Participants at various Bitcoin and Blockchain conferences have been receiving fraudulent Bitcoin hardware wallets imitating legitimate products like Trezor and Ledger to steal user’s funds.
Andrew Desantis, CEO at DeSantis Inc and former 21 Inc technology editor, revealed that participants at the New York Bitcoin conference in 2015 were given free hardware wallets designed specifically to steal user’s funds and Bitcoin.
As seen below, the fake hardware wallets did not have proper branding yet many participants who have not come across hardware wallets were convinced they were legitimate failing to recognize that they were essentially a trojan horse-based product.
Keep your Bitcoins safe
Several hardware wallets exist such as Trezor, Ledger and KeepKey that are often recommended for users storing large amounts of Bitcoin. Instead of storing Bitcoin in custodial platforms or exchanges, it is much safer to store Bitcoin in a non-custodial ecosystem wherein users have full control over their funds and private keys.
Extensive media coverage on the practicality and advantage of using hardware wallets over online Bitcoin exchanges or wallets to store Bitcoin pushed the demand for safe and popular products like Trezor.
However, when individuals see a Trezor-like hardware wallet in a Bitcoin conference without having seen an actual Trezor wallet before, they may take the free giveaway and use it to store Bitcoin. Thus, it is important for users to evaluate free products given at conferences or even products that are sold at various events to ensure that the hardware wallet or any Bitcoin-related product are legitimate.
Viva Las Vegas
DeSantis also has come across fraudulent USB miners at a conference in Las Vegas, which were freely distributed to people interested in running Bitcoin computers. 21 Inc, a venture capital-backed Bitcoin company, is well known for its signature 21 Bitcoin Computer which is used by many Bitcoin enthusiasts worldwide. Targeting this market, scammers are giving away Bitcoin computers designed to steal user funds of individuals.
One more time: On the left we have a @21 #Bitcoin Computer, very safe. On the right we have a USB miner (malware) I was given in Vegas. pic.twitter.com/us8cjhYHV6— Andrew T. DeSantis (@desantis) January 3, 2017
Whether it is a hardware wallet or a Bitcoin computer, it is important for users to acquire Bitcoin-related products through a reliable source. The best way is to order them directly from the websites or e-commerce platforms hosted or supported by the manufacturers.