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Author Topic: Even air-gapped wallets aren't safe...  (Read 141 times)
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April 24, 2018, 12:45:31 PM
 #1

An interesting article on ArsTechnica today: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/04/new-hacks-siphon-private-cryptocurrency-keys-from-airgapped-wallets/

Seems the "hackers" have found a number of methods for exfiltrating information from air-gapped machines... Shocked Shocked Shocked I especially like the usage of GPIO pins on a RaspberryPi to generate radio waves! Cool

The recommendation for protecting from these attacks? Essentially it involves putting your cold storage device in a faraday cage! Shocked Roll Eyes

NOTE: before you get tooooo paranoid, these attacks all require that the cold storage device is compromised.

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April 24, 2018, 12:53:40 PM
 #2

Nice concept. It seems like the main point is that cold storage isn't safe when someone else has access to it. It seems like that would be the same with every wallet (ahem Ledger), hardware wallet or not. The whole attack hinges on the designing of the malware and I'm not sure how easy it would be.

The best precaution when using fully air gapped method is to just secure it in a safe, since malware attacks won't really be viable.

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April 24, 2018, 03:14:48 PM
 #3

Physical access to a device will always be a problem. Some guys even found ways to extract private keys from a Trezor a

while ago, albeit with special tools. I created 1000s of Paper wallets on a cheap old notebook and printer and after I printed

them, I physically destroyed the hardware. {crushed & melted it} A cheap setup like that, will not cost you more than $200.   

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April 24, 2018, 03:41:33 PM
 #4

NOTE: before you get tooooo paranoid, these attacks all require that the cold storage device is compromised.

That's the important bit Smiley

Not getting your system compromised is one of the reason you air gap them in the first place. The other thing is that this also means that hardware wallets are not affected by this attack, so hooray for hardware wallets!


Physical access to a device will always be a problem. Some guys even found ways to extract private keys from a Trezor a

while ago, albeit with special tools.

Trezor bugs are usually fixed swiftly, but some guys even found ways to extract private keys from Bitcoiners a while ago, albeit with special tools:

https://cointelegraph.com/news/man-robbed-at-gunpoint-for-1100-worth-of-bitcoins-in-brooklyn
https://cointelegraph.com/news/russia-blogger-who-boasted-about-crypto-wealth-beaten-and-robbed-for-425k
https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/910958/Bitcoin-ripple-ethereum-UK-robbery-cryptocurrency-armed-thugs-oxfordshire-news-latest

Physical access is not just a technological problem, unfortunately.


[...] and after I printed them, I physically destroyed the hardware. {crushed & melted it} [...]   

I like your style Grin

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April 24, 2018, 03:45:09 PM
 #5

An interesting article on ArsTechnica today: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/04/new-hacks-siphon-private-cryptocurrency-keys-from-airgapped-wallets/

Seems the "hackers" have found a number of methods for exfiltrating information from air-gapped machines... Shocked Shocked Shocked I especially like the usage of GPIO pins on a RaspberryPi to generate radio waves! Cool

The recommendation for protecting from these attacks? Essentially it involves putting your cold storage device in a faraday cage! Shocked Roll Eyes

NOTE: before you get tooooo paranoid, these attacks all require that the cold storage device is compromised.

These concepts are not new, spy agencies and expert hackers have a lot of methods for stealing data from air-gapped machines, but they are very complicated and require some complex setup, so it's very unlikely that someone with this level of expertise would target private users. Big targets like exchanges should be the ones who must be worried about such attacks, especially with the risks of rogue employees helping those hackers by installing some devices or software.


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April 24, 2018, 03:47:00 PM
 #6

Before I reply I would like to say that the ministry of Bitcoin propaganda runs this forum and keeps removing posts.

I looked into these air-gap bridges and you can download apps from play store that produce spectra graphs and you can
even send and receive cartoon like images using nothing more than sound.

Turns out that some TV adverts are using sound to communicate with apps ruining on "Smart Phone" so this is not science
fiction and is fact.

Developers should keep away from using any microsoft blackbox code and the same goes for google android code that's
all over our phones because "They" are years ahead of where we think they are when it comes to steeling our data.






Mining is CPU-wars and Intel, AMD like it nearly as much as big oil likes miners wasting electricity. Is this what mankind has come too.
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April 24, 2018, 04:00:23 PM
 #7

Nice research (even though it's already known on different research subject), but if the device already infected or/and the thief have physical access (or at least near device), then your Bitcoin "already" gone since :
1. Most infection case happen when the device is online and the thief simply can steal the private key while the device is online.
2. If the thief is nearby or had physical access, they just need to wait user to access their private key (they can left devices and pick up later if necessary).

