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Backing Up Your Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin is a digital currency and it is recommended that you keep your wallet as secure as possible. This extends to your backups as if someone gained access to them then they could use it to access your Bitcoin wallet. This guide will take a look at the various ways you can back up your Bitcoin data and see which is the most reliable.

The only file that you have to back up is “wallet.dat”. To do this, simply close down Bitcoin and copy the file somewhere else. This can be anything like an external hard drive or cloud storage service. However, it’s a file that you’re going to want to keep very safe.

Bitcoin documentation recommends that you don’t use a service like Dropbox for backing up your data. There are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, Dropbox stores your encryption key. This means that if an attacker accesses the system then they could potentially decrypt your Dropbox data and take your Bitcoins. The same issue could arise if a Dropbox employee accessed your account, although obviously you’d hope this would never be the case.

Secondly, the Dropbox client only requires a password for the first login. After it has been authenticated once then it is, apparently, done indefinitely. This means that if you change your password then someone could still access your account from another device if it has been left logged in.

If you are going to use a cloud storage service like Dropbox then it is vital that you encrypt your files before uploading them. Even if this just means assigning a secure password to the file, that’s still better than nothing. The Bitcoin client provides an encrypting method, but you can also use programs like 7-zip and TrueCrypt to get the job done.

It is recommended that you encrypt your file with a password that is at least 12 characters in length. Use a mixture of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and symbols. You can use standard words in your password to help you remember it, but make sure to have different types of characters. A strong, 12 character password is good security for your Bitcoin wallet.

Another backup method that the Bitcoin documentation suggests is to send the file (encrypted) to your email. Loss of data through Gmail is unlikely and is fairly safe providing your account has enough security measures in place.

Linux users can set up a system to have the file automatically backed up at certain intervals in time. This is a procedure that is only recommended for advanced users who understand what they’re doing. If you’re interested, you can read up on how to do this over at the {{|Bitcoin help file}}.

Hopefully this guide has helped you in backing up your Bitcoin wallet. Treat the file carefully and don’t upload it anywhere without some sort of encryption on it. Unwarranted access to the file could cause trouble, so it’s always best to carry out a few safety procedures before you go storing it anywhere else.


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