t have a safe or lockbox, keep your seed sense out of sight. Place it in a filing cabinet or desk drawer in a room that is not accessible to other people. The most important thing is to make sure that wherever it is, no one else can access it.

Split your backup

You may not have anywhere that can be safely secured to house your backup seed phrase. There are two options that allow you to create a secure backup without keeping your seed phrase in one location. If you are considering splitting your seed sentence backup, follow a known protocol or don’t do it at all.

Split your backup yourself

Seed XOR is one mechanism. It is a process that allows you to take a pre-existing opening sentence and split it into two (or more) new opening sentences using a mathematical process. These new seed sentences are completely valid and can later be recombined to regenerate the original seed sentences from which they were created. This allows you to chunk your seed phrase and save it in multiple locations. It is terribly However, it is important to keep in mind that you must have 100% of the split seed sentences. If you lose one, you cannot regenerate the original seed phrase. A big advantage of XORing is that you can do it by hand.

Shamir’s secret parts

The second is Sharing Shamir’s secret. Similar to Seed XORing, SSS breaks your Seed phrase into multiple pieces, but it uses a completely different mathematical process to do so. Unlike Seed XORing, Shamir shares allow you to restore your original Seed phrase with less than 100% of the shares. It can be set up as a multisig, that is, as long as you have 3 of the 5 backup shares, you can regenerate your seed phrase. The only downside is that only certain wallets support the use of Shamir, and this cannot be done manually.

Under no circumstances should you manually split your seed sentence. If you’re not following a safe and widely researched protocol like Seed XOR or Shamir Secret Sharing, don’t even consider it. Naively splitting your seed phrase into multiple pieces can drastically reduce the security of your bitcoin. Randomly guessing 12 or 24 words and coincidentally guessing someone’s seed phrase is statistically impossible, but if someone has 4 of those words? Or 6 of those words? It’s starting to become practically practical to guess the rest of your opening sentence.

Another alternative, if you are using a Ledger, is the General ledger recovery service. This paid optional service uses a variant of Shamir’s secret exchange called Pedersen Verifiable Secret Sharing (PVSS). This allows you to back up access to your wallet without a seed phrase after going through an identity verification process with your government ID.

Social recovery

If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have a safe place to store your seed sentence backups, there are alternative solutions. Wallets and services like Unchained, Casa, and Nunchuck Wallet offer multisig solutions where a third party can hold one of your keys for you. For example, if you have a 2-of-3 multisig, they can contain one key. This ensures that as long as you don’t lose both keys that you keep, they can help you transfer your funds to a new wallet.

Keep it secret, keep it safe

Ultimately, securing your bitcoin is your responsibility. It is something that you have to take seriously and put in the right effort to maintain it. No one will come to your rescue if you don’t take it seriously. As Gandalf warned Bilbo in Lord of the Rings, “Keep it secret, keep it safe.”

That’s your job as a Bitcoiner, to keep your seed sense hidden from other people and safe from those who want to take it from you. The simple advice in this article will cover the vast majority of what you need to do to achieve that.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Simply record your seed phrase on a durable medium such as metal, and keep it physically safe from prying eyes and thieving hands. Keep it locked in your safe or in a room that other people don’t often have access to. Check it from time to time. That’s all you have to do.

Don’t overcomplicate things in your head, just keep it simple and your bitcoin will be safe.

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