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On almost any Bitcoin-QT tutorial I notice people recommending to:

(step 1) back up your wallet.dat before adding a passphrase.
(step 2) Add a passphrase and copy your new wallet.dat to a USB ....
(step 3) Write down on a piece of paper the used passphrase .

Isn't (step 1) problematic?

Say I copied wallet.dat prior to adding a passphrase and just dumped it somewhere on my computer or god forbid on a USB and the USB gets lost or computer is hacked, wouldn't an obtained wallet.dat prior to adding a passphrase, will grant access to the new (and thought to be passphrase secured) wallet?

  • Where did you read this? – Luca Matteis Nov 13 '13 at 22:21
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I presume the reason for step 1 is to protect you from losing your Bitcoins in case you later discover that remembering your passphrase is beyond you. If you understand the relative dangers and conclude that not keeping a backdoor around your new passphrase is the right way for you, I suppose you could try skipping step 1.

  • Ok, so my assumption was correct, right? i.e: wallet.dat prior to setting a passphrase can still let someone access your wallet even if on a later occasion a passphrase was set on that wallet ?! – Ami Nov 14 '13 at 6:44
  • Well, yes, before the data in it (esp. the private keys to your Bitcoin addresses) is passphrase-protected, it is not passphrase-protected yet. – pyramids Nov 14 '13 at 7:02

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