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Basic Bitcoin security guide
Hello, This post is to give you a quick introduction into Bitcoin security. While nobody can guarantee you 100% security, I hope to mitigate some problems you can run into. This is the “20% of effort to get you to 80% safe”. First of all, you have to determine how much money you want to hold in Bitcoin and how much effort are you willing to put in. If you are happy just holding a few dollars worth and don’t care if you lose them, that’s one approach to take. For everyone else, lets get started. Password strength A lot of the times how secure your money is will be determined by the strength of your password. Since in the worst case scenario we are talking about someone trying to brute force your wallet, casual online passwords are too weak. Under 10 characters is too weak. Common words and phrases are too weak. Adding one number to a password at the end is too weak. Moreover, you can consider your password much weaker if you:
use it for multiple online logins (especially if the site could’ve been hacked)
use a common phrase or words (song lyrics are bad)
If you want a really strong password:
Use a trusted website that creates a set of random words offline. For example, CarbonWallet. Go to that website, unplug your Internet, hit random button a few times, write down 10+ of these words, restart your computer, memorize them, destroy the paper once your done. This should make your password pretty strong.
If you are extra paranoid, you have to get creative. Do something with your password that you can remember - maybe add some numbers at the end, do some substitutions, capitalize some letters and so forth. As long as you are not removing words or changing unique words for more common ones, personalizing or extending your password can add more security.
Wallet security Now we are getting to the meat of things. There are a number of wallets available to store your hard earned bitcoins. If you have a decent amount of coins to store, you should look into software wallets - BitcoinQT, MultiBit, Armory or Electrum. They are among the best place to store your money safely (provided your computer is secure as well). Chose one you think best suits you, install it and encrypt your wallet file with your strong password. You should take your wallet file and back it up (location of the file is different for different clients, so you have to do some research as to where to find that file). Back it up on a CD, safe USB drive or the like. Keep them safe. If you lose that file, you will lose your money. A quick word on deterministic wallets. Electrum and Armory allow you to create wallets from a seed. If you use the same seed later, you can recreate your wallet on other machines. With deterministic wallets, you only need to keep that seed secure to have access to your money. In comparison, in BitcoinQT's traditional wallet, every address you use is random, meaning that after you send 50-100 outgoing transactions your backups can be obsolete. Always keep an up-to-date backup of such wallet file if possible. Okay, sometimes you need to have your Bitcoins with you when you leave your computer. In this case, you should look into either online or mobile wallets. A staple for both of those is Blockchain.info, but there are others to chose from. A good rule of thumb with these is to not store more money in them than you can afford to lose. They are best used as a convenient way of accessing some money, not storing your savings. Online wallets are especially vulnerable to their servers getting hacked and people’s money getting stolen. What to keep in mind while using online wallets:
Use a secure password (the more money you have in them the stronger the password should be)
Always keep a backup of your wallet in case you need to recover your money
Whenever possible, enable two factor authentication
Don’t use your online wallets from unsafe computers
Cold storage Sometimes you want to store your bitcoins for a long time in a safe place. This is called “cold storage”. There are a few ways one can do this. First of all, paper wallets. They are nice for giving people small bitcoin gifts, but also for long-term storage if properly used. What you want to do is generate and print them offline. You can save the linked page for example and run that offline. If you are really paranoid, you can put it on read-only media and access that from a different computer. For really long term storage, use archival-grade paper. Another approach to take is using a separate computer for storing your money that is offline 99+% of the time. You could set one up easily by buying an old laptop, reformatting it, installing Linux and a Bitcoin client. Generate an address on that machine and send money to it from your main wallet. Depending on how paranoid you are you can connect that computer to the Internet afterwards to synchronize data with the Bitcoin Network and then turn it off and put it away somewhere safe until it’s needed. Brain wallets Don’t. They are not for you. Unless you are a security-conscientious programmer, those are not for you. Diversifying Keeping all of your eggs in one basket is never a good thing. You should look into diversifying some of your Bitcoin assets in case your other storage methods fail. Some ways you can diversify:
Buy a physical Bitcoin. As long as you trust the coin creator such coins can be an effective cold storage
Invest - I wouldn’t recommend this for more than some trivial amount unless you know what you are doing, but investing in some Bitcoin stocks could be a way to get more money out of your bitcoins
How not to diversify:
Avoid keeping your bitcoins at exchanges or other online sites that are not your online wallets. Such sites can be closed down or disappear along with your money.
