My early retirement plan. Security in finance. – Updated 25th April 2017

Spend £1000 and buy 1 bitcoin today, then wait on it for 10 years for a possible $1,000,000 return on investment. As it’s just a simple change of currency, e.g. £ to BTC, you can get your money back into a real bank account whenever you like. No early withdrawal fee, total control of the money including no interference from authorities, banks or legal cases. Little to no risk in trying this from my point of view, and considering the payback potential, it’s probably worth a gamble on. I remember 10 years ago when 1 BTC was only £1 to buy. Check these articles online for information about the future of bitcoin being worth millions in years to come:

http://groa.st/bitcoin1

http://groa.st/bitcoin2

Thinking about this with long term security, you won’t ever lock yourself out of your bitcoin wallet when you need it the most. You may want to pay off debts, buy a nice house, or retire early.

Early retirement sounds nice to me, and I believe it can happen 😉

Here is a good site to buy bitcoins with, and it even comes with a free bitcoin wallet for you to store your bitcoins in. http://www.BitPanda.com – I signed up in 10 minutes, and verified my identity to a live agent via my laptop webcam, holding up my passport to my camera rather than have to scan documents and upload any files. Really easy to do.

My security advice that you can take or leave, your choice, is don’t forget to write down on a piece of paper the details of your chosen wallet website, and on that same piece of paper – your wallet ID, your wallet password, any 2nd password if you set one, any PIN number needed to withdraw coins with (some wallet sites have them) and write down your 12 given english wallet password recovery words, which can be used to get into the wallet easily later if the password is forgotten or lost. Add anything else relevant in writing to your bitcoin information and you will easily keep those bitcoins you own safe for 10 years, when you might decide it’s time to cash them in. Make it fool proof. It needs to be for something this valued. You can also write the amount of BTC in the bitcoin wallet, and you can spread your BTC over several wallets if you want to, either using different wallet sites or a different email address per wallet you have. Write down each separate wallet’s login details on a separate page, or write them into a paper notebook. I recommend storing that paperwork in a locked, fireproof safe or a bank safety deposit box if you can afford to rent one. Use a waterproof bag to store it inside, as floods, burst pipes or weather could make the writing unreadable. 10 years is a long time to protect the information against any possible disasters. I don’t trust a USB device or a CD/DVD media with the wallet details stored electronically to be readable in another 10 years due to temperature, damp, corruption by magnetism or electricity. Paper and pen is still a good old fashioned winner for me, but you may have your own methods.

For the best wallet security, turn on the 2 factor authentication option which sends a code via SMS text message to your mobile that you have to use along with the wallet ID and wallet password, as it makes it very difficult for someone to hack into your wallet unless they also have your mobile phone number. I would only recommend doing this if you will always be keeping the same mobile phone number, or you will have to contact the bitcoin wallet site’s customer support if the mobile number saved in your wallet is ever lost or changed later. Another tip is writing down the 2 factor manual add code for use with the Google Authenticator app (if the 2 factor authentication you chose for added security relies on an app not a text message), so that if you change, damage or replace your mobile phone, you can still authenticate from the new upgraded phone. If this code is not known, it’s a call to their technical support before you are able to login, so it’s worth not getting caught out by this.

Here’s a tip for sticking with the same mobile number – Get an easy to remember mobile number from http://www.ebay.co.uk and search for “Gold Numbers”, some are easier than others, easiest numbers are usually more expensive, but not always so it’s worth a good look at the different sellers, numbers and prices first before buying, as often I found some cheaper numbers can be as memorable as other pricier ones.

I changed my difficult to remember contract mobile number after topping up the pay as you go (£5 or £10 minimum depending on network) gold number SIM card I had posted to me from the eBay seller. I won the bid for my SIM card at the cheapest price using an excellent e-bay sniper free buying tool at http://www.goofbid.com You will never lose another eBay bid using this unless someone pays above your maximum price limit, and it wins it in the last 2 seconds of the bid ending, preventing others from increasing the bid amount.

