The cracking of a known 12-word seed phrase in minutes prompted questions and calls for effective security measures among experts, as investors and traders become alarmed over the vulnerability of Bitcoin assets.
Bitcoin Wallets At Risk: Twitter Challenge Led To Seed Phrase Crack
A Bitcoin educator, known as “Wicked Bitcoin” on Twitter, shared twelve words in no specific order for anyone who can crack the seed phrase winning 100,000 Satoshi Bounty worth $29.
Replied to some saying there are 12^12 or ~9 trillion possibilities…this was wrong because it assumes some of the words can repeat, which they don’t. All 12 words you see were used in the seed phrase. There are 479,001,600 possible combinations…not all will be valid though.
— Wicked (@w_s_bitcoin) April 26, 2023
Andrew Fraser, a Bitcoin enthusiast, managed to decipher the sequence of the seed phrase in just 25 minutes and won himself “100,000 Sats”.
BTCrecover, available on GitHUb, is the software application Fraser used. The application determines scrambled passphrase-cracking utilities.
According to Fraser on Twitter DMs,
“My gaming GPU was able to determine the correct order of the seed phrase in about 25 minutes. Though a more capable system would do it much faster.”
He also mentioned that anyone with basic knowledge of running Python scripts, an understanding of the Bitcoin protocol like BIP39 mnemonics, and the use of the Windows command shell can crack the 12-word seed phrase. Hence, it is better to keep phrases from being published online.
The Importance of Seed Phrases in Bitcoin Security
Seed phrases are used by cryptocurrency wallets to recover their assets in case they lose access to their wallets. The wallet’s software generates random phrases consisting of 12 or more words. The likelihood of guessing the phrases is extremely rare since they are highly secure. However, the recent success of Fraser proved that this might not be an effective method.
The Need for Increased Vigilance and Better Security Measures in Bitcoin Storage
This event of deciphering the seed phrase has raised some serious concerns about the security of Bitcoin wallets. As the digital world continues to advance, it is ideal that we remain cautious and adopt best practices to secure digital funds.