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Author Topic: Best Practices using BTC/ Wallet Backup  (Read 5811 times)
mewantsbitcoins
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May 03, 2011, 12:53:03 AM
 #21

IF I ever have enough bitcoins to be worried about them, I will put my "savings account" wallet on a CD-R (or two) and put it in a safety deposit box (or two).

The neat thing is, you can still send bitcoins to the savings account while it is sitting in that metal box, and they will show up on your client when you get the CD-R out and use the wallet with bitcoin "2020 edition".

And then after few years your computer drive crashes, you open the deposit box just to find out, that these CD-R's are empty
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theymos
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May 03, 2011, 04:32:35 AM
 #22

doesn't Truecrypt recommend setting up a different container or volume on each of your backup sites and then separately backing up the wallet.dat into each of them?  its a pain to open and close each container.

The reason for that recommendation is to prevent detection of hidden volumes. If you don't use hidden volumes, it's not necessary.

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May 03, 2011, 04:37:53 AM
 #23

doesn't Truecrypt recommend setting up a different container or volume on each of your backup sites and then separately backing up the wallet.dat into each of them?  its a pain to open and close each container.

The reason for that recommendation is to prevent detection of hidden volumes. If you don't use hidden volumes, it's not necessary.

so just to be clear (since this is important) since i don't use hidden volumes, i can create 1 Truecrypt container for my wallet.dat and then drag and drop that one container to all my different destinations; Dropbox, Blackberry media card, USB stick?
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May 03, 2011, 04:56:55 AM
 #24

so just to be clear (since this is important) since i don't use hidden volumes, i can create 1 Truecrypt container for my wallet.dat and then drag and drop that one container to all my different destinations; Dropbox, Blackberry media card, USB stick?

Yes.

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m4rkiz
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May 03, 2011, 02:28:44 PM
 #25

sorry, i actually mean "update" those backups from time to time?

if you using it as normal wallet you have to backup it before you make more than 100 transactions, as only 100 unused keys are stored in your wallet

one key is used with every transaction and new one is added to keep total of 100 unused keys all the time

ie. if you have backup with only one transaction and you using your wallet without making backup you won't be able to access any bitcoins that you received in transaction #102, #103... etc.

that is because you don't have keys that those transactions were signed with in your backup copy (as keys were generated later than backup) - it will only contain first, used key and hundred more unused keys that will give you access to 101 transactions


if i'm wrong feel free to correct me, i'm a newbie after all Tongue
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May 03, 2011, 07:21:41 PM
 #26

I back my wallet up on Amazon S3 using Arq (http://www.haystacksoftware.com/arq/).

Arq automatically encrypts my files and backs up my changes every hour.

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May 03, 2011, 07:52:25 PM
 #27

I run my bitcoin wallet on my MacBook and I zip my wallet.dat up using "zip -e" in terminal with a 12+ character password, then I send the archive to 3 different email accounts, each protected with its own very long password.
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May 03, 2011, 08:22:19 PM
 #28

I run my bitcoin wallet on my MacBook and I zip my wallet.dat up using "zip -e" in terminal with a 12+ character password, then I send the archive to 3 different email accounts, each protected with its own very long password.

You should check that your zip is using secure crypto. The "standard" zip crypto method is known to be insecure.

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casascius
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May 03, 2011, 09:50:32 PM
 #29

sorry, i actually mean "update" those backups from time to time?

if you using it as normal wallet you have to backup it before you make more than 100 transactions, as only 100 unused keys are stored in your wallet

one key is used with every transaction and new one is added to keep total of 100 unused keys all the time

ie. if you have backup with only one transaction and you using your wallet without making backup you won't be able to access any bitcoins that you received in transaction #102, #103... etc.

that is because you don't have keys that those transactions were signed with in your backup copy (as keys were generated later than backup) - it will only contain first, used key and hundred more unused keys that will give you access to 101 transactions


if i'm wrong feel free to correct me, i'm a newbie after all Tongue

I would say close, but worthy of minor clarification.

One key is potentially used with each transaction you SEND, to receive the change back from any coins that had to be split.  If no splitting was necessary (e.g. Bitcoin client was able to satisfy the exact transaction amount without splitting any coins you have), then no key will be consumed.