I paid £42 for mine a few years ago with that ebay sniper tool, and even that buy was an investment in itself. The same number I have kept for over 3 years is now worth around £400 – £500 today. It seems that easier numbers are harder to find as more people use them, which pushes the price of better number combinations up.

It doesn’t matter which network operator the SIM card is with from the eBay seller, because it’s straightforward to change over the number from the unwanted network to your preferred one. Topping the Pay as you go SIM card up with minimum call credit first and then register the SIM card with a name and address, which can be anything you like if you are topping it up only once using cash at a convenience store or supermarket, with the top up card it is supplied with, rather than top it up with a bank card, just the once.

This allows you to then ask the pay as you go network customer support advisor person for the PAC code when you call them up and obtain it, usually a voice call with a real person, not automated, at least from the UK. Finally, then giving both the easy to remember mobile number and the PAC code you gained from the previous network operator, and doing this within the time limit of 30 days after first getting the PAC code generated, they will change it for you and it will be usually up and running within hours. If you have an online login for your mobile contract network provider in the form of a mobile number as a login to view the bill, you would have to ask the customer services advisor to change that number too.

As the easy number is now on my contract monthly bill, it will always stay connected as long as I pay the monthly direct debit. No direct debit details need changing to do this. I advise using contract to keep a decent number, not only because of possible lost, stolen or damaged phones and SIM cards that on a contract are always locked into your ownership, and a replacement SIM they send will have your same number, but also as the “pay as you go” SIM card service in the UK will lose the number for good after about 6 months of no calls being made from the mobile.

Contract SIM keeps it safer from number loss, which is not what you want if you paid a lot of money for a good one. If you lose the number, due to disconnection, you can’t usually get it back. I’ve asked them before on pay as you go, it was something they said they could not do for me (I’m always sure that someone with better access rights to the systems there could manage to save it, but sadly not offered as a service to the public), and stated that it goes into a pool to be reallocated later. If you want to go back to pay as you go from contract with the same number, or change mobile networks and still keep your number, make sure you get the PAC code again from the current network customer support advisor by calling them before it expires or disconnects, then re-use it with the new pay as you go SIM card or new network. Network to network usually doesn’t require a PAC code, e.g. Contract EE to Pay as you go EE can just be done with one call to EE the customer services helpline.

It’s not difficult to do this, despite it sounding complicated, you will find it really isn’t, trust me, have a go. You will find that many friends and family members can soon learn to easily remember your number without having to look it up first, and they know it will always be the same number for years to come if you manage it correctly by always getting the PAC code in time, and using it in time when the SIM, phone handset, sim size or your mobile network changes to a different provider. It saves a lot of bother when using sites with 2 factor authentication, where it relies on that website being able to send the SMS code to the same mobile number, year after year, what you want for a long-term bitcoin wallet.

The only thing about keeping the same number is to think about using call blocking apps to help you block sales calls from companies who pick up your number somewhere along the way. I fight them back with the TPS telephone preference service and a range of apps to allow me to block repeated sales calls and unwanted junk text messages coming in from unwanted numbers and coming from similar number ranges when different people from the same company try to keep contacting you to sell you something.

Sometimes I have to fight sales people to keep my number from being cold-called, and some will still get through because of their sneaky methods, different country and area codes and number ranges being used to call you from, but you can train your phone to learn for the next time, who it is that you don’t want to waste your time answering to again. Don’t let unwanted callers force you to change your number, and especially one that is worth keeping.

As for the Bitcoin investment idea;

an early retirement still sounds nice to me!

Read further for 10 good reasons why you should invest in Bitcoin now. I did, and I’m sure that I won’t be regretting it at all.

Roasty

10 Good Reasons To Buy Bitcoin Now

This part of the article focuses on bitcoin investing. In this write-up I give 10 good reasons to buy bitcoin now.

1. Price of bitcoin has been more stable than ever before

In the last 1,5 years bitcoin has shown unprecedented stability as a financial instrument. It has been more stable than ever before which has increased trust in the currency. Historically large price increases have always been preceded by a stable period and now we’ve experienced the most stable period so far.

