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Author Topic: BitcoinSpinner  (Read 51721 times)
hgmichna
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October 13, 2012, 01:03:20 PM
 #281

you lost your coins!

Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends.

But this can serve as a reminder that Android, while perhaps being a bit safer than Windows, is not an entirely safe operating system. Let us remind ourselves of some security measures against the two most common cases, 1. technical loss of wallet, and 2. theft by malware:

1. Do backups and store them safely.

2. Do not install Trojans. Since they are difficult to detect, let's be as careful as possible. Do not install apps that serve no serious purpose. Be particularly suspicious of games and small tool programs. Do not installed apps that have been installed only a few times. Only install apps with high ratings. Strongly prefer apps that have been recommended by renowned publications or by somebody you can trust.

3. Always keep in mind that Android by itself is not safe. Therefore do not store large amounts on a phone, unless you take drastic measures, like not installing any other software on it.

In fact, it may be a good idea to use an older smartphone, do a factory reset, install BitcoinSpinner and either nothing else or only a few apps you consider reliable. Use that phone as your wallet and another one for all other mobile phone needs. It may be advantageous not to root the wallet phone.

I am not sure how helpful anti-virus programs on the phone are. Any information on those is welcome.

Do you consider these hints appropriate? Any other hints, anybody?
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Jan
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October 14, 2012, 08:40:30 AM
 #282

you lost your coins!

Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends.

But this can serve as a reminder that Android, while perhaps being a bit safer than Windows, is not an entirely safe operating system. Let us remind ourselves of some security measures against the two most common cases, 1. technical loss of wallet, and 2. theft by malware:

1. Do backups and store them safely.

2. Do not install Trojans. Since they are difficult to detect, let's be as careful as possible. Do not install apps that serve no serious purpose. Be particularly suspicious of games and small tool programs. Do not installed apps that have been installed only a few times. Only install apps with high ratings. Strongly prefer apps that have been recommended by renowned publications or by somebody you can trust.

3. Always keep in mind that Android by itself is not safe. Therefore do not store large amounts on a phone, unless you take drastic measures, like not installing any other software on it.

In fact, it may be a good idea to use an older smartphone, do a factory reset, install BitcoinSpinner and either nothing else or only a few apps you consider reliable. Use that phone as your wallet and another one for all other mobile phone needs. It may be advantageous not to root the wallet phone.

I am not sure how helpful anti-virus programs on the phone are. Any information on those is welcome.

Do you consider these hints appropriate? Any other hints, anybody?

I don't see any reason to believe that coins were lost due to a trojan. From his description it seems that he has installed an Android OS update, and that somehow BitcoinSpinner lost its data during that process. If this is the case, then BS will behave as if it was just installed and generate a new random key.

However, since he hasn't replied to my PMs or to this thread I believe that he either never lost any coins or just restored a backup.

Mycelium let's you hold your private keys private.
hgmichna
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October 14, 2012, 09:43:01 AM
 #283

I don't see any reason to believe that coins were lost due to a trojan. From his description it seems that he has installed an Android OS update, and that somehow BitcoinSpinner lost its data during that process. If this is the case, then BS will behave as if it was just installed and generate a new random key.

However, since he hasn't replied to my PMs or to this thread I believe that he either never lost any coins or just restored a backup.

My remarks were only triggered by the lost-my-coins panic message. I also think it much more likely that in this case the software update triggered the appearance of a loss. I just took the opportunity to write a more general security reminder.

Good news is that Google itself is apparently planning to deliver malware protection, but we also know that some zero-day exploits will probably be able to slip through the fences.

What would be your recommendations? Would you agree that using a possibly old, unrooted phone that gets no new software installed, is not continuously online, and is not used for things like web browsing, could be a good candidate for a safer BitcoinSpinner wallet? We are looking forward to even better solutions for fat bitcoin wallets, but what are the bits we can do here and now?

I guess it is a good idea to use your new PIN feature. If the PIN were actually used to decrypt the key, that would raise the bar for a Trojan even more, because it would then have to contain and run a key logger to get at the PIN, which is not a very easy task on Android, but probably still not entirely impossible.

What are your thoughts on these questions? After all, a successful attack against BitcoinSpinner could ruin its good reputation. Not that I consider it very likely for the near future, but some risk is always there. What can we do to hike security just a bit?
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October 15, 2012, 05:05:52 PM
 #284

Well, over the weekend I was able to recover all my BTC.  I contacted one of the individuals (my son) that sent me coins in the past, and he had my personal bitcoin address.  Using the address I was able to recover all my BTC in my BitCoin Spinner.  Since then I have made multiple backups.  Thank you all for all the help and suggestions.

BTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTCBTC
hgmichna
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October 15, 2012, 08:33:25 PM
 #285

Well, over the weekend I was able to recover all my BTC.  I contacted one of the individuals (my son) that sent me coins in the past, and he had my personal bitcoin address.  Using the address I was able to recover all my BTC in my BitCoin Spinner.  Since then I have made multiple backups.  Thank you all for all the help and suggestions.

Weird. One cannot get at bitcoins by knowing their wallet address. But at least this tells us that BitcoinSpinner was not at fault.
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October 15, 2012, 08:36:15 PM
 #286

BitCoin Spinner was NOT at fault at all!  More of an operator error then anything.
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October 16, 2012, 09:02:57 AM
 #287

I don't see any reason to believe that coins were lost due to a trojan. From his description it seems that he has installed an Android OS update, and that somehow BitcoinSpinner lost its data during that process. If this is the case, then BS will behave as if it was just installed and generate a new random key.

However, since he hasn't replied to my PMs or to this thread I believe that he either never lost any coins or just restored a backup.

My remarks were only triggered by the lost-my-coins panic message. I also think it much more likely that in this case the software update triggered the appearance of a loss. I just took the opportunity to write a more general security reminder.

Good news is that Google itself is apparently planning to deliver malware protection, but we also know that some zero-day exploits will probably be able to slip through the fences.

What would be your recommendations? Would you agree that using a possibly old, unrooted phone that gets no new software installed, is not continuously online, and is not used for things like web browsing, could be a good candidate for a safer BitcoinSpinner wallet? We are looking forward to even better solutions for fat bitcoin wallets, but what are the bits we can do here and now?

I guess it is a good idea to use your new PIN feature. If the PIN were actually used to decrypt the key, that would raise the bar for a Trojan even more, because it would then have to contain and run a key logger to get at the PIN, which is not a very easy task on Android, but probably still not entirely impossible.

What are your thoughts on these questions? After all, a successful attack against BitcoinSpinner could ruin its good reputation. Not that I consider it very likely for the near future, but some risk is always there. What can we do to hike security just a bit?

Thanks for your comments. Here are my thoughts on the topic:

Android uses a Linux OS and each app has its own user identity. BitcoinSpinner stores private keys in app-private storage. This means that another installed app cannot read the private keys just like that. Because each app has its own user identity the security model should be as safe and often safer than conventional desktop OSes (Windows and Linux, etc)
However, an app may discover and exploit a security vulnerability in Android and somehow obtain root identity. I am not sure how common that is, maybe someone else has some input on this?

If another app manages to root the device you are basically toast, but there are things you can do to prevent this and also make it harder to obtain your keys. In the end it depends on how many coins you keep on your device.
I have a cheap device that I use for storing the bulk of my BTC. I have reset it to factory defaults, I don't install anything else on it, it has a PIN, no SIM card, and I don't carry it around. Oh, and yes, I have a paper backup with a printout of my backup QR-code!

If you cannot afford an extra device or don't want to have an extra device for this purpose you can manage several wallets with one BitcoinSpinner installation like this:
Install BS and take a picture of the backup QR-code, print it on paper
Uninstall BS
Install BS a second time and take a picture of the backup QR-code, print it on paper (every install generates random keys)
Now you have two paper backups and can switch between them just by scanning a QR-code. Whenever you switch to another wallet the previous wallet is totally wiped. This dramatically reduces the window where your private key is exposed to other apps on the device.
I am working on a major feature release for BitcoinSpinner which introduces the above as a more prominent feature called transient wallets. It will be a few months before this is done.

Regarding encrypting your keys using the 6-digit PIN: I have decided not to do this as brute forcing a 6 digit password is trivial, and wouldn't give any noteworthy security. In the end it would just give a false sense of security. The PIN is there to prevent someone from picking up your device and transferring your funds in an instant.

Going forward I believe that multi-signature transactions is what is going to provide the highest level of security, also against a rooted device. I have this in my roadmap for BitcoinSpinner, but it is going to take a while.

Mycelium let's you hold your private keys private.
Richy_T
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October 22, 2012, 05:19:21 PM
 #288

There are a couple of printing solutions for android out there at the moment. I haven't looked at all at how they operate but would it be possible to hook these in maybe?

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Richy_T
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October 22, 2012, 05:33:44 PM
 #289

Never mind. There is still no real API, just some programs that can send some files to printers. Perhaps it might be possible to have a small program that you run on a PC to do the printing? I understand that's probably outside the scope of this project though.

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hgmichna
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October 22, 2012, 05:44:54 PM
 #290

Keep an eye on your security. If you pull your private keys through a Windows computer, you incur an extra risk. I consider Android somewhat safer than Windows.

This may not matter much if your wallet contains only small amounts, but why not keep it safer, if that is easily possible?

Take a photo of your backup QR code from your phone's screen and print that directly from the camera to a printer. Then delete it on the camera. Perhaps you even have an old Polaroid camera somewhere.