I believe (but have not confirmed) that receiving Bitcoins only consumes a new key if you happen to receive BTC at the address that is displayed on the main window of the client, because that prompts the client to display a new address to replace it.  You are only at risk for BTC sent to the new address if it was generated as #101 or later since your last backup - BTC sent to any older addresses are safe.

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.
Bitfox
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May 10, 2011, 09:40:48 AM
 #30

I use the following physical method to backup and protect my wallet:

I store the wallet.dat on two SD cards, just like those used in digital cameras. Most of these cards have a switch (slider) on their side that mechanically makes the SD card "read only" thus providing write protection. So once I backed up my wallet on those two SD cards I slide the switch in LOCK position. From that moment there is no way to accidentally erase or for some malware to alter the wallet.dat on my SD card even if I insert it in an infected computer. Of course it's possible and even safer to store the wallet.dat on the SD card in encrypted form (with truecrypt or steganos safe etc.) so that even if it gets copied by an attacker/malware when inserted in a computer it can't get to its data. I use an internal card reader (an external reader will do but a little less comfortable) which means that I just have to insert the card, the windows explorer window pops up in less than one second, I backup the wallet.dat on the card which also takes less than one second and then I take the card out and slide the side switch in LOCK position, another second. So within a few seconds I have a mechanically write-protected backup which is extremely portable, reliable (especially having two cards) and cheap (any size SD card will do even 32 megs! because the wallet.dat is small) and this storage medium is also extremely common around the world.

If you like my solution and would like to donate a fraction of a bitcoin here is my address 1GkNMvnQo5njxf2hXRy7fosJE8Sh11ZRM9   
Zerbie
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May 10, 2011, 03:06:47 PM
 #31

I'm not an expert on encryption, but if someone sees that there is a wallet.7z (or what not) file in your drop box, that is a good indication that there are BitCoins to be had.  If someone thinks there are enough BTC in the wallet, they may use violence to extract your password.

What if you merged it into a picture and then saved it to your DropBox?  You could also post it across the web so if your DropBox account is hacked or you accidentally delete the contents of the DropBox, you could still extract it from the web.  Better yet, put it in a BDSM picture and drop it to rapid share or some such service.   Wink

Gota start being totally paranoid as the value of BTC keeps increasing.
mewantsbitcoins
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May 10, 2011, 04:36:35 PM
 #32

I'm not an expert on encryption, but if someone sees that there is a wallet.7z (or what not) file in your drop box, that is a good indication that there are BitCoins to be had.  If someone thinks there are enough BTC in the wallet, they may use violence to extract your password.

What if you merged it into a picture and then saved it to your DropBox?  You could also post it across the web so if your DropBox account is hacked or you accidentally delete the contents of the DropBox, you could still extract it from the web.  Better yet, put it in a BDSM picture and drop it to rapid share or some such service.   Wink

Gota start being totally paranoid as the value of BTC keeps increasing.


http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=plausible-deniability

Plus you can name your file whatever you like e.g myporn.avi
bitjet
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May 11, 2011, 04:22:04 AM
 #33

How about creating an 256bt encrypted self extracting file with 7z with a 24character alpha-numeric pass. Renaming the file whatever you want then seding it some where...

should be fairly secure no?
Jaime Frontero
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May 11, 2011, 05:21:34 AM
 #34

the unfortunate reality of digital backups is that they are all quite delicate.

CDRWs can lose data in as little as two years.  sending a file to a huge online presence is tempting - after all, AOL is immortal, right?

magnetic media?  well... there's magnets.

as far as i'm aware, the best and most durable/convenient method of archiving data that humans have yet devised is...  the LP record.

weird, isn't it?
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May 11, 2011, 06:22:46 AM
 #35

the unfortunate reality of digital backups is that they are all quite delicate.

CDRWs can lose data in as little as two years.  sending a file to a huge online presence is tempting - after all, AOL is immortal, right?

magnetic media?  well... there's magnets.

as far as i'm aware, the best and most durable/convenient method of archiving data that humans have yet devised is...  the LP record.

weird, isn't it?
It's really odd, but you're right.

I'd say the next best thing is a physical magnetic HDD stored in a sealed firesafe in a temperature and humidity controlled firesafe.  It wouldn't hurt to also put it on an SSD, a USB thumbdrive or five (hey, they're cheap!), CD-R's and DVD-R's just for the heck of it.  Email it to several different websites/email addresses, and make note of what those websites/email addresses and passwords are on a sheet of paper placed in the firesafe.  Also, print out the raw ASCII of the file, just in case.