The volatility of bitcoin price has been decreasing

During this stable period there have been times when bitcoin has been more stable than the US stock index, japanese yen or even gold. This is totally unprecedented for something like bitcoin and it is a strong indicator. It means that bitcoin is growing up as a currency and is ready for the next stage of growth.

2. Global economy is unstable

The economic situation is unstable all over the world but the value of bitcoin is not strongly correlated neither with the stock market nor national currencies. Bitcoin may in fact benefit from the collapse of the traditional economy which means that it is smart to diversify some funds into bitcoin.

In 2008 the economy collapsed due to unsustainable debt structures but what many people don’t understand is that debt has only increased since. It is possible that in this decade we will see an even larger collapse.

The world is acquiring more and more debt

In that type of situation traditional safe havens such as physical gold will likely rise in value but this time bitcoin will have a significant role. Bitcoin as a currency is similar to gold, it is scarce and can’t be created from nothing . However the features of Bitcoin are more advanced as it can be moved effortlessly to anywhere in the world.

Weak national currencies are already a great source of demand for bitcoin. The growth of bitcoin trading volume is high in countries such as China, Latin America, South Africa and based on recent reports, also in India. Due to the weak valuation of local currencies people want to exchange increasing amounts of traditional currency into bitcoin.

The worse the traditional economy gets, the better it is for bitcoin. This is why it makes sense for anyone to diversify a portion of their investment portfolio or savings budget into bitcoin.

3. The creation rate of new bitcoins is halving

In July the daily amount of new bitcoins created will halve from 3 600 bitcoins to 1 800 bitcoins. This is a fixed rule set in the Bitcoin protocol since the beginning and it activates approximately every 4 years. The next halving is estimated to happen on July 10th and in addition to the actual reduction in new bitcoins created, it is expected to have significant speculative meaning.

As you can see from the picture, most bitcoins have already been created

As a currency bitcoin is very different to national currencies such as the dollar or the euro. Bitcoins can’t be created out of nothing and the amount of bitcoins is predetermined and strictly regulated by the protocol itself. The maximum amount of bitcoins is 21 million and there will simply be no more. To this date 15,5 million bitcoins have been created.

This absolute scarcity of bitcoins is one of the biggest reasons why they are such a good investment. As the user count of Bitcoin increases, we can assume that the price of bitcoin also increases. This causes no problems for the use of Bitcoin since a single bitcoin is divisible to very small pieces. Euros or dollars are divisible to one hundredths (cents) while the smallest bitcoin unit is 0.00000001 bitcoins, which is also called a satoshi.

The halving is one of the most significant Bitcoin events of 2016 and it is accompanied by a lot of price speculation. Now is a good time to stay updated on the events of the Bitcoin world.

4. From a historic perspective the price graph looks very tempting

The current price graph of bitcoin resembles the situation preceding the great price increase of 2013 a great deal. Bitcoin had recovered from the first price bubble of 2011 and stabilised. Then we saw the largest price increase to date when bitcoin increased from 13.5 dollars in the beginning of 2013 to an impressive high of over 1 100 dollars in December 2013.

Price of bitcoin from February 2012 to February 2013
Price of bitcoin for the last 12 months

The price development of bitcoin has repeated a similar pattern many times. That does not prove the same pattern will repeat in the future but it does increase the likelihood of it happening again. The price graph now is very similar to what it has been right before the large price increases in the past. That is quite interesting.

5. Plans to get rid of cash are a gold mine for bitcoin

At least in some parts of Europe there seems to be an increasing movement to get rid of cash. The trend is increasing in many developed countries where digital payment methods have high adoption. However, from a privacy perspective cash is an important payment method and traditional digital payments methods leave a lot to be desired in that sense. Bitcoin is digital cash and any attempts to remove actual cash will increase the demand of bitcoin.

