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All my wallet.dats have no password. However, the internal hard disk where the "live" one is located is encrypted, and so are the offline storage devices where I have my "cold" wallet.dat.

I have known about the feature to encrypt your wallet.dat in Bitcoin Core for a long time, but never dared to do it. It feels like I will become one of those who forgot their password, even if I store it in multiple text documents on those redundant, encrypted, offline backups. I've had text files randomly get garbled many times for seemingly no reason. And it just makes my skin crawl to think of the possibility that I will one day have a wallet.dat but not be able to ever access it!

Plus, if I encrypt the "live" one, I can say "good bye" to any automation through the RPC API, which is obviously a requirement to run a Bitcoin-accepting service.

But the cold one? I feel extremely scared of it flying through my network cable away from my control. I wish I would dare to encrypt it, but I just don't. It's too scary. I'm already more than scared enough that my backup disks will fail or that I will forget the password to decrypt those! Or that they are all seized and broken into with their quantum computers.

I've spent a ridiculous amount of time worrying and thinking about my security, especially as the Bitcoin value has increased so much. Still, it feels like I'm not at all safe enough and that it's not even possible to be secure without going to such ridiculous lengths that life becomes one long ordeal.

And I don't even own lots of BTC. I can imagine how paranoid people with like 100 or 1,000 BTC feel now...

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If the computer that holds your wallet.dat file is ever connected to the internet (which it surely must be) then every second that it is turned on it is being probed by thieves attempting to break into it. If any succeed, your wallet.dat file is unprotected and will be copied and used.

If you use email or a web-browser on that same computer then every message you look at, every page you read, creates a very real additional risk that your wallet.dat will be copied and used.

You could buy a cheap letter-punch and stamp your password into a sheet of metal and store it in a very safe place. Don't store important passwords in tiny weak magnetic fields.

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  • RedGrittyBrick: "every second that it is turned on it is being probed by thieves attempting to break into it" reads to me like utter nonsense. And even if they do (automated), it takes there being some kind of horrible remote exploit for it to actually do anything whatsoever.
    – Explainer
    Jan 14 at 3:28
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    @Explainer: This is based on looking at the logfiles of my computers that act as servers. I see pretty continuous attacks on any ports exposed through firewall rules and this must mean the router's external interface is continually being probed. Simple desktop machines may a lower exposure but any full-node Bitcoin application has the possibility of being contacted by other bitcoin nodes and some of those may be hostile. Jan 14 at 18:05
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If we use bitcoin in the default way then its not much secure. We experienced this hack recently. One of our client's server get hacked but the hacker unable to transfer the bitcoins from the node, because the wallet was encrypted and the wallet passphrase/password was with client only. So encryption saved the client assets.

Few suggestions:

  • Always clear terminal history if encrypting btc wallet using bitcoin cli

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