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Author Topic: How do you protect bitcoin from an Electro-Magnetic Pulse?  (Read 7778 times)
Trader Steve
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July 03, 2011, 07:23:42 PM
 #1

While thinking about the possible attacks against bitcoin holdings the threat of Electro-Magnetic Pulses popped up. So my questions are:

1. How susceptible are bitcoin holdings to Electro-Magnetic Pulses (whether they be highly targeted or a more generalized attack)?

and

2. What are some of the possible defenses?

Thanks,
Trader Steve
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July 03, 2011, 07:25:04 PM
 #2

By hiding under your bed in the fetal possition.

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July 03, 2011, 07:26:13 PM
 #3

Assuming that an EMP could wipe your hard drive, memory, BIOS, maybe even the microcode on your CPUs etc, they could screw your computers up.

Solutions are offsite backups, writing your keys on paper, burning your wallet backup to a CD.
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July 03, 2011, 07:26:58 PM
 #4

2. What are some of the possible defenses?
write them all down on good old paper. or sae them on anything that is not electronical.

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July 03, 2011, 07:27:17 PM
 #5

While thinking about the possible attacks against bitcoin holdings the threat of Electro-Magnetic Pulses popped up. So my questions are:

1. How susceptible are bitcoin holdings to Electro-Magnetic Pulses (whether they be highly targeted or a more generalized attack)?

and

2. What are some of the possible defenses?

Thanks,
Trader Steve

Individual wallets are susceptible if an EMP is strong enough to damage primary storage. Backups that are on media that isn't susceptible (which, I believe, includes flash drives that are not receiving power at the time of the pulse) would of course survive.

Because the transaction network is quite decentralized EMP would have to hit pretty much the entire planet to actually destroy it, though a more local EMP (such as an entire major technological country) would probably screw up a lot of mining, thus at least temporarily slowing down block generation quite a bit.

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July 03, 2011, 07:32:23 PM
 #6

Keep your equipment in a Faraday cage.
Trader Steve
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July 03, 2011, 07:32:54 PM
 #7

By hiding under your bed in the fetal possition.

LOL! Yes, that was my first thought but, assuming I was able to survive that and the subsequent fallout (pun intended), I would like to know that my bitcoin holdings were safe and secure.
SpaceLord
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July 03, 2011, 07:33:22 PM
 #8

A good faraday cage?
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July 03, 2011, 07:36:04 PM
 #9

I don't think they're worth all too much if half the internet is in range of EMP blasts. Otherwise, just have an encrypted backup on a server elsewhere.

Anyways, try not to live where there's a high chance of a nuclear war.
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July 03, 2011, 07:37:57 PM
 #10

Say if someone uses an EMP and knocks out the whole network...and then puts a whole ton of their own hardware online, wouldn't that mean they own 100% of the network? o.o

Doesn't have to be an EMP, the most likely thing would be solar flares/winds that knocks out everything on Earth....which can happen.

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Alex Beckenham
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July 03, 2011, 07:41:11 PM
 #11

1. Would an EMP affect consumer-grade optical storage?
2. Would an EMP affect an optical 'master' disk, the kind that professional duplication companies would have?

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July 03, 2011, 07:41:29 PM
 #12

Are flashdrives really safe from an EMP?


And btw, does a faraday cage still protects a computer if it's plugged on the wall and on the Internet (if not using fiber to get the 'net inside the cage) ?

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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July 03, 2011, 07:43:44 PM
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Anything an EMP could do to bitcoins it can also do to banks...

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July 03, 2011, 07:46:21 PM
 #14

2. What are some of the possible defenses?

I would say, online storage. As many as you can.

Make sure you encrypt before yo store something on line and use a good password.

Do no evil,

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Alex Beckenham
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July 03, 2011, 07:46:38 PM
 #15

Anything an EMP could do to bitcoins it can also do to banks...

You mean it can effectively empty the safe?

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July 03, 2011, 07:47:02 PM
 #16

This is a very valid question.  You could always print a backup copy, which is probably the most secure method in this situation.

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July 03, 2011, 07:47:32 PM
 #17

EMP = game over for ALL industries relying on electronics.
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July 03, 2011, 07:49:38 PM
 #18

Anything an EMP could do to bitcoins it can also do to banks...

You mean it can effectively empty the safe?


The banks *might* have 10% cash reserves. It might as well be empty in an EMP scenario. Assuming the EMP is powerful enough take out communication lines as well as data storage.

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July 03, 2011, 08:05:08 PM
 #19

My bitcoins are safe because they're on a Paper Bitcoin Wallet.  (see sigline)

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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July 03, 2011, 08:43:35 PM
 #20

If you're talking about an EMP taking down large parts of the Bitcoin network, well, let's just say you'll have more pressing concerns if that happens. Most likely that would be the result of a global nuclear conflict, in which case you want to be asking yourself whether you have food, water and shelter to hold out for several months. If you survive that, you then want to ask yourself how you're going to survive in the post-nuclear wasteland the Earth has become. By this point you'll likely have forgotten all about Bitcoins.

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