The Bitfi wallet touted by John McAfee has disavowed its claims of being unhackable as research reveals security flaws. Despite this, McAfee stands by his word.
Despite claims by software maverick John McAfee to the contrary, a collection of researchers has produced evidence to discover security flaws in the ‘unhackable’ Bitfi Bitcoin [coin_price] wallet. On Friday, BBC reported the statement which was issued by Bitfi via Twitter on August 30th:
Important announcement from Bitfi: pic.twitter.com/SD4ZCJxvLn
— Bitfi (@Bitfi6) August 30, 2018
Bitfi had previously posted a $250,000 award to anyone who could hack the wallet. There was a twist to the prize, as the BBC noted. The research group had successfully revealed flaws in the security of Bitfi, but did not do so in accordance with the rules of the deal.
[…] it stated that the Bitcoin inside must be removed from the wallet – which was controversial among the cybersecurity community as often weaknesses are identified but not acted upon.
Security researchers had argued that the terms of the bug bounty programme were too specific.
In this regard, the BBC made it clear that researchers were not happy. In fact, the statement itself openly acknowledges the ‘frustration’ they faced.
On the other hand, John McAfee continues to stand by Bitfi thanks to the very terms that have angered researches:
Its selling like hotcakes. And, still, no one has been able to hack it and get the coins. Since the purpose of the wallet is to store coins, every claimed "hack" has been https://t.co/c3su0N4ibt is clearly unhackable.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) August 31, 2018
One member of the research team was Alan Woodward, a Surrey University professor specializing in cybersecurity. Woodward says that red flags were evident in light of Bitfi’s claim:
Security can be complex and the wider public rely upon vendors telling the truth […] However, there are certain signals that should immediately ring alarm bells. The worst is if a vendor claims something is unhackable as Bitfi did: nothing is unhackable.
Last month, Bitcoinist reported that images of the wallet posted by McAfee on Twitter caused quite a stir. Parts of the bare Bitfi boards were identified by users as parts that are available on the internet for roughly $35.
In the end, does the very term ‘unhackable’ not hearken back to a certain ‘unsinkable’ ocean liner? Despite the research revelations, and despite the statement, it appears that John McAfee will stick to his guns.
What are your thoughts on Bitfi’s redaction of their “unhackable” claim? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Twitter.