Alt-coins - there are few cryptocurrencies that are worthwhile, but most of them are just Bitcoin clones. If a currency brings nothing new, it’s worthless in comparison to Bitcoin. Namecoin is a distributed domain name server (although recently it had a fatal flaw uncovered, so be warned), Ripple is a distributed currency exchange and payment system. Litecoin will only be useful in case Bitcoin’s hashing algorithm gets compromised (very unlikely at this time). Beyond that there are few if any alt-coins that are a worthwhile way of diversifying.
Accepting payments and safety We’ve covered safe ways to store money, now a quick note about bitcoin payments and their safety. First of all, when you are sending a transaction, pay your fees. Transactions without fees can take forever to propagate, confirm and clear. This can cause you a lot of stress, so pay your fees. Secondly, when accepting large Bitcoin payments (say you want to suddenly cash in a gold bar into bitcoins), wait for at the very least 1 confirmation on those transactions. 6 is best, but having even 1 confirmations is a lot better than having none. This is mainly a rule of thumb for the paranoid (I wouldn’t be doing this for most casual transaction), but maybe it will save you if you are dealing with some shady people. Wrapping up... That should cover the basics. If you want to read more about Bitcoin’s security in general, here is my master thesis on the subject. A lot of questions about Bitcoin and security have also been answered on Bitcoin StackExchange - be sure to check it out. Comments and improvement suggestions welcome. EDITS:
Before I go on this is an affiliate review. I know, but hey it pays for my TV and weed. I'll be as subjective as possible. Explain my setup and describe my wife. Background I'll start by saying that I'm in the UK. So this is very much a local review for local people. we mostly watch using LibreELEC (KODI) and VLC Player. All IPTV traffic leaves the house via a dedicated ubuntu openvpn gateway, connected to private internet access and using the london exit point. Free to air HD UK channels are delivered via a satellite card and TVHeadend. Quality control of the IPTV service is in part down to my wife and how much she grumbles about her viewing pleasure being anything other than perfect. Believe me when I say that on more than one occasion over the years I've thought 'fuck it just pay murdoch'. Packages They offer 2 basic packages. Sport and Premium with a free adult bolt on should pornhub not be enough. Premium also comes with a fairly comprehensive VOD service and 3 day catchup. Sport starts at £7 a month and Premium will see you pony up £10. They offer multiroom for £5 per extra connection. I buy it in quarterly increments with multiroom which is £25 (£35 w/multiroom). Credit/Debit card only via WorldPay I'm afraid, no paypal or bitcoin. Sports Package Channel List - http://docdro.id/uhy655g Premium Package Channel List - http://docdro.id/djh8zhL VOD Content - http://docdro.id/uTlwVor Compatability All the usual. .m3u & Xml combo for KODI, VLC and various other players plus a dedicated KODI app. For android they have their own app or you can also use perfect player if you need an EPG. It's also MAG, Dreamlink and enigma compatible but I dont own any of these so cant really comment on the experience with them. KODI Config I created a fairly comprehensive guide to setting KODI up with IPTV Simple Client and the Ace KODI addon which you can look at here http://docdro.id/nH85UJp As i mentioned above if you can combine your IPTV with FTA via either Freesat or Freeview from TVHeadend it'll really improve your experience. You'd be surprised at how much FTA my mrs watches. I Don't Give A Fuck About That, Whats The EPL Like? This is not my area of expertise. I can wax lyrical about the F1 but I've only watched few football games for the reasons of this review. Ace have struggled recently. Thats been pretty well documented here, twitter and Facebook. They didnt help themselves by telling their customer base that issues had been resolved and they they wouldnt need a VPN. My personal experience. watched Swansea/Newcastle on the 10th FHD which was OK. KODI