Plans to abolish the 500 € bill is only the beginning

The digital revolution of money brings significant enhancements in ease of use but it causes problems for privacy. We are in danger of moving into a police state where everything people do can be monitored. In the era of digital money and payments Bitcoin is an alternative that retains the features of cash.

It is almost certain that all attempts to remove cash will increase the demand of cryptocurrencies and right now Bitcoin is the king of cryptocurrencies.

6. The usage of Bitcoin is increasing rapidly all over the world

The amount of transactions in the Bitcoin network is increasing rapidly. More goods and services are bought with bitcoin every day. Even here in Finland there have been multiple Tesla’s sold with bitcoin. In Latin America and South Africa the growth numbers of Bitcoin usage are impressive. In China bitcoin is used increasingly to move funds out of the country. And based on recent reports the use of Bitcoin is also increasing rapidly in India.

The growth in the amount of Bitcoin transactions during the last 2 years

In the real world Bitcoin is used much more than any other blockchain project. Other projects such as Ethereum are mainly in development stage and they are not used in the real world for almost anything. The increasing real world use of Bitcoin is a great strength and the meaning of that will only get bigger. Bitcoin is the first universal currency and that reality is getting more real day by day.

7. The solutions to the scaling issues of Bitcoin exist and are progressing

Bitcoin has been so popular that it is reaching the technical limitations of transaction processing. The Bitcoin network can only process a few transactions per second and the limit is almost up. This is a positive problem since it is a sign of the great growth of Bitcoin. The problem has caused a lot of public discussion though and it has questioned Bitcoin’s ability to evolve.

The solutions however do exist and are constantly being developed. In the coming months Bitcoin will be upgraded with an update called Segregated Witness which will increase the capacity of the Bitcoin network by approximately 80 %. This is a significant improvement but it is only a temporary fix. The long term solutions are also in development.

So called lightning network is being built on top of the Bitcoin network and already multiple different implementations exist. The lightning network will eventually increase Bitcoin transaction capacity to thousandfold. Additionally so called sidechains have been thought of as a potential method of scaling Bitcoin and sidechains are also in active development.

From an investment perspective it is smart to buy bitcoin before these upgrades are enabled since the price could rise very quickly once they are enabled.

8. New use cases for Bitcoin are found constantly

People seem to often have the wrong idea about Bitcoin. For example, people ask can I pay in the local store using Bitcoin? That is actually irrelevant. What is relevant then? Bitcoin technology enables whole new ways of trade that were not possible without Bitcoin. In this part I will go through 3 new Bitcoin developments that enable whole new ways of trade.

OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar is a decentralised store platform that enables opening your own internet shop easily and reliably. It is a competitor to platforms such as eBay and Alibaba and the engine of the platform is Bitcoin. All trade in OpenBazaar is done with bitcoin.

The advantages of OpenBazaar are diverse. The fee structure is radically cheaper than in eBay where the merchant could be forced to pay as much as 10 % every time someone buys their product. OpenBazaar is free. Additionally OpenBazaar is a free (as in freedom) platform with less restrictions than centralized platforms. Through OpenBazaar the merchants can also be found easily which makes it a great advertising platform for small merchants.

OpenBazaar has been in existence for only a short while but it already has tens of thousands of users and the merchants have been reporting that their sales have increased significantly since opening their shop in OpenBazaar.

21 API marketplace

Known for the first Bitcoin computer, 21 Inc has launched a revolutionary API marketplace. The idea is automated payments between computers. Computers can buy and sell different API’s in the API marketplace. This is a new and revolutionary way of trade.

The Bitcoin Computer developed by 21

One example of what can be done with the 21 marketplace is the paywalls of news sites. Currently paywalls are a pain in the ass, passing them requires complicated registrations, card payments and so on. Using the 21 model the user’s browser could automatically send small micro-transactions to the news site which gives access to a specific article. Micro-payments are difficult for traditional payment methods due to the fees but with Bitcoin this is actually possible to implement.

This is just one of the countless possibilities for buying and selling API access. Time will tell what kind of applications will come out of it.

