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After I install the bitcoin client, what are the risks of browsing the Internet? Can my wallet be stolen?

Are there any known viruses/websites etc....?

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Money can now be stored in a single file inside your hard drive. This is a natural target for criminals so yes, there are virus that steal bitcoins.

If you trust a third party (like an ewallet) to hold your coins, you will not have to worry about wallet stealing virus nor about wallet security. Instead, you should protect your login credentials and/or use a two-factor authentication mechanism. Treat your e-wallet account the same way you treat your e-banking account.

I don't know of any dangerous websites, but there was a report of a bitcoin trojan by Symantec on June 2011.

  • Honestly I'm not sure I would trust an ewallet except for one in a major exchange like mtgox or tradehill, and even then, as was shown a short while ago, they are not truly secure either, and just make a more juicy target. – Evil Spork Sep 4 '11 at 21:04
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Yes they do exist, your best bet is to create a secure wallet . That link goes to another question about how to create a secure wallet.

  • 1
    Since there are circumstances under which it's unreasonable to use secure wallets, it's also good to follow standard security practices with regards to antivirus, firewall, etc. I recommend any virus scanner with the ability to sandbox unknown applications (such as Comodo), effectively isolating them from your wallet. – David Perry Aug 31 '11 at 4:11
  • I personally keep 3 wallets, a 'savings' wallet, which is very secure, only stored on encrypted media, off my computer. A public facing wallet, which keeps my primary spending cash and recieving accounts, and then a pocket change wallet that is on my android phone.. admittedly I've only used it once, but maybe someday! – Evil Spork Sep 4 '11 at 21:06
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Yes, and they are more dangerous than they first appear

Consider the situation that a wallet stealing tojan infiltrates your computer/smartphone. All it has to do is make a copy of your wallet.dat file (or equivalent) and send that copy back to base. It can then safely delete itself since it has completed it's mission.

Now comes the dangerous part.

Over the course of time confidence in Bitcoin grows and you make the fatal error of not securing your wallet and start to keep larger and larger sums of Bitcoins in it. Years may pass. Eventually, the person who now has a duplicate of your wallet (a black market in trading these duplicates may arise) may decide to cash out. All you see is that a very large anonymous transfer suddenly occurs out of your wallet and into theirs. You'll be completely powerless to prevent or recover these losses.

So, make a secure wallet.

  • This does not answer the question. – Buckhead_Comp_Ser_Co Sep 1 '11 at 4:21
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    Also you're missing the fact that the coppied wallet will only contain addresses created at the time of theft. 100 addresses down the road, and that coppied wallet might well be useless. – Evil Spork Sep 4 '11 at 21:08

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