booted me off the stream and I couldnt get back on one for a couple of mins. I suspect that was KODI shitting itself. I watched the rest of the game in VLC which was spot on. Then on the 17th after the F1 I tried to watch Chelsea/Arsenal. this was the week that Ace told uses they wouldnt need a VPN. Well I had a VPN and it was dire. Just constant buffering. last weekend Brighton/Newcastle and it was fine. The only thing I noticed was that the quality on the FHD didnt appear to be as good as normal. I'm sure a bunch of people will jump onto this with their opinions and if football is your thing you'll do well to listen to them. What I suspect has happened is that a recent influx of customers plus their anti blocking measures has caused their servers to buckle more than I little. Will they resolve this? No idea but if you're in the UK get a bloody VPN will you, regardless of who you choose. You are going to need it......Eventually. I Don't Give A Fuck About The EPL, Whats The F1 Like? The F1 has been spot on. Every session. Practices, Qualifying and Races. I watch them all. I've had to intervene and restart the channel 3 may 4 times over hours upon hours of viewing. I think one weekend the FHD channel didnt have a picture to go with the audio but I watched the on the next HD one and it was fine. Mayweather Fight? For some inexplicable reason I was up at 4am that morning and thought I'd pop it on. Watched it on the FHD until mcgregor entered the arenA and for a few minutes the whole service went to shit. Eventually got on the last HD link. It was far from HD but I got the Mrs up and we watched it from second round all the way through. Enough With The Sports, Whats It Like For Normal Telly? This is where my mrs comes in, she'll watch any old tut. we're talking you're, golds, ITV's, Livings, Alibi's and food. All that crap. Above all else she cannot help but watch the movie channels even though we have access to practically every film ever made. I rarely get a complaint and this is from the woman who once told me 'I cant watch ANY TV because the guide is an hour out'. thats what we're up against here. Fortunately Ace's EPG is pretty good for UK content. It's usually accurate although it does wobble from time to time. Once you get out of the UK channels it starts to get patchy. I've moved all US/CA and UK movie channels into one group in the m3u and I've noticed that shes been watching some US ones from time to time but its often accompanied by a comment about the EPG being out. A Bit About Bitrate This varies massively. having a flick through at the moment. Entertainment channels running between 2000-4000k mark on HD labeled channels (720p) and between 3000-7000k on the FHD sports channels. These jump around all over the shop and can vary at given time. Catchup? Catchup is useful but not without its faults. There are currently 47 UK channels 31 of them being HD. It covers all the main sports and entertainment channels. there are an additional 28 US/CA channels. It seems to work pretty well. You dont wanna hit the seek or the pause button when you're watching it as that often kills it or puts it in a loop. This is what my wife complains about the most. If the EPG is out it can be a mare to find what you want and it seems they need to rebuild it from time to time. Usually you get three days catchup. Bored now, Conclusion As I don't watch the football, Ace is more than good enough for my families needs. The UK channel lineup is pretty extensive and we find watching everyday TV just fine. It does have a freakout from time to time outside of the football but these tend to be just little random things and it comes with the territory. If I was starting out and a massive footy fan then I probably wouldnt choose Ace right now. Infact if I was a football fan in the UK looking for any service I wouldnt consider it without having a VPN in place first and even you may struggle at some point. Heres my affiliate link should you have found this article helpful https://ace-tv.co.uk/aff.php?aff=103 If you still fancy giving them a punt but think my review is pants then heres a normal link http://ace-tv.co.uk s1n
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