Opendime

Opendime, which was recently published, is the world’s first physical Bitcoin payment stick. It is a USB stick with bitcoin value in it and it is designed for re-use. The balance of the stick can be checked at any time to verify that it holds a certain amount of bitcoins. It can be given to other parties as payment. The bitcoins can be extracted from the stick at any time but after it is done, it can no longer be given to other people as payment. This is an innovative way of using digital currency like bitcoin and it has great potential.

Three OpenDime sticks that can be loaded with bitcoin value

9. Bitcoin is getting smarter smart contracts than Ethereum

In the near future the Bitcoin blockchain will be linked with so called sidechains which allow Bitcoin to achieve much more than just monetary payments. One of these use cases is smart contracts which are believed to change the world. Ethereum is a blockchain project focused on smart contracts but what many people don’t know is that Bitcoin is getting even smarter smart contracts.

Rootstock is a blockchain project independent of Ethereum and the purpose is to copy the Ethereum model of smart contracts and improve upon it. The plan for Rootstock is to become a sidechain of Bitcoin since Bitcoin is the largest and most secure blockchain. This would be a significant improvement for Bitcoin and from an investment perspective it is smart to buy bitcoin before the official release of Rootstock is out.

10. Bitcoin market sentiment is becoming positive

The trade of bitcoins in official exchanges started in 2010 and ever since the price of bitcoin has been quite a roller-coaster ride. Trading started at approximately 0.1 dollars per bitcoin and ever since there have been multiple price “bubbles”.

The all-time price graph of bitcoin (2009–2016)

The first great bubble started in the spring of 2011 when bitcoin broke the $1 price barrier and reached a high of $32 during the summer. After that the price crashed to a fall low of around 2 dollars. It is important to note that even after the crash the value was significantly higher than in early 2011.

The next bubble, which was the largest to date, happened in 2013. In that year there were actually 2 consecutive bubbles. The value of bitcoin was approximately 13.5 dollars in the beginning of the year and in the spring it rose to over $250. After that it crashed to a low around $60 and stabilised to around 100 dollars.

In the fall of 2013 we experienced the largest bubble in Bitcoin history. The price rose in a few months from 100 dollars to a high of over 1 100 dollars per bitcoin. After the high of December 2013 the price crashed and we had to suffer a whole 1,5 years from the price correction that followed. As before though, the price stabilised to a higher level than before the bubble.

The market sentiment cycle

This type of development is natural and it is part of the so called market sentiment cycle. When the price was at 1 000 dollars, bitcoin was in the so called euphoria phase. Everyone was very emotional and super excited about the continuous price increase and more and more people wanted to put all their money in to get rich with everyone else. This is a highly dangerous time to invest though, as has been seen.

The best time to invest is when a financial instrument is in its cycle either in the bottom or rising from the bottom. Investing at the bottom is very difficult since it is hard to find faith in that particular instrument at that time but it is already much easier to invest in something that is rising from the bottom.

Bitcoin price for the last 6 months

After that 2013 bubble and the ensuing price correction bitcoin stabilised to around 200 dollars per bitcoin. The price was at the 200 dollar range for a long time, around a year. Now in the last 12 months bitcoin has more than doubled to over 500 dollars and Bitcoin is being thought of more positively even in the media. At this time in the cycle we are between relief and optimism. I think this is a good time to invest as it is not as risky as a euphoria phase investment nor is it as difficult as trying to catch the bottom.

My view of the situation is that in the next 6 months or so bitcoin is going to start a new phase of massive price increase which could lead to an increase in the price to around 10x. It is also likely that after this rise the price will go down again but I believe it will stabilise higher than it is now. It is important to understand that even though bitcoin has a lot of volatility, it has been increasing in the long term.

One more reason Bitcoin will likely succeed: There is a certain tipping point in all network dependent systems where they suddenly become infinitely more useful and valuable. It’s an exponential process where the beginning is extremely slow and frustrating but when the growth reaches the elbow of the curve it suddenly takes off.

