In the latest publicity stunt, John McAfee has offered USD 100,000 to hackers capable of cracking the Bitfi, allegedly the first un-hackable wallet. Hackers will also have to first buy the wallet in an attempt to hack the device.
The Bitfi un-hackable hacking contest
On the 24th of July 2018, John McAfee announced a giveaway of USD 100,000 to anybody who could hack the Bitfi, a new type of hardware wallet. Underneath the thread, commenters and would be hackers questioned the contest, quoting McAfee as previously stated that no system was un-hackable. McAfee replied with quotes that can only be described as typical of John McAfee.
“You cannot hack it, even with a quantum computer”
“At no time will it ever be hackable. I say this with certainty”
“If you understand the algorithm, you then know the impossibility of hacking it”
[Didn’t you say that everything was hackable] – “This is a new paradigm. One that I never before imagined”
“I invented the science of Cybersecurity and spent the better part of my life fighting black hat hackers. If I say its unhackable, it’s unhackable”
Many are questioning the ethos of claiming that a system is un-hackable, as every security expert understands that it is always a matter of time and information. The idea of turning passphrases into cryptocurrency keys has been often debunked by researchers. And it is really a closed box bounty environment.
This post reveals some of the serious security flaws with regard to the Bitfi wallet. A truly secure device should be un-hackable even if a hacker knows everything except the key. McAfee has set the arbitrary rules of the test, with a specific device and a specific wallet. In other words, the failure to crack the wallet is not worthy of a significant white hat professional bounty test.
But a hardware wallet that is cheaper than others, easier to use, and without requiring any technical expertise could be very appealing to the masses. This is yet another publicity stunt, and again superbly executed, increasing sales and exposure. Even the security experts calling out the fallacies of the device itself are unwittingly generating yet more attention towards John McAfee.
What is the Bitfi?
The Bitfi is said to be the world’s first un-hackable wallet, though the only person who can attest to this is John McAfee himself. The Bitfi retails at $120 and is claiming to offer a combination of security features that are better than cold storage. It is also said to be very easy to set up and use. Cold storage hardware wallets represent the ultimate in cryptocurrency security. The Trezor and the Ledger are the most popular cold storage devices commonly recommended by security experts.
The Bitfi does seem to have an advantage in one respect. It does not store the private key, anywhere. The private key is calculated every time the secret phrase is used. This is quite a significant improvement over existing wallets.
Thus far this year, McAfee has claimed that he is running for President and launched his own redeemable McAfee cryptocurrency coin. He has also said that he wants to publicly debate SEC chairman Jay Clayton and has launched a cryptocurrency declaration of independence.
Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.
Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.