Cybersecurity software businessman John McAfee is in the news for throwing a unique challenge where anyone who can hack the hardware cryptocurrency wallet Bitfi can get richer by $100,000.
McAfee recently became associated with this hardware wallet that retails in the U.S. for $120. You can store all your cryptocurrencies in the Bitfi wallet in the form of encryption keys.
When the user wants to add or delete any currency, the hardware needs to be connected through Wi-Fi, and by employing a combination of a secret phrase, the device’s unique identity and other credentials, Bifti can be operated.
This is the wallet that McAfee claims in un-hackable. On Twitter last week, McAfee put out an official call to action on anyone who believes they can prove otherwise.
The Challenge Explained
McAfee’s Bifti hacking challenge has other unique features too. In a normal bug bounty program, the successful people would be those coming up with vulnerabilities in software programs and the creator of the program coming to know before others so that they can be informed.
Here, McAfee and Bitfi claim there are no bugs in the wallet and the challenge is to break into the wallet and empty the currencies in it.
But this cannot be done with an existing Bitfi wallet that the hacker may own. A new one has to be bought by making an additional payment of $50.
The hacker then has to work on it and if the hack is successful, they will be paid $100,000 and the pre-loaded currencies can be for keeps.
The $50 paid by the hacker will be reimbursed too, by the company giving a secret phrase to open and claim the amount.
The significance of this is that McAfee has challenged this would end without any one person being successful. Any number can attempt and all will be paid if they succeed.
Is There a Catch in It?
The skeptics are arguing that this hacking challenge by McAfee could be more of a gimmick to make the wallet sell more. Their argument is, if it turns out no hacker is able to succeed, then Bifti stands to gain the trust of the prospective buyers and bring in more sales of the hardware. These people draw attention to the fact that Bifti is not the first wallet of this kind that the market has seen.
Another factor being pointed out relates to the condition that the challenger has to buy new wallets and Bifti would therefore know which of the devices are being worked on for hacking.
They could keep a track of these machines and ensure the hackers don’t succeed.
In any case, the very nature of the Bifti cryptocurrency wallet’s security strength lies in the rare feature of not having a private key residing on the device at any time.
It is dynamically created through a unique algorithm and it changes every time the user types the secret phrase.
Both the hacking community and the cryptocurrency investors could be watching the developments with bated breath.