When there were only a few dozen phones in a town the utility was low, because you could only call certain people you may not even know, thus people were not interested to buy it and learn it. But as more and more phones were added to the network suddenly calling people became a thing and transformed how we do business and organise our life.

Bitcoin is in that very early phase where only a few people have bitcoins to pay you with, and accept BTC as payment. But the % of adopters is growing steadily. There will be a point in the near future (within 2-5 years) when there will be enough people using Bitcoin that it will suddenly make sense for many individuals and businesses to start using it. This usage growth will inevitably increase the price of Bitcoin.

How Not to Lose Your Bitcoin in 2017

Are you surprised by how much your bitcoin is worth? Don’t let that surprise turn to dismay by losing it. Now is the perfect time to take a few basic precautions to keep your cryptocurrency secure.

Here are 8 do-it-yourself tips to help you improve your security:

1. Backup today

You can never say it enough: back up your wallet. If you haven’t yet backed up your wallet, do it now.

Most hardware and software wallets use an industry standard backup protocol called BIP 39 that allows your wallet backup to be 12, 18, or 24 English words.

It’s important to write the words down, on paper, in order, and securely store the backup somewhere safe from people, water and fire. If you don’t back up your wallet, you could well lose your bitcoin. Forever.

2. Check on your backups

If you have backed up your wallet, check on the backup locations.

The new year is a perfect time to check on your important papers, including your wallet backups. Can you still access them? Can you still read the words? Are they secure from fire, water and theft? If you’ve given the backups to someone else (lawyer, accountant), ask them to check their storage.

Do they still have them? Verify the location and security of your backups.

3. Set a calendar reminder

While we all know we should be checking our backups, wallets and estate plans regularly, it’s hard to remember to do it.

Add a reminder to your calendar now, to check all these things again in three, six or at most 12 months.

4. Move money off your smartphone

With the increase in the bitcoin price, you might be shocked at how much money you’ve been carrying around on your smartphone.

Now is a great time to move your coins onto a hardware wallet or into cold storage. Hardware wallets are very easy to use, with user-friendly software components, and are considered one of the safest ways to store bitcoin.

While it’s great to carry petty cash or spending money on your phone, never carry more bitcoin on your smartphone than you would carry as cash in your wallet.

5. Move your money off exchanges

If you have coins sitting on an exchange, move them out today to a wallet you control.

Most of the popular exchanges pool coins and while you have a “balance” showing on your account, you do not actually control the keys. If the exchange gets hacked you could lose your money. Remember that you only control the bitcoin if you control the keys: “not your keys, not your bitcoin”.

6. Upgrade to two-factor authentication to prevent hackers and criminals stealing your bitcoin money, with possible theft examples.

Add two-factor authentication to your bitcoin-related accounts and to all other important online accounts. The best two-factor solution is a hardware token and you can buy one for just $20–$30.

Otherwise use a smartphone authentication app, such as Authy or Google Authenticator for Android or Google Authenticator for iOS.

SMS is not a very good two-factor solution, though it is still better than none at all. I will fully explain why and want you to consider a set of possibilities of theft against you taking place, and you might think at first is a far fetched scenario to consider. That would be a big mistake to believe that people would not go to extreme lengths to steal money & not get caught in the process. They have and they will.

Wifi hacking can gain access to all devices your home router is connected to and doesn’t need a man outside with a laptop and a car anymore. Now that 4G small mobile wifi battery charged spy devices can be bought easily from any member of the public, and planted on or near to a property to get within range of the target’s router.

This enables a good amount of  wifi traffic to be remotely monitored, with something like wireshark. and then it suddenly becomes a lot less obvious to the victim, especially in their home environment with less security than they might enjoy at their place of work.

Remote control drones costing only £200 can now be used to fly into heavily protected houses and offices, and leave or pickup spying devices on the roof of a property, it’s really sneaky when technology can be bought cheaply, easily, and effortlessly used against you. It’s no longer the stories of spies doing this, hackers use these techniques now, and although many do it for fun, many willing to take the risk of getting caught do it for the easy & big financial gains.

