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2020-01-20 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 211 references Ignore this thread
Live By The Byte, Die By It
[Comments enabled]

Peter Schiff has claimed that he has lost all of his Bitcon.

No, he claims he did NOT forget his password -- rather, his wallet has been corrupted in some way and while he has the correct password, it doesn't work and can't be fixed.

This is one of the big problems with encrypted systems -- they're encrypted you idiot!

Take a GELI encrypted disk.  It has a password (and an optional key file.)  But on the front of the disk is also a block of data that is necessary for the password to work.  If that block is damaged -- even by one bit in the wrong place being a "0" where it should be a "1" (or vice-versa) the password is useless.

There's nothing you can do in such an instance.  For this reason you must know what the potential "gotchas" are in this regard and you must take steps to mitigate that risk (e.g. by copying the file elsewhere on some sort of basis so if it gets damaged you can at least get some of the contents (as of some given date) back.

This is, fundamentally, the same reason you make backups.  When I used to run MCS before it was an Internet company we did, among other things, computer and cabling installations.  We would occasionally get calls from someone who was either a client or wanted to be one with a tale of woe about how their disk was unreadable and they had their entire company on that machine.

They either had no backup at all or had never verified that the backups could be restored.

In virtually every such case some and sometimes all of the data involved was just flat gone.

There was nothing I or anyone else could do about it at that point.  I was brutally honest with folks that called with that sort of problem -- I was happy to, on a billed-hour basis, come and try to "save the day" -- but the odds were terrible, frequently 100:1 against that I'd be able to get all the data back, and every hour spent trying was one we were going to get paid for, with a retainer up front.

Why a retainer -- in good funds -- up front?  Because a good part of the time when that happens to a business the firm fails and your invoice is toilet paper.

Yeah, it's that bad.

Oh well.

Did you learn anything from this experience Peter?

If so what was it?

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