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Crypto. $17,000 I Lose Here’s How to Avoid My Mistake

2014. A joke: I purchased 25,000 dogecoin. In 2021 it had briefly been worth more than $17,000 Problem was, I couldn’t remember the password. To get my money back I set out on an adventure that would expose me to hackers online, the math behind passwords and much frustration.

Although most people don’t have thousands in forgotten cryptocurrency, everyone relies on passwords to manage their digital lives. As more people purchase crypto, what can they do to protect themselves? For this reason, we consulted a number of experts. how to Make the best passwords to protect your digital accounts. If you use crypto, then what are your fundamental storage tradeoffs? Let’s dive in.

How to hack your own crypto wallet

Here are some common ways you can lose your crypto. A hard drive that contains crypto might contain a wallet you want to throw away. You might lose your password or have your exchange hacked. Your password could be lost, or your personal information might be stolen. Hackers can offer a silver lining for those who have lost their passwords, like me. If you still control your wallet, you can try to hack your own wallet—or find someone who will.

Dave Bitcoin is an anonymous hacker who cracks crypto wallets. He agreed to help break into the wallet, for his standard 20 percent fee—paid only if he is successful. Dave and the other hackers mainly use brute force methods. Basically, they’re just guessing passwords—a lot of them.

With apps such as Jack the Ripper or Pywallet, you can hack into your wallet. But I didn’t want to do it myself, so I sent Dave a list of password possibilities and he got started.

After some waiting, Dave sent me an email. “I tried over 100 billion passwords on your wallet,” Dave told me over email. It seemed like such an overwhelming number of attempts meant that my coins would be recovered. But, alas! However, the password was not compromised and I lost my coins. How?

Math Behind Strong Passwords

A password becomes exponentially more difficult to crack with each new digit. One-digit passwords can be either a number, or letter. Case-sensitive passwords have 52 letters, plus 10 numerics. It is not very secure. The password could be guess by simply trying it again 62 times. (A, a, B, b, C, c … and so on).

Give it two numbers. It doesn’t get twice as hard to guess—it gets 62 times harder to guess. You can now guess 3884 passwords (AA, Aa and AB). A six-digit password with the same rules has around 56 billion possible permutations, assuming we don’t use special characters. A 20-character password with those rules has 62-to-the-20th-power permutations: that is, ​​704,423,425,546,998,022,968,330,264,616,370,176 possible passwords. This is a lot of passwords, making 100 billion appear small.

This math was bad news for me, since I’m pretty sure I had some sort of long password, like a few lines of a song lyric. This is how you face the music.

Use Password best practices

Whether it’s for your email or crypto wallet, how can you balance creating a strong password that’s also memorable?

“Choosing passwords is tricky,” says Dave, “If you go out of your way to create an unusual password for your wallet that you wouldn’t typically use, then it makes it quite difficult for you to remember and for me to help. It’s easier to guess your password if you use consistent patterns. Of course, this is bad for security, and someone who is trying to hack your accounts will have an easier time.” Balancing security with memorability is ultimately a tough task that will depend on the individual’s needs and preferences.

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