CCTV would have to be disabled if the target used it, or social engineering methods could be used to plant such a device in an obvious way and get away with it if the hacker was prepared.

Anyone with a key for outdoor electrical meters or water manhole covers could plant one if they dressed up as a workman in high visibility clothing and pretended to write meter readings on a clipboard. I suggest to anyone to watch the 1992 movie called “Sneakers” with Robert Redford as the lead actor. It shows how easy it can be for an individual or team to break high security method if planned well and executed confidently. Being seen tampering with buildings and nearby fixtures doesn’t always mean being suspected by the target if the target believes you are authorised to have access.

So gaining access to the wallet ID and password is difficult you may think. It’s not hard with access to the target’s wifi router, especially if they are not using a VPN like IPVanish to encrypt their internet traffic, and they may also using a vulnerable operating system. Microsoft Windows is one of the easiest operating systems to bypass security of it once the network reveals passwords via wifi.

The hacker could inject a keystroke recorder for gaining their wallet ID login and their wallet password, without the target’s knowledge, and even while the target was using their computer. There are many paid for key-loggers that are ready written and sold on the web to perform this easily, and anyone can buy a copy, then immediately download it. No waiting for the physical media to install it with via post for most software products I see now.

If you can gain enough wifi traffic to get logins and passwords to different websites the target uses, you may see many of the same password being used for different systems, you may be able to get full access to their windows machine through the internet. Their IP address could be questioned by your nearby box if it has the ability to talk to their router too, with you being able to remotely send it commands. With their public IP address and their windows login and password, it would allow a hacker to install a spy program easily.

If a password vault is used by the target after a hacker manages to install a key-logger, it can give all of your passwords to an attacker in one hit, they get the login and password to your vault site, as the login and password can be sent to the hacker via email. It could be a disposable free email address like gmail, hotmail or yahoo, but more sophisticated hackers would use anonymous encrypted email addresses in high privacy countries like Norway and Sweden to escape detection. The problem with high privacy rights is the abuse of them, and the balance is in the criminal’s favour by abusing it.

Passwords sent to the hacker could include your online banking login details being handed to them over a short time. Screenshots can be taken of the user entering memorable information into the bank website, and after a few logins from the target to their bank, eventually, all of the letters of memorable information could be guessed and compromised based on frequent screenshots being collected and sent to the attacker. It’s easier than it sounds, and off the shelf products that anyone can buy achieve this with no difficulty. Parental control software is a good example of this.

Let me explain this method to gain and use someone’s 2-factor SMS:

If using SMS, prevent access to your phone by using a passcode, fingerprint or security pattern, whichever method you prefer, and also prevent the text messages being send to the screen by turning off text message notifications, you can do this and still have the phone vibrate or play a sound. If not secured, it displays the 2 factor SMS code without anyone needing your password to the phone in order to get the code. A partner or a burglar could get into your phone if you were asleep, if the phone was switched on and a fingerprint entry method like the iPhone. On the iphone, this is solved by turning the phone fully off before sleeping. The password or PIN on an iPhone must be used instead of the fingerprint when the phone is switched on from being switched off. It makes sense!

With access to your wallet ID and password, and now the 2 factor SMS code they needed as well (all 3 needed for login), this allows them to use their phone, tablet or laptop or text an accomplice with the code to perform an attack away from the target’s phone and have the SMS code they need to steal the entire contents of your bitcoin wallet. This method requires someone with close proximity to the target phone to achieve it, or use of spy software on the phone when they login to their wallet. If you logged in quicker than they did, you would get access. That method would require around the clock monitoring of the live text data from the target, and would rely on the target regularly logging into their wallet to make the surveillance viable.

Theft of the target’s phone would give the attacker a small window of opportunity (until the target phoned the mobile network to block the SIM and IMEI of the phone) to see the SMS code on screen if notification was still enabled, which it usually is by default on iPhones for example, even when they are locked with a passcode.

