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Author Topic: How do you protect bitcoin from an Electro-Magnetic Pulse?  (Read 7789 times)
mjoz
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July 04, 2011, 01:52:54 PM
 #41

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

In the event of an EMP you probably have much larger problems than worrying about your digital cash Smiley
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kloinko1n
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July 04, 2011, 02:35:09 PM
 #42

In the event of an EMP you probably have much larger problems than worrying about your digital cash Smiley
Exactly.
Bitcoins should only be a part of your investment portfolio.
Other parts should consist of cash, silver, gold. Amongst others.
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July 04, 2011, 02:53:16 PM
 #43

How can I print out my wallet.dat to paper, in letters/numbers, and then how can I make it back into a usable wallet.dat file?

Use PaperBak. There's a thread on it here somewhere. Print it, then scan it when you need the file back
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July 04, 2011, 06:08:17 PM
 #44

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)?

Depends on your setup. For myself, limited to none, but a large scale EMP attack would cause issues for a large segment of commerce regardless of currency. The most effective non-nuclear EMP attack delivery method is cluster packages of fully operational electromagnets and c4 detonators to collapse the field. Most missile systems don't have the power required to keep the magnets at full field strength before the implosion of the field, so only really large and slow planes would be able to deliver payload like this, and that shit get's shot down quick, especially considering that most anti-aircraft gear is EMP hardened.

Unshielded optical routers and cellular towers would probably be the primary target of such an attack vector, and then who knows, people might have to remember how electromagnetics and the internet work again. Might be a net positive from a recovery standpoint.

2. What are some of the possible defenses?

There are lots of published military manuals on building EMP protected shelters, if you're getting paranoid.

ISO: small island nations with large native populations excited to pay tribute to flying gods, will trade BTC.
Slab Squathrust
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July 04, 2011, 07:21:31 PM
 #45

If an EMP hits where I live, I wont give two shits about bitcoins.  I'll be more concerned about the functioning of my firearms.  Thankfully they are mechanical.  I'll just hunt my own food.   Grin
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July 04, 2011, 07:38:19 PM
 #46

[...]
Use the could Luke (after two rounds of AES-256, of course)

Double encryption is barely useful. Read about the meet in the middle attack.

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compro01
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July 04, 2011, 07:52:38 PM
 #47

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) ?

1. no, an EMP of sufficient power would induce a current in the circuitry and trash the thing.

2. maybe.  an EMP would result in a massive electrical surge.  the computer would be unaffected (beyond the effects of losing power suddenly) if there is sufficient surge suppression capability between the wall and the computer.
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July 04, 2011, 08:33:44 PM
 #48

Btw, is the effect of a solar flare more like an EMP or more like a massive microwave gun?

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

Wanna gimme some BTC for any or no reason? 1FmvtS66LFh6ycrXDwKRQTexGJw4UWiqDX Smiley

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compro01
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July 04, 2011, 09:13:06 PM
 #49

Btw, is the effect of a solar flare more like an EMP or more like a massive microwave gun?

both really.

on the ground level, EMP.  a large solar flare will release a burst of energetic particles, which will create a geomagnetic storm when they hit the earth's magnetic field, which will induce a current in electrical circuits

at high altitudes, and in orbit, it's a blast of X rays which can also wreck things.

however, the effect of a solar flare is too weak to meaningfully effect typical electronics.  you need very long circuits (like power lines or phone lines) to induce a meaningful current.  worst case is a widespread power surge and outage, like what happened in 1989 (massive blackout in ontario), 1921, and 1859 (wrecked havoc on the north american telegraph system).

an EMP bomb would be much closer and induce a much larger current, and thus would be able to wreck much smaller circuits.
Justsomeforumuser
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July 04, 2011, 09:18:22 PM
 #50



</thread>

Ho-Hum.
compro01
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July 04, 2011, 09:25:00 PM
 #51



</thread>

you assume a EMP wouldn't cause electrical fires and reduce your punched card to ashes.

you're going to need a fireproof safe or something.
Gareth Nelson
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July 04, 2011, 09:25:57 PM
 #52

Quite honestly, if an EMP hits i'd be far more concerned about a whole bunch of survival issues before any currency.

Is this something people are that paranoid about?
kloinko1n
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July 05, 2011, 04:58:31 AM
 #53

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) ?

1. no, an EMP of sufficient power would induce a current in the circuitry and trash the thing.

2. maybe.  an EMP would result in a massive electrical surge.  the computer would be unaffected (beyond the effects of losing power suddenly) if there is sufficient surge suppression capability between the wall and the computer.
A Faraday Cage only protects in the case of low frequency E.M. waves. An EMP has such a fast rising time that it causes eddy currents in the wires of the Cage, driving the currents in the wires to the outside perimeter, increasing the effective resistance to such an amount that compensation of the fields is no more apparent, hence the EMP field will penetrate the Faraday Cage and still damage the equipment inside.
So what one needs is a massive metal enclosure, not a cage, and preferably made of gold, silver or copper, in decreasing order of preferability.
Then the thickness should be such that the surface penetration of the EMP is low enough at the inner side of the enclosure to prevent any damage to be done.
If one knows the characteristics of an EMP (I'm too lazy to look it up for now), such an enclosure can easily be designed.
However, it won't look like a Faraday Cage.
Swishercutter
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July 05, 2011, 05:33:28 AM
 #54

Simple solution...a computer made from vacuum tubes and relays...lol.  Since the EMP just burns out the P-N junction of the semiconductor vacuum tubes are not at risk.

