John McAfee’s Bitfi Crypto Hardware Wallet Drops ‘Unhackable’ Claim After Reportedly Getting Hacked via a ‘Cold Boot Attack’

Siamak Masnavi

On Thursday (30 August 2018), Bitfi, the maker of John McAfee's cryptocurrency hardware wallet, announced that it had hired an experienced security engineer "who is confirming vulnerabilities that have been identified by researchers", and that it had removed the 'Unhackable' claim from its branding.

The Android-powered Bitfi wallet was first announced on 19 June 2018. What made it interesting, in addition to the involvement of John McAfee, the creator of the world's first commercial antivirus software (McAfee Antivirus), was its support for privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero (XMR).

At the time, McAfee had this to say about the Bitfi wallet:

“Of all today’s elaborate and sophisticated methods for making wallets secure and easy to use, surely none is as epic as that of the new Bitfi wallet. Several of my competitors have pioneered innovative methods to protect private keys, but Bitfi pulled out all the stops to ensure that the private key can never be obtained by illicit means. No other hardware wallet has ever been built to this level of sophistication."

And Daniel Khesin, a co-founder of Bitfi, said:

“The radically innovative Bitfi wallet, grew out of desperate need to find a completely secure and convenient storage solution so that we could drive rapid adoption of decentralized blockchain assets... Intimately involved with the cryptocurrency revolution, we sought to develop the ultimate instrument that would be the last word for the problems of storing and interacting with cryptocurrency and other digital assets. Early prototypes so astonished various users (like John McAfee) who share our passion for cryptocurrency that, through simple word of mouth, many crypto enthusiasts were soon clamoring for a Bitfi wallet of their own. This demand led to our formation and the filing of numerous patents for over two dozen breakthrough features.”

The Bitfi wallet, which costs $120, went on sale on 25 June 2018.

On Thursday (30 August 2018), Saleem Rashid, one member of a team of security researchers that has been looking for vulnerabilities in the Bitfi for the past several weeks, claimed on Twitter that the team had come up with a "cold boot attack" through which it was possible to steal all of the crypto funds stored in an unmodified Bitfi wallet.

Around 40 minutes later, Bitfi made the following announcement on Twitter:

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