Even easier—take a screenshot of the QR code on your phone and print that directly from your phone through a USB PTP connection to a printer. I've never tried that, but I believe that is one of the purposes of PTP connections, as provided by Android 4.
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October 22, 2012, 06:14:31 PM
 #291

I'm trying to think of the simplest, most direct way to print. The "Copy to clipboard" only copies the text, not the QR code itself. The ZX barcode scanner allows you to generate a QR code from text which you can then share. The Brother printer driver installs itself as accessible from the share menu. I think we have a path.

I'm tempted to suggest that Bitcoin Spinner have a share option on the QR codes but that makes the security side of me want to freak out (accidently post your public key on facebook?). Possibly should be there for the public Bitcoin Address though.

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October 22, 2012, 06:56:19 PM
 #292

I am happy to make a Dutch translation for the app. Where can I get the relevant source material for translation?

Like this post? you can tip me (BTC) 1LGi2DMhectdFSkBid5srrnHk8WHgD3V1d or very WoW (Doge) D9p6FZQb1sKkq9hApy4tnjSduYfdnc74bb
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October 25, 2012, 10:37:45 PM
 #293

Anyone tried running on the desktop using:
http://www.bluestacks.com/

I can't get bluestacks to even install on Win7 64bit!
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November 14, 2012, 12:53:08 AM
 #294

I think I have a very minor bug with regards to the home screen.  The QR code for address has the top and bottom clipped, like it is zoomed in too far for the small address area.  The full screen address QR code displays properly.  Anyone else have this problem?

BitcoinSpinner 0.7.3b
Android 2.3.6
Galaxy Note GT-N7000
hgmichna
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November 14, 2012, 07:17:54 AM
 #295

I think I have a very minor bug with regards to the home screen.  The QR code for address has the top and bottom clipped, like it is zoomed in too far for the small address area.  The full screen address QR code displays properly.  Anyone else have this problem?

BitcoinSpinner 0.7.3b
Android 2.3.6
Galaxy Note GT-N7000

Yes, I have that too, on a Google Samsung Galaxy Nexus with stock Android 4.1.2. Didn't mention it, because I consider it a minor beauty issue. But yes, it should be fixed over the next couple of years. Smiley
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November 14, 2012, 07:55:26 AM
 #296

Yes, I have that too, on a Google Samsung Galaxy Nexus with stock Android 4.1.2. Didn't mention it, because I consider it a minor beauty issue. But yes, it should be fixed over the next couple of years. Smiley
Grin

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Jan
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November 14, 2012, 07:58:07 AM
 #297

I have been very quiet lately and there is a good reason for that. I have been busy rewriting the server backend for BitcoinSpinner from scratch.
Previously the server relied on BitcoinJ. BitcoinJ wasn't really meant for managing thousands of wallets, and since it keeps all transactions related to the addresses it manages in memory I have had some scalability issues and hefty server costs due to memory consumption.

The new server is written totally from scratch by me, I have been working on it full time for some time now.
It has a very low memory foot-print, but very high storage demands. This makes it a lot cheaper to operate, and allows me to run redundant copies.
It does no longer require to know bitcoin addresses or bitcoin public keys before transactions to them occur. This is because the server can tell:
  • The balance
  • The unspent transaction outputs
  • The transaction history
of any Bitcoin address in the block chain in real-time. Basically like blockchain.info

This paves the way for new interesting BitcoinSpinner features going forward, such as:
  • Importing keys (vanity)
  • Observing wallets
  • Multi signature transactions
  • Offline-transactions

The server backend is ready for production shortly.

Mycelium let's you hold your private keys private.
pazor
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November 15, 2012, 09:02:33 AM
 #298

h jan,

thank you for your effort.

what will happend if the server is not reachable ?
will the bitcoin spinner app has also a malfunction ?
can i have access to my bitcoin wallet and bitcoins ?

what is happend in this case ?

regards
pazor


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November 15, 2012, 09:44:56 AM
 #299

Hi Jan,

Are you planning on open sourcing or at least providing the server to selected individuals so that redundancy can be achieved by community effort?
Jan
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November 15, 2012, 10:03:37 AM
 #300

h jan,

thank you for your effort.

what will happend if the server is not reachable ?
will the bitcoin spinner app has also a malfunction ?
can i have access to my bitcoin wallet and bitcoins ?

what is happend in this case ?

regards
pazor
Thanks for asking. These are VERY important questions.
You can always start BitcoinSpinner and export your private key (Settings -> Advanced -> Export private key). Even if the server is down or you have no internet connection. The exported private key is on SIPA format and can be imported in various other wallets.
This functionality has been there since the earliest versions.

Mycelium let's you hold your private keys private.
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