Securing Your Bitcoin – Strong Passphrases
Alright, you’ve got some Bitcoin out in the world, now what? Well, it’s good to know a few things about how best to keep your Bitcoin secure. First and foremost, ensure that your private key is always encrypted. If you’ve been using these articles as a guide than your private key is encrypted by the password that allows you into your Coinbase account. Never lose this, never share it with anyone, and, if possible, never write it down. If you choose to go with another type of Bitcoin Wallet solution you will always be given the opportunity to encrypt your private key. Again, just as with Coinbase, ensure that you use a strong password whenever setting up a Bitcoin Wallet. This is the single most dangerous part of Bitcoin, if your private key gets out of your own personal control than anyone who has it can spend your Bitcoin. If you forget your passphrase (if using non-web based systems like Coinbase) then you, and everyone else, are forever locked out of your account.
How hard is it to guess an encrypted private key with a strong passphrase? It’s hard. With the amount of energy it would require to even begin decrypting an encrypted private key you’re better off turning that computing power to mining new blocks. It would be much more profitable. Here is an account with 20,000 Bitcoin in it (at the time of this writing), that’s worth $11,530,000 (also, at the time of this writing). All you need is their private key and you can send it all to yourself, and whoever is the owner of that account couldn’t do anything about it. I, and the nature of Bitcoin itself, invite you to try.
What this means is that if you have a strong password, and you never share it with anyone or it never gets out, no one can get into your Bitcoin ‘account’ on the blockchain and send Bitcoin. So what is a strong password? Well, the sentence you just read is a pretty good one, for that matter this sentence is even better. They’re not perfect, but much stronger than a single word password. How about this instead?
s0 Wh@t i$ @ $tr0ng_p@$$w0rd?
Woah, now we’re cooking! Not the most impossible password to remember, still a little difficult, but that’s good! We want it to be difficult but at the same time something that we can remember. All I have to remember is ‘so what is a strong password?’. I replaced all S’s, O’s and A’s with $ 0 and @, the second ‘word’ is capitalized, and strong and password are joined by an underscore. A passphrase with four parts. Like I said, difficult, but memorable and most importantly strong. If I had to write this down I’d put that piece of paper in a safe or a deposit box, or I’d go with a simple PasswordCard solution. Of course, none of us are immortal and sharing your Bitcoin’s with your loved ones after you pass on can only be accomplished if the passphrase is somewhere other than your corpse, so you may want to consider this when you decide to never write you password down anywhere!
A weak passphrase or your passphrase getting out is the single strongest point of failure in Bitcoin…it’s you. So, ensure you keep everything private, well encrypted, and, as much as possible, always keep your Bitcoin in your head!
Now, you’re a little more secure, how about sign up to an online casino with some Bitcoin, and not fret about being hacked!