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Author Topic: Setting up a secure OSX system for Bitcoin use  (Read 1263 times)
fivemileshigh
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December 10, 2011, 10:42:51 PM
 #1

Hey guys, I'm fairly new to BTC and I'd like to run my security strategy by you.

So, I'm a mac user. I want to start buying btc on  regular basis and keep them in a "savings account" Here's the plan:

Format a separate partition and install OSX on it exclusively to run a BTC client, in the role of a savings account. This wouldn't be used for spends except for testing purposes. This partition would be encrypted with FileVault and would only be booted once in a while to permit the client to d/l blocks and just a check that everything is a-ok. The wallet.dat file would be saved on an encrypted dmg and emailed to my gmail acct. I would then reboot into the normal partition and set up Carbon Copy Cloner to clone a bootable copy of the btc partition onto an SD card every time said SD card is inserted (monthly or so) (this would be done so that CCC clones the btc partition while it is encrypted, i.e. not booted)

In the meantime, Time Machine would automatically keep a normal backup of the btc partition on my regular backup disk. So, I should have a bootable backup of the whole btc drive on an SD card, another copy on the Time Machine disk, and a copy of the wallet in my gmail, all encrypted.

Does this seem like a reasonable compromise between security, reliability and ease of use?

Any other tips, what should I look into?

Many thanks in advance.

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December 10, 2011, 11:16:01 PM
 #2

Check out bitsafe.  It's a small debian based distro meant for keeping a wallet secure with multiple levels of encryption.  You can use it inside a virtual machine.

It comes as an IMG meant to be put onto a USB drive, but there are some simple command line things to install it to a VM.  You can also build the image yourself off the source from github if you want to be paranoid and not trust the distributed img.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=46916.msg633597#msg633597

fivemileshigh
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December 11, 2011, 10:39:56 AM
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Check out bitsafe.  It's a small debian based distro meant for keeping a wallet secure with multiple levels of encryption.  You can use it inside a virtual machine.

I am unfortunately not linux-savvy enough to trust myself with it. I only migrated from windows to mac 2 years ago and while I think I have a pretty good handle on the mac, I no longer have the time or the learning ability to get myself confident enough with linux to sleep well at night thinking a good chunk of my savings are on linux. I actually thought about buying one of those small netbooks with linux preinstalled and keep it exclusively for my btc savings wallet, but again, I don't know enough about linux to sleep well. In conclusion, it's going to have to be mac-based.

I actually read about another idea: get a new computer (or install mac on a fresh hdd) and keep it entirely offline. Install the client, generate a wallet, get the receive address and just deposit to it. Check the balance with block explorer. Never bring the new computer online until it's time to spend btc's. There's one problem: I need to be absolutely confident I can get the btc's out, and that means bringing it online to do a trial spend, and repeat occasionally. At that point, the computer might be vulnerable to trojans and such, right?

Thanks for the tip though, Red, I appreciate it.

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December 11, 2011, 10:46:04 AM
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Check out bitsafe.  It's a small debian based distro meant for keeping a wallet secure with multiple levels of encryption.  You can use it inside a virtual machine.

I am unfortunately not linux-savvy enough to trust myself with it. I only migrated from windows to mac 2 years ago and while I think I have a pretty good handle on the mac, I no longer have the time or the learning ability to get myself confident enough with linux to sleep well at night thinking a good chunk of my savings are on linux. I actually thought about buying one of those small netbooks with linux preinstalled and keep it exclusively for my btc savings wallet, but again, I don't know enough about linux to sleep well. In conclusion, it's going to have to be mac-based.

I actually read about another idea: get a new computer (or install mac on a fresh hdd) and keep it entirely offline. Install the client, generate a wallet, get the receive address and just deposit to it. Check the balance with block explorer. Never bring the new computer online until it's time to spend btc's. There's one problem: I need to be absolutely confident I can get the btc's out, and that means bringing it online to do a trial spend, and repeat occasionally. At that point, the computer might be vulnerable to trojans and such, right?

Thanks for the tip though, Red, I appreciate it.


How many BTC do you plan on storing in this computer?

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fivemileshigh
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December 11, 2011, 08:31:31 PM
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Enough that I'll lose sleep if I'm not 100% sure it's safe.
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December 11, 2011, 11:38:33 PM
 #6

Then how about this? https://www.bitaddress.org

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December 11, 2011, 11:45:59 PM
 #7

Hey guys, I'm fairly new to BTC and I'd like to run my security strategy by you.

So, I'm a mac user. I want to start buying btc on  regular basis and keep them in a "savings account" Here's the plan:

Format a separate partition and install OSX on it exclusively to run a BTC client, in the role of a savings account. This wouldn't be used for spends except for testing purposes. This partition would be encrypted with FileVault and would only be booted once in a while to permit the client to d/l blocks and just a check that everything is a-ok. The wallet.dat file would be saved on an encrypted dmg and emailed to my gmail acct. I would then reboot into the normal partition and set up Carbon Copy Cloner to clone a bootable copy of the btc partition onto an SD card every time said SD card is inserted (monthly or so) (this would be done so that CCC clones the btc partition while it is encrypted, i.e. not booted)

In the meantime, Time Machine would automatically keep a normal backup of the btc partition on my regular backup disk. So, I should have a bootable backup of the whole btc drive on an SD card, another copy on the Time Machine disk, and a copy of the wallet in my gmail, all encrypted.

Does this seem like a reasonable compromise between security, reliability and ease of use?

Any other tips, what should I look into?

Many thanks in advance.



If your looking for a Safe Savings account.... Keep one mac offline... and every so often put the blockchain into the offline mac... This way the Offline Mac never touches the internet... or you can manually enable a screen share (or controller if techy) and do the same... with a little more risk...

obviously backing up the offline mac's wallet.dat file each time...


Corporations have been enthroned, An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. ~Abe Lincoln 1ApJdWUdSWYw8n8HEATYhHXA9EYoRTy7c4
fivemileshigh
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December 12, 2011, 10:48:55 AM
 #8

Then how about this? https://www.bitaddress.org

I like it. I'm constantly astounded by the things the btc community seems to keep coming up with! I think I might be both insufficiently tech savvy to understand the security behind it, and paranoid enough to not trust it anyway, so I'm not going to use it. For now I will probably just do what I said in my first post and hope for the best. I will keep mulling it over though.

Now, if only I could figure out how to check my wallet balance without bringing it online.....

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December 12, 2011, 06:04:32 PM
 #9

http://blockexplorer.com/  Grin

fivemileshigh
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December 13, 2011, 09:23:54 AM
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lol, thanks again. I'm (very slowly) starting to truly get how to use that thing.  Grin
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