It might be a heavy, hot and inefficient "thumb" drive but EMP's won't be an issue.

Seriously though, I agree with other posters...if you are in the range of an EMP you are probably at risk from a lot more than just your bitcoin being lost.
LehmanSister
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July 05, 2011, 06:17:04 AM
 #55

[...]
Use the could Luke (after two rounds of AES-256, of course)
Double encryption is barely useful. Read about the meet in the middle attack.

I think that's a misstatement; I'm fairly certain that AES works well as a composite function (with non-related keys), altho' I would personally use a second cipher for the second round. Even in the case of the 3DES MITM style attack, 3DES remained more resilient then just DES, just not 3x as effective.

For znort987, I recommend a chain of multiple ciphers for composite encryption, and unrelated random keys.

ISO: small island nations with large native populations excited to pay tribute to flying gods, will trade BTC.
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July 05, 2011, 06:28:23 AM
 #56

Everybody:   Print your wallet....  

Miners:  It is your honorable duty to protect the blockchain.

If anyone gets into this wallet within a week.. they may have the contents.  It's a lousy password.  I'll keep my eye on it to see if anyone claims the booty.  I'll post the password after the EMP blast passes.  So you can try printing it, scanning it in, or converting it...

There is at least 1BTC in there... if anyone else want to "Up the Ante" the address is 1FuP3q8EUp64ufmJouUu8g8wc6coxXLZUM

The image above was created with "PaperBak" or "PaperBack"...  http://www.ollydbg.de/Paperbak/


4C 6F 6E 67  4C 69 76 65  42 69 74 63 6F 69 6E
Qba'g lbh unir nalguvat orggre gb qb?
BTCurious
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July 05, 2011, 06:31:19 AM
 #57

My bitcoins are safe because they're on a Paper Bitcoin Wallet.  (see sigline)
With that concept, people will have to trust you that you don't run with their money when they deposit a significant account on it. Afterall, you've got the "key to their safe"; the private key…

(Edit: Oh right, 2 more pages inbetween. Autopager fail…)

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July 05, 2011, 02:37:42 PM
 #58

That wasn't too difficult Roll Eyes After you mentioned that it was a Paperbak thing, anyway Smiley

Oh btw, I'm going to assume this was an honest mistake, but the address you mentioned was actually not the address in the wallet. The address in the wallet is 1FuP3q8EUp64ufmJouUu8g8wc6coxXLZUM, but the coin has already been claimed.

Feel free to donate to that address though, I don't mind ^^ (Or yeah, support oxygen or marquee tags in my sig Smiley)

RchGrav
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July 05, 2011, 02:51:36 PM
 #59

I can confirm that someone claimed the bitcoin...  and yes.. I made a mistake on the address.  when I reloaded the wallet.dat.. it actually generated a new keypair.. when I looked at my copy of wallet.dat I had running on a PC it had 2 addresses now.  The one I uploaded only had the single address which BTCurious posted.

In any case.. the correct address was 1FuP3q8EUp64ufmJouUu8g8wc6coxXLZUM


If anyone would like to print the image to paper and try scanning it in for themselves.. the password was "bitcoin"...

It was printed out with 1:2 redundancy.. and a larger DPI than normal.. which should prove to make it pretty resilient.

You could try damaging the paper in various ways.. folding it, puncturing it, scratching off dots, etc.  See how much abuse it can take before it is no longer recoverable when scanning it in.

RchGrav

4C 6F 6E 67  4C 69 76 65  42 69 74 63 6F 69 6E
Qba'g lbh unir nalguvat orggre gb qb?
ampkZjWDQcqT
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July 05, 2011, 05:56:20 PM
 #60

[...]
Use the could Luke (after two rounds of AES-256, of course)
Double encryption is barely useful. Read about the meet in the middle attack.

I think that's a misstatement; I'm fairly certain that AES works well as a composite function (with non-related keys), altho' I would personally use a second cipher for the second round. Even in the case of the 3DES MITM style attack, 3DES remained more resilient then just DES, just not 3x as effective.

I missed the part where you explained why it's a misstatement. Smiley.

For znort987, I recommend a chain of multiple ciphers for composite encryption, and unrelated random keys.

If the user can secure the key of such system, he could as well secure the bitcoin key directly.

Your suggestion makes me recall the following XKCD comic, enjoy:
.

Revised in 2011-07-05 17:57: Formatting.

If you found my comment useful please express your gratitude by doing an action of similar magnitude towards a better society. Thanks you!.
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