It’s widely known that hardware wallets are amongst the safest ways to secure cryptocurrencies and now with the recently exposed Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, it has become critical for cryptocurrencies users to secure their holdings.
A hardware wallet is a special type of bitcoin wallet which stores the user’s private keys in a secure hardware device, isolating these from a computer or smartphone which are easily hackable.
They have major advantages over standard software wallets such as being immune to computer viruses that steal from software wallets, they can be used securely and interactively as opposed to a paper wallet which must be imported to software at some point, and much of the time, the software is open source, allowing a user to validate the entire operation of the device.
In the first days of 2018, published research revealed that nearly every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years contains fundamental security flaws, with specific variations on those flaws being called Spectre and Meltdown. If exploited, these flaws allow attackers to get access to data previously considered completely protected.
But according to major hardware wallet manufacturers, these devices are immune to Spectre and Meltdown attacks. Here are some of the most popular and safest hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies available in the market:
Ledger is a provider of security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications. The French company develops a variety of products including the Ledger hardware wallets line.
Ledger Nano S is a light multicurrency hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies. The device has a USB format and features a small screen for payment validation. It costs 79€.
Ledger Blue is a user-friendly wallet designed with a touchscreen. It can be connected via USB or Bluetooth (BLE) to a computer or any smartphone. It costs 229€.
Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue support dozens of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, ZCash, and Litecoin. The devices have unlimited capacity.
Ledger announced in a blog post earlier this month that its products, Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue, are immune to Spectre and Meltdown attacks – even if the computer is compromised.
Ledger products are not vulnerable to the latest Meltdown & Spectre attacks. More technical details available at https://t.co/veWMlgcdnt
— Ledger (@LedgerHQ) January 4, 2018
Created by SatoshiLabs, Trezor is the oldest hardware wallet on the market and likely the most reputable one as well. Trezor is an easy to use and intuitive device that allows users to make transactions.
The device is designed to protect users’ private keys from possible online and offline risks. Trezor supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash, Dash, NEM and Ethereum, among other cryptocurrencies. The device costs 89€.
Trezor has also announced its hardware wallet cannot be affected by Spectre and Meltdown.
Pavol Rusnak, the chief technical officer at Satoshi Labs, the parent company of Trezor, said:
“As more people are asking: @TREZOR is not vulnerable to recent Meltdown and Spectre hardware attacks, because it has processor not affected by these. Also our firmware is always signed, so the device never runs untrusted code. Using a hardware wallet is now more important than ever.”
Keepkey has similar features to Trezor and the Ledger hardware wallets.
KeepKey is a USB device that stores and secures users’ cryptocurrencies. It comes with a recovery feature that utilizes a rotating cipher to restore private keys with a BIP 0039 recovery seed. This means it is not necessary to store your private keys on Keepkey: the recovery process is secure enough so that Keepkey can be used as a transaction device for paper wallets.
Keepkey works with the wallet software on users’ computers by taking over the management of private key generation, private key storage, and transaction signing.
It supports a wide variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Namecoin, Ethereum, and Dash. Keepkey currently sales for US$129.
Featured image by Wit Olszewski via Shutterstock.com.