There is now an article in the cryptocurrency community about a cryptographic researcher who has managed to break the encryption of an infozip file and return the owner of a hundred lost Bitcoins. The story begins in 2016, when a cryptocurrency fan bought Bitcoin for $ 10-15,000. He pulled the private keys of the wallets on which the coins were stored into his notebook. And so that no one could reach them, he encrypted the file.
Everything went according to plan. Bitcoin has increased its value by thousands of percent over the next few months, and the time has come to collect profits. Unfortunately, the anonymous owner of this treasure forgot the password from the encrypted file! He involuntarily pursued his coins until 2020. The economic crisis that triggered the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide, but forced the owner to do something for lost wealth.
Weakness of infozip encryption is in seed generation
So he decided to ask for the help of a professional. Mike Stay, a cryptography expert who earned his PhD in 1990 and published an article about infozip encryption two decades ago, went to work. Decrypting an infozip file is virtually impossible, but Mike had an advantage. The Bitcoin owner put down the lost coin notebook and knew exactly when the file was encrypted.
Infozip generates its seed from the timestamp, which is obtained at the time of file encryption. As a result, Mike has reduced the number of possible seeds to “only” 10 trillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000). Pohoda. Nothing that the average GPU mining farm could not handle. He eventually handed over the private keys to the owner within a few days.
It should be added that Mike Stay did not break the Bitcoin blockchain’s encryption in any way, nor did it compromise the payment system. Experts agree that Bitcoin is very safe and current technology does not allow us to break this protocol.
Millions of lost Bitcoins
So this story has a happy ending. However, everything is not so pink. Millions of Bitcoins are lost forever, according to Chainanalysis, a company that studies Bitcoin blockchain. The worst estimates even suggest 25% of the total number of coins in circulation.
Most of the coins were lost in the early years, when Bitcoin was still not much money and hard disks were much more “defective”. If you want your coins to be safe, it’s best to keep them in a paper wallet. If you send and receive cryptocurrencies more often, use a hardware wallet,