I would also copy the data many times over on any given backup medium, provided there is space for it.  That way, if you end up having a large some of money tied up in it, it would be worth it to get some forensics analysis done on the drive to recover the data if none of the files were intact.  If the data is repetitious, then whoever is analyzing it can more quickly piece it back together.  Just grab the good bits from here and there...

I wonder if there's anyone who provides some sort of digital storage that is 100% failsafe.  I mean, they have backups of backups and more backups, several offsite locations for said backups that are both online and offline, and switch between the two.  Backups on many different types of digital storage mediums.  Printed backups.  Backups in nuclear bunkers.  Etc, etc.
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May 11, 2011, 06:26:31 AM
 #36

as far as i'm aware, the best and most durable/convenient method of archiving data that humans have yet devised is...  the LP record.

How long does an LP last? I'm aware of a data archiving method that can last for millennia (though it really should be copied after a few centuries), and it isn't vinyl records.

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Jaime Frontero
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May 11, 2011, 07:51:38 AM
 #37

as far as i'm aware, the best and most durable/convenient method of archiving data that humans have yet devised is...  the LP record.

How long does an LP last? I'm aware of a data archiving method that can last for millennia (though it really should be copied after a few centuries), and it isn't vinyl records.

really?  what archiving method is that?  [that is accessible to we regular folks.  none of asimov's notched molecules, now...]

i have LPs that are pushing 80 years old, and they're still good.  decent vinyl lasts a *long* time.  with a laser turntable and appropriate software, damn near anything can be recovered.  the bass player from the grateful dead has been working on that stuff for years.

since my post, it's occurred to me that some kind of blending of nano-fiber and good old-fashioned computer punch tape might be a good candidate...

but seriously... millennia?  talk to any long-term archivist (which is *not* the subject under discussion:  we're talking about our own lifetimes, right?), and he/she will tell you that the big problem with archiving past 100 years is the playback technology, not the recording media.  we've got a metric crapton of data from the NASA moon landings that is essentially lost, because nobody remembers how to build the machines to play any of it back...
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May 11, 2011, 05:57:46 PM
 #38

as far as i'm aware, the best and most durable/convenient method of archiving data that humans have yet devised is...  the LP record.

How long does an LP last? I'm aware of a data archiving method that can last for millennia (though it really should be copied after a few centuries), and it isn't vinyl records.

really?  what archiving method is that?  [that is accessible to we regular folks.  none of asimov's notched molecules, now...]

i have LPs that are pushing 80 years old, and they're still good.  decent vinyl lasts a *long* time.  with a laser turntable and appropriate software, damn near anything can be recovered.  the bass player from the grateful dead has been working on that stuff for years.

since my post, it's occurred to me that some kind of blending of nano-fiber and good old-fashioned computer punch tape might be a good candidate...

but seriously... millennia?  talk to any long-term archivist (which is *not* the subject under discussion:  we're talking about our own lifetimes, right?), and he/she will tell you that the big problem with archiving past 100 years is the playback technology, not the recording media.  we've got a metric crapton of data from the NASA moon landings that is essentially lost, because nobody remembers how to build the machines to play any of it back...

Plain old ink on paper, sheepskin, whatever. Or carvings on stone. Those can last for hundreds of thousands of years if kept dry. Maybe millions. Smiley

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bit691207
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June 07, 2011, 10:35:12 PM
 #39

Read carfully the TOS of Dropbox. They encypt the data after you sent it to their server. So, if the US Government requires them to hand over your files without encryption, they will do what they are told to do. (Remember Twitter handing over information of Wikileaks supporters?)

That is why I use Wuala. It is based in Switzerland and encrypts the data on your disk before sending it to their servers and the cloud.
So there is no way they can decrypt your data. Even if required by any government. Only you can decrypt the data.

http://www.wuala.com/referral/47FBG5BHAJHKJ7M54FMJ

This is my referral link. I get aprox. 500 MB free and you get 1 GB free.
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June 07, 2011, 10:40:42 PM
 #40

I send all my bitcoin that I receive to an address generated from a wallet that I do not advertise, which I put in an encrypted volume, copy several times, and store in different places.

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