A Costly Mistake - Why Protecting Your Seed Phrase and Private Keys Matters

19 Oct 2023

This video is based on the real story of a YouTuber who accidentally displayed his Metamaks wallet seed phrase and private keys during a lifestream.
And how one of the viewers took advantage to restore the wallets and transfer the crypto assets to his own account.
Please, if you have time, have a look at the video, consider the whole situation, and learn from it.

A 3-second mistake. This is all what it took.
It happened to him. A veteran crypto user and investor.
And do not entirely discard that, maybe not the same, but some unforeseen accident can also happen to you.
But, like wearing a seat belt, we can all take precautions to prevent such accidents.

Seed Phrases and Private Keys Obfuscation Systems

Writing down the Seed Phrases and Private Keys in a Word document, and storing it in a computer, has several downsides.
But, let's assume that the streamer had his own good reasons, that we don't know about.
Still, if you are in a similar situation you could use some system to keep your seed phrase, private keys, passwords, login details... safe from accidental disclosure.
For example:

  • You could use an encryption system so that even if exposed, your data can remain safe for enough time for you to take steps toward securing your crypto assets. We explain a couple of systems in the video above, but there are many other handy ways to encrypt information. 
  • Or you could use a Canary token, as a trap for anyone who is able to access your computer. This system can be used for both remote intrusions (e.g. malware) or direct intrusions (e.g. someone who has direct access to your computer). 

For more information, please have a look at https://cryptosafetyfirst.com/canarytoken/

  • Or you could divide your seed phrases, private keys,... in half and store each half in a different device.


What Works for You, may Not Work for Others

While there are many systems to protect the seed phrases and private keys to our crypto wallets, the personal situation of each person must be taken into account:

  • What works for someone living alone in a house or a flat, may not work for someone sharing a household with some mates. For example, keeping login details in a hidden notebook.
  • What works for someone who has a safe box at home, may not work for someone who has not one. For example, keeping a paper wallet.
  • What works for someone with enough resources, may not work for someone with limited resources. For example, purchasing a hardware wallet.

With this, at Crypto Safety First we want to emphasize that we should not judge other people who have run into a hack, scam, or accident. But to empathize with their situation and provide support, when possible.
Thanks for reading. We hope that you have found the information useful and educative.
Please, let us know your opinion.
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Article originally published at: https://www.publish0x.com/@Crypto-Safety-First

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Great Write up. And what a mistake to make! Takes "not your keys not your crypto" to the next extreme
If you are going for self custody then read this piece
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is important because it significantly increases the security of a network and provides the foundation for securing all internet-connected things. PKI is a core component of data confidentiality, information integrity, authentication, and data access control.
Such mistakes definitely has great lessons for us. We must ensure that keep such secrets very near to chest for the safety of our assets. Seed phrases are keys 🗝️ !!
Always protect you backup phrase
I've learnt the hard way the way not to store your passwords and anything discrete. By placing them in a note. A digital note. lol. It wasn't stolen, but I've lost it since it wasn't stored in the cloud and deleted the app by accident. It was heart breaking to know that some of my cryptos are somewhere I can't remember where. Thanks for the reminder.
Safeguarding your seed phrase and private keys is paramount in the world of cryptocurrencies. It's the linchpin to keeping your digital assets secure.
I am super paranoid about this. Password storing and saving is an issue that has to be fixed. Self-custody of your items is empowering but stressful at the same time. Maybe this is another factor that is pushing adoption. Nonetheless, I prefer to keep custody of my items instead of leaving them in the hands of centralization. And the YouTube streamer situation is sad, but we have to be focus 24/7. feel sorry for him. But even in companies, leaks happening, because of "well-timed" (in this case bad-time) photos for example, displaying devs lines of code or sensitive info.
This was a great article. I learned this the hard way a long time ago. My life would be extremely different if I took care of my seed phrases when I first started dealing with Crypto. I also realized I can not dwell on the past and just learn from my mistakes. I think it is best to keep a little notebook somewhere safe where you write down all of your seed phrases. You can also keep them on an encrypted drive. The encrypted drive takes a little extra work and know how but I think it is worth having just for anything digital you need to keep password protected. Looking forward to your next article.
When withdrawing money from wallets, the verification code must be sent to the phone via SMS or Google Authenticator for extra security.
I really enjoy your article. Thanks for sharing
great post
Here's a wild idea... was this actually a mistake? Or was it a planned marketing exercise? The YouTuber in question was able to get in touch with the hacker very quickly and negotiated a large chunk of the assets to be returned. It seems so crazy they were even exposed a private key of a wallet with so many assets in it on a video about safety. It plays very well into their channels' themes and was wildly shared as a result.
Backups are always important, thanks for sharing