Wallet.dat and BitCoin

foreverrising, June 29, 2011

With all the panic over the last week with the first http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2011-061615-3651-99BitCoin Trojan;, BitCoin wallet theft and such (think “Information superhighway robbery :P ), I thought it best to ease some folks into backing up thier wallets.

First, it is unwise to surf the internet on a machine with your BitCoin client’s wallet on it (more so if you use Windows). Second, there are many ways to encrypt and obfuscate a file that it makes little sense to take no action. That part is up to you, although hopefully it will be easier to secure in future versions of the BitCoin client. The most you’ll need to know is that the file you need to back up is wallet.dat. The location of this file is as follows:

Windows XP:
C:Documents and Settings[USERNAME]Application DataBitcoinwallet.dat

Windows Vista & 7:
C:Users[USERNAME]AppDataRoamingBitcoinwallet.dat

Ubuntu/Linux:
/home/[user]/.bitcoin/wallet.dat

Mac OSX:
/Users/[user]/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/wallet.dat [unverified]

Now, you will want to copy the wallet.dat to a secure location and encrypt it. Further insight on this topic can be found at the BitCoin Wiki article, Securing Your Wallet.

Other possibilites include running nothing but a BitCoin client in a Virtual Machine, such as VirtualBox, or VirtualPC (which is free to use from Microsoft). In this case, you could run the client with nothing but a LAN host adapter.

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One thought on “Wallet.dat and BitCoin”

  1. Kevin Jung says:

    I also wrote a little Windows app that pretty much automates the process. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s nice and quick and allows you to encrypt when not in use, then decrypt when it’s time to run your Bitcoin client. https://sourceforge.net/projects/walletcrypt if anyone is interested. Uses SHA1-512. I use it all the time, makes life a little easier than manually moving files around and encrypting them all the time. Source is included if you don’t trust my binary.

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