How to import your Bitcoin wallet.dat into Blockchain.info

This how-to is primarily for new users of Bitcoin who download the Bitcoin QT wallet client (the one from Bitcoin.org - sometimes called the Original or Satoshi Bitcoin Wallet) and get stuck waiting for days downloading the entire block chain history before they can access their Bitcoins.

So if you downloaded Bitcoin QT, got a wallet address, ordered Bitcoins and then find that your Bitcoin wallet still has 90% of the block chain history to download, and if you don’t want to continue waiting, because that 10% already took half a day, then this is a way to get access to your Bitcoins quickly.
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Encryption and Cryptography for Children

This post started as an attempt to explain OpenPGP in as simple and non-technical way as I could. Considering my MaD CryPtoSKillz, simple and non-technical OpenPGP should have been the only possible option. As it turned out, it could also be long. This post was actually only the introduction to the introduction after the first introduction.

Understanding Encryption and Cryptography as a Child

When I was a kid, I remember watching a movie with a friend. I don’t remember specifically what movie it was. Maybe a Bond, Romancing the Stone (or the other one), Goonies. Come to think of it, I have no idea. It could have been a book. Regardless, I remember being inspired by some type of media to play a game in the vein of Cops and Robbers and Cowboys and Indians, but with spies and stuff.

In the game I was some sort of secret agent who made secret notes using invisible ink to secretly exchange with my friend, also a secret agent. Our secret notes needed to have invisible ink so that if the bad guy (also invisible) somehow (somehow = temporarily turning off god-mode for the sake of drama) managed to get his hands on one of the secret notes, he wouldn’t be able to read it (yeah, that doesn’t actually sound like turning off god-mode - shut up!).

Writing on paper with lemon juice, letting it dry to invisibilityĚ, then heating it with a candle or clothes iron to reveal the text, is a very basic form of encryption.

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How to Earn Free Bitcoins

Updated: 13 June 2013

This how-to will show you how to earn free bitcoins.

There are a number of sites that exist that enable you to earn bitcoins for free or by completing basic tasks. The amount of bitcoins you can earn is usually very low, so these sites are generally designed for newcomers to Bitcoin.

These sites are extremely important to the Bitcoin community, as they provide an easy way for newcomers to get their first bitcoins without the need to invest anything other than time.

List of sites to earn free Bitcoins

Recently added:

Been here for a while:

Network marketing / Multi-level marketing sites

  • Pyramining.com -¬†Bitcoin mining service where you borrow / rent hashing power for a return. Also with a limited¬†network marketing aspect.

 

If you know of any other sites please leave a comment and we will add them to the list. Also let us know if you find any dead links.

Update for links: We will not approve comments with shortened URLs, nor comments with links to other lists if the list is full of links with shortened / paid URLs (these are painfully slow if they even work at all and like the regular shortened URLs, we don’t know where they take people).

We are sorry to say that we will not publish any comments with links for pyramid schemes or scammy sites. Network marketing / multi-level marketing is okay as long as it actually is network marketing. For an explanation of the differences between network marketing / multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes / ponzi schemes, see the Wikipedia entries for Multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes and this walk-through article with pictures.

 

Thanks to:

John, Gok, Israel Lev, Fay, Morbid, sergi

Creating an Offline Bitcoin Wallet

In this “How To” I will walk you through the process of creating an¬†offline¬†Bitcoin Wallet using the¬†original¬† Bitcoin-Qt wallet by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Steps for creating an offline bitcoin wallet

  1. Open the folder that contains your wallet.dat file
    • For Windows users: Go to Start -> Run (or press WinKey+R) and run this: %APPDATA%\Bitcoin
    • For Linux users: By default you Bitcoin should be here: ~/.bitcoin/
    • For Mac users: By default you Bitcoin should be here: ~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/
  2. Back up your wallet.dat file to a secure location
  3. Move your origional wallet.dat file out of this directory
  4. Start the Bitcoin client
  5. The Bitcoin client will automatically create a new wallet.dat file and a new address
  6. Copy the address and save it in notepad
  7. Encrypt the wallet with a secure passphrase
  8. Close the Bitcoin client
  9. Go back to the Bitcoin folder
  10. Move the new wallet.dat file out of this folder and store it somewhere safe. I suggest making multiple backups of this on multiple media types. I.e. CD, SD Card or a portable hard drive
  11. Move your old wallet.dat file back into the Bitcoin directory
  12. Run the Bitcoin client
  13. You can now send bitcoins to the address you copied down and they will be securely stored offline

How secure is my password?