But only big exchanges/services or popular people on Cryptocurrency/cryptography world should worry about this problem.

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April 24, 2018, 05:31:20 PM
 #8

Before I reply I would like to say that the ministry of Bitcoin propaganda runs this forum and keeps removing posts.

I looked into these air-gap bridges and you can download apps from play store that produce spectra graphs and you can
even send and receive cartoon like images using nothing more than sound.

Turns out that some TV adverts are using sound to communicate with apps ruining on "Smart Phone" so this is not science
fiction and is fact.

Developers should keep away from using any microsoft blackbox code and the same goes for google android code that's
all over our phones because "They" are years ahead of where we think they are when it comes to steeling our data.







The whole concept of "air gapped" is that the machine is usually, typically, 99% of the time turned off. If the design goal is to move coins only at the 5th year and the 10th year for one day each, I think it's reasonably safe.

If the goal is to move funds every day, more careful study of the problem would be called for.
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April 24, 2018, 06:13:06 PM
 #9

It's a really unrealistic scenario. You shouldn't be taking off your raspberry pi/airgapped laptop out of your house ever, you should only open it when there are no cameras around. If there are phones are around, there are cameras around too... and you can assume someone has recorded you entering your wallet password and so on, so why would you go out with your cold storage device.

Just keep it at home safe, use QR codes to move your pre-signed transactions into the hot node to broadcast it safely and you should be ok. If you want to go insane mode, you can buy a faraday cage tent and only turn on the computer inside.

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April 24, 2018, 06:17:58 PM
 #10

If the goal is to move funds every day, more careful study of the problem would be called for.

Lead mate, you need lead because I have picked up stories (might not be true yet) that they can
re-flash some chips from a distance which from my understanding of electronics seems quite possible.

OK Mr Moderator, I am safe for the next ten seconds and like to keep you on your toes in them nazi boots
you are wearing.

Mining is CPU-wars and Intel, AMD like it nearly as much as big oil likes miners wasting electricity. Is this what mankind has come too.
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April 24, 2018, 06:56:48 PM
 #11

NOTE: before you get tooooo paranoid, these attacks all require that the cold storage device is compromised.

I think this is the most important thing about cold storage, hardwallets, etc.
People buy hardwallets a little cheaper from third party seller, compromising security.

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April 24, 2018, 07:03:31 PM
 #12

NOTE: before you get tooooo paranoid, these attacks all require that the cold storage device is compromised.

This is more like a proof of concept than something we can see too often in the wild.
OK, a bad linux distro can do that. Or a compromised clone of the wallet. And I expect that people that start to setup a PI has that much common sense to check this.
So I don't really see how this infection could happen, really.

However, I see it as a fun-to-watch experiment. Thanks for sharing.

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April 24, 2018, 08:03:23 PM
 #13

I think this is the most important thing about cold storage, hardwallets, etc.
People buy hardwallets a little cheaper from third party seller, compromising security.

As Bitcoin was booming we watched as these hardware wallets doubled in price so lets not pretend that we are
dealing with nice people here who can themselves be trusted.

God knows what Microsoft get up to when you plug these wallets into the USB ports and the same is also true
with Intel Chips and I think you are safer trusting something made in China than anything made in the USA.

We still don't have the right formula but maybe something using optical none electrical crystal lenses that you
wear as glasses is going to be the way to go.

Mining is CPU-wars and Intel, AMD like it nearly as much as big oil likes miners wasting electricity. Is this what mankind has come too.
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April 24, 2018, 09:48:14 PM
 #14

I think this is the most important thing about cold storage, hardwallets, etc.
People buy hardwallets a little cheaper from third party seller, compromising security.

As Bitcoin was booming we watched as these hardware wallets doubled in price so lets not pretend that we are
dealing with nice people here who can themselves be trusted.

That those third party resellers can not be trusted is exactly the point that bitmover is making though.

If you refer to SatoshiLabs and Ledger themselves -- SatoshiLabs never increased the Trezor price, except for priority shipping. Ledger did increase their price, but not even close to doubling it.

Keep in mind that both those companies are rather small operations, so production bottlenecks are indeed a thing and not just a way to artificially manipulate supply and demand.


God knows what Microsoft get up to when you plug these wallets into the USB ports and the same is also true
with Intel Chips and I think you are safer trusting something made in China than anything made in the USA.

Doesn't matter. Hardware wallets are built to work securely even on compromised computer systems, regardless of whether it's been compromised by malware or out-of-the-box. That applies to both the computer's software and hardware.


We still don't have the right formula but maybe something using optical none electrical crystal lenses that you
wear as glasses is going to be the way to go.