More sophisticated attacks against SMS authentication would be to know the user’s verbal password when calling the mobile network they are using, easy to get if the attacker knew their location. The method to get them to say their password to the network operator is sneaky too. If you used a mobile jamming device to stop or disrupt their mobile service, especially if it cut their calls off, and the attacker used a decent directional microphone to listen in to them calling the network operator to report a fault that you caused them, the network operator would ask them for their password to confirm they own that number, and usually when the target says it verbally to them, it’s obvious that word is not part of their conversation, and can therefore be recorded and gained easily by the money thief.

Once they have the password of the target person’s mobile account, they can get a SIM card sent to the wallet hacker’s choice of address, even by changing their address first if needed, stating to the operator they have moved house recently. With the same mobile number on a new SIM card being sent to the hacker’s chosen address (would not be their own address if they had any sense), and being used without needing access to the target’s location or access being needed to their phone, the hacker could use the SIM with their phone provided they had the wallet ID and wallet password.

Some mobile networks only disconnect the existing SIM card number when the new one is used, so it could be used for a quick strike. I chose a network that knocks my phone out if a new one is requested, and takes a few days to get a new one, giving me time if someone else does it to me, to call the network operator and ask them what could have happened with my account and my SIM. If an old SIM stays working until the new one is plugged in, the time it takes the target victim to phone their mobile operator and find out their SIM was compromised, it’s too late to save their bitcoins.

To get away with the theft of bitcoins, an attacker could use a temporary bitcoin wallet such as using BlockChain using fake details, in order to gain all of their money from the target wallet in one quick swoop. Then they could use a bitcoin tumbler to slowly trickle the bitcoin money using random small amounts at random minutes and seconds in time. After a certain amount of hours, the money would leave no audit trail to follow.

The destination wallet it trickles into could be a very secure and privacy protected Dark Wallet. Once there, the hacker could even go further to transfer the money between two Dark wallets, delete the blockchain account and the first dark wallet account, and keep the 2nd. My guess is that it would most likely make the money and the transactions vanish from anyone that could bring the hacker to justice for their crimes.

The end result of that, would be losing all of your bitcoins, for good and having no trace of where they went, ever. Nobody would be equipped enough to help you find them, not the police, the law, computer experts or a fraud squad team of money theft experts could save you in that situation, it’s gone. Security makes the difference between being rich and poor when it comes to this.

As bitcoins are worth so much now and can be moved in untraceable ways, they are more secure for a hacker to get away with the crime, and the criminal no longer have to steal from very protected banks dealing with paper currency, which is so highly guarded, even to the point of armed police being used to enforce it’s security, it makes it a risky life or death game when theft of physical bank notes are involved. That makes bitcoin a preferred target for criminals to deal with for their currency including the act of stealing it from others. Your security minded lifestyle will prevent you from being a victim. Start thinking like a hacker, and you will find that it’s easier to stop them, and prevent yourself being a victim of your own nievity.

7. Use a password manager

Humans are great at identifying patterns and that makes us terrible at randomness. Password best practices – choose a different random password for each site, never write them down – pose management problems.

For most people, the only way to accomplish this is to use a password manager – one which generates and stores your passwords securely on multiple devices. Popular managers include 1Password, LastPass, and the open source KeePass.

Many offer free basic services, with premium services costing less than $80 per year. They’re easy to use and in just a couple of weeks you’ll never want to be without one again.

8. Plan for your family

If something happened to you tomorrow would your family be able to access your bitcoin? While this tip takes time to implement, it’s worth it.

It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to make a plan and decide who you want to get what, write down instructions and tell your family about your plan.

Be sure to consult an attorney, to make sure your plan is consistent with local law and can’t be challenged in a court. If you have a will, trust, or other estate plan, let your attorney know that you have new assets that need to be included in your plan.

Getting your first bitcoin is becoming easier and easier, but keeping it safe from hackers, insolvent exchanges, and loss isn’t as easy.

These 8 tips will help you bring in the new year with a renewed sense of confidence that you can safeguard the bitcoin that you have, especially now that it’s worth a lot more.

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