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Bitcoin wallets, including many mobile and all hardware wallets, are often backed up with a recovery seed word phrase which anyone can use to recover those wallets. Cryptoseed uses strong cryptography to turn your seed phrase into something no one else can use.
The Problem With Seed Word Phrases
A recovery seed word phrase typically comprises 12 to 24 words right out of a dictionary. Keeping it offline in this format may be safe from hackers but not from people who come across it physically and know how to use it.
“Writing down your BIP32 recovery seeds on plain paper might be solid electronic security, but terrible physical security,” explains Arlen Anderson, Cryptoseed developer on his project page. “Not everyone has a safe they can keep stuff like that in.”
Cryptoseed is an open-source desktop application for Windows and Linux, with OSX on the way. It is currently available for all to download and inspect the code on Github. Anderson explained:
Cryptoseed encrypts your recovery seed with AES256 and encodes the encrypted data into a QR Code which you can print out and keep anywhere.
How to Encrypt
After a quick download and installation from Anderson’s Github page, opening the app will give you a simple black box asking you to input a seed and a password. Recovery is impossible without the password so be sure to choose something you will remember.
After carefully typing in your seed and adding your password, clicking the ‘encrypt’ button will make your computer crunch the phrase for a moment. It will then give you an encrypted seed with a QR code to download for holding your seed in PNG format.
Either the encrypted seed or the QR code file will recover your wallet, just as the original seed phrase does.
Recovery is the same process in reverse, using either the encrypted seed or the QR code. After inputting the encrypted seed and password, clicking ‘decrypt’ will recreate the old seed word list. At press time, recovery from a QR code is not supported in the app so users will have to scan the QR code using a different app.
Once decrypted, the original seed word list is back and can be used just as before to recover your bitcoin wallet.
How Secure is Cryptoseed?
Unless stored in a fireproof safe or using Cryptosteel, Cryptoseed will not protect your seed phrase from a fire. However, it does add a valuable layer of security against theft.
Both your password and recovery seed are “encrypted with the Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) mode of the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 256-bit key length,” according to Anderson.
Cryptoseed then generates the final seed with other randomness included and processes it all together one million times with SHA512 hashing. Due to all the randomness, “encrypting the same data with the same key will yield a different result every time,” he added.
The real danger is losing your password which, if lost, the seed would be lost forever. For added security, Anderson also suggested using Cryptoseed on an offline computer so no keyloggers nor other spyware can steal your seed.
Do you think Cryptoseed is useful? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Cryptoseed
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