Light-based quantum encrypted transmission channels have existed for a long time and have been cracked as far back as 2010:
https://www.nature.com/news/2010/100829/full/news.2010.436.html

I'm not sure how this relates to the current discussion though.

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Today at 01:24:28 AM
 #15

Curious how people went off the deep end with regards to the Hardware Wallet "Proof of Concept" exploits... that also REQUIRE physical access to the device... and yet this "proof of concept" receives the following:

NOTE: quote "owners" removed on purpose... not trying to start arguments here!

Quote
These concepts are not new, spy agencies and expert hackers have a lot of methods for stealing data from air-gapped machines, but they are very complicated and require some complex setup, so it's very unlikely that someone with this level of expertise would target private users. Big targets like exchanges should be the ones who must be worried about such attacks, especially with the risks of rogue employees helping those hackers by installing some devices or software.
Much like the recent Ledger exploit... that wasn't some "script kiddie" downloadable rootkit... it required some serious know how.


Quote
But only big exchanges/services or popular people on Cryptocurrency/cryptography world should worry about this problem.
Why? Shouldn't anyone using a cold storage device take appropriate precautions? Huh


Quote
It's a really unrealistic scenario. You shouldn't be taking off your raspberry pi/airgapped laptop out of your house ever, you should only open it when there are no cameras around. If there are phones are around, there are cameras around too... and you can assume someone has recorded you entering your wallet password and so on, so why would you go out with your cold storage device.
So an "Evil maid" is realistic for hardware wallets... but not cold storage airgapped machines? Huh


Quote
This is more like a proof of concept than something we can see too often in the wild.
OK, a bad linux distro can do that. Or a compromised clone of the wallet. And I expect that people that start to setup a PI has that much common sense to check this.
So I don't really see how this infection could happen, really.
Exactly... just like the Ledger wallet exploit was... And if you think people who setup a Pi are going to check every line of code in the distro that they download... you're the world's greatest optimist! Tongue


Not claiming that hardware wallets are better (or worse) than air gapped machine... My point is just that, as always... claims of "safe and secure" ALWAYS need to be taken with a grain of salt... NOTHING is 100% secure... and nothing should be treated as such.

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Today at 02:49:28 AM
 #16

Great topic. It must be such a source of tension for people who have hundreds of BTC and other crypto. So many attack vectors and new are being researched everyday.
Even if you ensure that your air-gapped hardware has no malware , there is the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerability! While a software patch suffices for Meltdown, Spectre needs a hardware fix it seems. So Goodbye old processors!!
Looks like the only secure way is to write down private keys and store separate parts of them in fireproof, blast proof steel cube. You could always leave crytpic clues for your grandson/daughter (National Treasure) if you are worried about succession. It is interesting that cryptocurrency wave has provided renewed motivation to academic work on such attacks. Wonder how far along SHA-256 attacks are?

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Today at 07:48:11 AM
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Before I reply I would like to say that the ministry of Bitcoin propaganda runs this forum and keeps removing posts.

I looked into these air-gap bridges and you can download apps from play store that produce spectra graphs and you can
even send and receive cartoon like images using nothing more than sound.

Turns out that some TV adverts are using sound to communicate with apps ruining on "Smart Phone" so this is not science
fiction and is fact.

Developers should keep away from using any microsoft blackbox code and the same goes for google android code that's
all over our phones because "They" are years ahead of where we think they are when it comes to steeling our data.







If you browse a bit on this forum, you would realize that the "clean up" is not targeted at you. People are complaining about post and thread deletion from all over this forum. I have lost MANY posts in the last couple of weeks. So stop making everything about you.  Roll Eyes

Can you be biased for one moment and agree that any technology or method <strategy> you use to protect something with value, are not flawless. I cannot even remember how many times I have lost my physical wallet and how many times someone stole something valuable from me.

Bitcoin is not claiming to be flawless, but if you take some extra precautions, it is pretty damn safe, compared to other alternatives.

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Today at 09:18:14 AM
 #18

Curious how people went off the deep end with regards to the Hardware Wallet "Proof of Concept" exploits... that also REQUIRE physical access to the device... and yet this "proof of concept" receives the following

PoC exploits should always be taken seriously, despite being PoC only. Apart from that I fully agree with you. The PoC in question doesn't even affect hardware wallets to begin with. It just shows that if you have full access to an unsecured hardware device and its software you can do amazing things with it.

As an attack it is thwarted by applying best practices in terms of security. Which is why these best practices exist to begin with.


Looks like the only secure way is to write down private keys and store separate parts of them in fireproof, blast proof steel cube.

Or, you know... buying a hardware wallet.

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