Over the ¬†years it has been drilled into us that we need to create complex and difficult passwords in order to keep our digital information safe. As a result we have been conditioned to create passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to hack. Having a password that is difficult¬†to remember often leads to people writing their password down so they can remember it, which defeats the purpose. However in most cases people just create a basic password like “simple12″ that can be easily hacked in a matter of minutes.

How to hack a password

The process involved in hacking passwords is unfortunately very simple and generally involves one or more of the approaches below.

  1. Ask for it:

    The most common way to gain access to someone’s password is simply to ask for it.

  2. Guess it:

    Many people use password that are easy for them to remember, like pet’s names, their date of birth, or the street they live on. If you know the person these can often be easy to guess.

  3. Brute-force attack:

    This is very simple to do. A hacker simple uses a program that goes through every combination until there is a password match. E.g. if your password is ‚Äúfun‚ÄĚ the software will attempt to sign in using aaa, aab aac‚Ķ until it reaches fun and unlocks your password.

  4. Common word attack:

    This is method where the hacker uses a program that attempts to open your password using commonly used words rather than different combinations of characters. The program will run through this list of common words like ‚Äúfull, frank, frost‚ÄĚ until it reaches your word ‚Äúfun‚ÄĚ. This attack will often contain list of common passwords and subtitles as well, like replacing the letter ‚Äúa‚ÄĚ with ‚Äú@‚ÄĚ or the letter ‚Äúe‚ÄĚ with ‚Äú3‚ÄĚ. It will also add numbers to the beginning or end like ‚Äúfun123‚ÄĚ or ‚Äú2fun‚ÄĚ

  5. Dictionary attack:

    This is the same as the common word attack however a dictionary attack contains a list of all dictionary words (there are about 500,000 words in the English language). Dictionary attacks often combine a number different dictionaries in many languages.

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Internet Privacy Tools

Internet privacy is a growing concern for many users. We have now entered into a time where almost everything we do and say on the internet is tracked by individuals, companies and of course governments. Many people do not care about what is being captured about them, but as we know, knowledge is power and power corrupts.

In this article I will cover what tools can be used to keep what you do and say on the internet safe from prying eyes and ears.

Email

Using standard email is like sending a postcard in the mail. The information is all there for the owners of the email client to read any time they please. Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), is open source software created by Phil Zimmermann in 1991 and is now the global standard when it comes to point-to-point encrypted email.

Hushmail is an OpenPGP-compatible web based email platform that does not store your user password for decryption.

Chat

Encrypting your chat or instant messaging is just as important as encrypting your email messages. Cryptocat is an open source instant messaging platform that lets you have private conversations online. Messages are encrypted before leaving your screen and are protected from being viewed by any third part.

There is also Off-the-record messaging (OTR) which uses a cryptographic protocol to generate new key pairs for every new chat.

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How to Make a Secure Bitcoin Wallet

This ‚ÄúHow To‚ÄĚ is designed for the serious investor who has a significant¬†amount¬†of bitcoins and wants to make a secure Bitcoin Wallet.

First of all, the safest wallet is your own wallet. Any serous amount of Bitcoins should not be stored in an online wallet (eWallet). To get your own wallet you can download one from here:  https://sourceforge.net/projects/bitcoin/

Before you download and install this wallet however, you are going to want to make sure that you are installing it on a machine that has not already been compromised. The best way to do this is to download a copy of Ubuntu LiveCD.

Steps for creating a secure bitcoin wallet

  1. Download Ubuntu LiveCD
  2. Download the Bitcoin client of your choice. I recommend the Bitcoin-Qt client.
  3. Create a live-CD or a bootable USB with Ubuntu LiveCD
  4. Boot your freshly created OS, and install the Bitcoin-Qt client on it
  5. Once you have installed the Bitcoin client it will generate your addresses for you, and with them, the corresponding wallet.dat file
  6. Save your addresses somewhere or if you have to, write them down manually (these will be used to send bitcoins to your secure wallet)
  7. Optional step: If you want you can now encrypt you wallet.dat. This should be done with a password that is highly secure. [email protected] is not good enough (you can test the¬†strength¬†of a password here:¬†https://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx). If you do encrypt you wallet.dat file then don‚Äôt not forget your password or your bitcoins will be lost forever.
  8. Copy you wallet.dat file and save it to an off line media. USB stick, CD, compact flash etc. (I suggest making multiple copies of this file because if you lose it your bitcoins will be gone for good)
  9. DO NOT COPY THIS ON TO THE HARD DISK OF YOUR STANDARD COMPUTER! If you do this, you have defeated the purpose of  this process and you will not have a truly secure wallet
  10. Place your backups of the wallet.dat files somewhere secure and safe. I keep one of mine in my home safe and the other in a safety deposit box.
  11. Now shut down the Live CD OS and there will be no trace of your walled.dat on your hard disk.

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