John McAfee’s Bitfi Wallet Bounty Goes From $100K to $250K: Hack it or Back it?
The Bitfi wallet, the ‘unhackable' cryptocurrency storage solution, has been the subject of controversy since its release early 2018. Part of the reason for this disagreement regarding the security-oriented wallet may come down to its creator, John McAfee, who is one of the leading voices when it comes to all things bitcoin and blockchain related.
McAfee has always been a long time vocal supporter of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, but has remained a controversial figure – to say the least – and has now started innovating within the ecosystem by delivering the likes of Bitfi, Cloak Phone and even a CoinMarketCap competitor, McAfeeMarketCap.com.
The crypto asset wallet has been accused by numerous security professionals of being largely unsafe. One critic reviewed the hardware behind the wallet and called it “terrible,” advising that readers steer clear of the wallet for any significant use in the cryptocurrency financial sector. McAfee responded promptly, calling the review unfair. And in order to mitigate the mounting critics of the technology behind the wallet and its security, he and Bitfi team had previously released a $100,000 bounty for hackers who wanted to try their hand at hacking the device.
Now, McAfee has come forward with both a taunt and an offer: he is increasing the bounty to USD $250,000. Any hacker that can, while following a set of rules given by McAfee’s company, hack and steal the contents of a preloaded wallet will be awarded the enormous prize. But critics continue to pile on, saying that this bounty tells very little about the actual security behind the device.
This is where we step in and say – hack it or back it – because due to the high publicity level John McAfee has, and his highly decorated public history, much of the hate seems to stem from trolls and haters of him vs the actual mechanics and dynamics of the McAfee-backed Bitfit wallet. Now, some are saying ‘Brain Wallets‘ are a bad idea and that is why they can not be hacked, but let's take a quick look and dive into some of the nitty gritty details known thus far.
Bitfi Wallet: Time to Hack it or Back it Vs Attack It
Before we get into the devil is in the details, let's start off with the should-be-known caveat of this whole is that no one is making you use this as your primary bitcoin/crypto asset storage solution. So with that being said, we ask the crypto community – isn't it time to either hack it or back it versus attack it?
Now, responding in part to the security concerns facing several sectors of the cryptocurrency industry, the McAfee Corporation came out with the Bitfi wallet earlier this year in order to provide maximum privacy and security. The wallet claims to be entirely “un-hackable,” a claim which many within the cryptocurrency and security communities have dismissed nearly out-of-hand.
The wallet is a hardware wallet, which means that it does not rely in an internet connection in order to store the public and private keys which give the user access to their cryptocurrencies. Selling for $120, it is also one of the pricier wallets around, especially compared to the hundreds of free online wallets which offer themselves to cryptocurrency owners.
As it stands, the wallet is generally open to all different types of cryptocurrencies, calling itself a “sophisticated instrument” which will contribute to the “mass adoption” of decentralized assets in the everyday economy globally. It will also have an “Outing” social entertainment and events feature which details will soon be released on it.
Let's take the liberty and search for some crypto-community feedback as there is no shortage of it to sift through which speaks volume's to John's credibility and following.
— Florian (@Marsmensch) July 31, 2018
Salt has to be 12 numbers or more so no that won't work. You also need to all the words to the seed plus you need the password and email to the. Bitfi site. Has anyone purchased one before running their mouth?
— RAW MATERIAL (@RawMaterialNYC) July 28, 2018
Update on the BitFi device so far
Most of the firmware looks just like a normal MTK phone, including:
– A Baidu GPS/WIFI tracker
– The well-known Adups FOTA malware suite
– The entire Mediatek library of example apps
– A tracker, capable of logging all activity on the device
— OverSoft (@OverSoftNL) July 30, 2018
Oh, would you look at that?
SP Flash Tool + Bitfi = firmware. pic.twitter.com/MLWv9t1pnl
— Ask Cybergibbons! (@cybergibbons) July 30, 2018
The @bitfi6 wallet will very likely have a short life.
Love @pavolrusnak decent response to "patent threats".
— Jonas Schnelli (@_jonasschnelli_) July 31, 2018
Thanks Bitfi for adding Bitcoin Private soon. McAfee is a big supporter of privacy coins and our 52,000 BTCP community members are grateful for your support Bitfi. I bought a recent Bitfi wallet and I absolutely love it. pic.twitter.com/D9ooDK8OMU
— Tommy Mustache (@MustacheTommy) July 31, 2018
Bitfi Wallet Hacker’s Challenge: $250,000 Bounty
Following the critiques of several proponents of cryptocurrency security, McAfee released a $100,000 challenge to hackers: hack and empty the contents of a Bitfi device. Though there was little interest in the project, John McAfee sought to ignite more interest in a fiery tweet where he upped the price associated with the challenge to a cool USD $250,000.
We are increasing the bounty for hacking the https://t.co/VJ7qrOxQqL wallet to $250,000. The rules require you to empty the contents of a BitFi wallet that we have pre-loaded and have sent to you. You must pay for the wallet and its contents. Rules at https://t.co/jUUVmH77Mg
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 31, 2018
But even with this challenge lingering on the PR front of the Bitfi wallet, some security experts still feel as though the challenge is an unfair front to detract from serious security flaws. One security professional commented that the rules are unfair because the Bitfi wallet is not fully open source, which limits the ability of a security professional to truly audit the security of the device.
Only time will tell whether the claims made by McAfee and his team are as absolute as they claim to be. But for now, weary investors should be careful to pour their funds into a hardware wallet with security that is seriously disputed.