Blockdaemon Blog

How To Secure Your Business’s Crypto Private Keys

Wallet
Dec 11, 2023
By:
Conor
Keville
&
Protecting your private keys is a 'must have'. With over $900 million stolen in 2023 this year alone, we take a closer look as to how as a business you can secure your private keys in the most effective ways.

Introduction

In the blockchain industry, private key security is crucial. In the second half of 2023 alone, bad actors have stolen $901 million from exchanges, bridges, and DeFi protocols. In November 2023, Meir Dolev, co-founder of the cybersecurity firm CyVers, posted a major contributing factor for these losses: "$773 million of $901 million lost was due to wallet access control issues." This statistic highlights the large financial risks caused by inadequate private key management.

As institutional blockchain adoption expands, the need to protect private keys grows. This trend is part of blockchain's broader expansion into various sectors, from capital markets and beyond. 

Protecting these keys is not just about securing assets. Secure private key management is key to maintaining trust for businesses and users alike. 

Private Key Leakage: The Multi-Million Dollar Problem 

Blockchain technology offers a secure, transparent way to handle transactions. At its heart is the private key

The private key creates a verifiable digital signature. This signature tells the blockchain to release digital assets on-demand from the wallet by the owner. The corresponding public key is open for all to see. It shows where digital assets should go or where they came from. Keeping the private key secret is crucial. Anyone with the private key can sign off and move digital assets from that wallet to another.

Leaked private keys expose wallets to unauthorized access. This can result in large financial losses. The Raydium and Wintermute cases highlight the urgent need for strong private key security in blockchain.

Private key security is a pressing issue, as demonstrated by significant breaches in recent times.

Case Studies: Raydium Protocol & Wintermute

Raydium Protocol

In December 2022, Raydium Protocol faced a major security incident. A trojan virus compromised their private key, leading to the loss of $5.5 million from their liquidity pools. This breach was a result of malware gaining access to the private key, showcasing the vulnerability of even sophisticated platforms to such attacks.

This incident is part of a worrying trend in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. In 2022 alone, DeFi platforms suffered losses exceeding $2.5 billion due to exploits like these, underscoring the gravity of securing private keys.

Wintermute

Another case is the Wintermute hack. Here, a private key leak led to a staggering loss of about $162.5 million. The vulnerability was linked to the Profanity tool used for generating vanity addresses. The attacker exploited the leaked key to redirect funds, demonstrating the consequences of private key compromise.

These examples highlight a critical importance of the private key. When these keys are leaked or stolen, it poses a severe risk. According to the 2023 CyVers Web3 Security report, “Typically, you won't even know the key has been compromised until the attacker has exploited it, which makes the threats all the more dangerous.

Hackers gaining unauthorized access to digital wallets can lead to significant financial damages and reputation loss for businesses. The cases of Raydium and Wintermute illustrate this fact, and the need for robust security measures in the blockchain industry.

The Solutions To Key Leakage 

Solutions have emerged to prevent key leakage within the crypto industry. 

According to CyVers, “Multi-signature wallets are one way to counter this, and MPC wallets are another. Unfortunately, even with multi-signature implemented, protocols can still get hacked if not distributed properly.” 

Traditionally, multi-signature wallets served as an initial key management solution. However, they fall short for security-first institutions. While multisig wallets require multiple confirmations for transactions, increasing security, they can be vulnerable if not set up correctly.

MPC: The Ultimate Secure Crypto Key Management Solution 

A stronger approach to security is Multi-Party Computation (MPC) wallets. 

MPC removes the risk of a single point of failure by not having a complete key in one place. This method prevents any single individual or machine from accessing the full key, significantly enhancing security.

MPC's strength lies in its design. 

Secure Multiparty Computation (MPC) is a cryptographic method. It allows a group to jointly compute a function using their private data, without sharing that data. In digital asset custody wallets, multiple parties hold parts of a private key. They use these parts to jointly approve transactions. Their combined computation produces a single digital signature. This signature authorizes the transfer of digital assets to another party.

It ensures transaction privacy, accuracy, and fairness, even under hostile conditions. Techniques like Shamir's Secret Sharing and Threshold Cryptography are key to MPC. 

In a recent blog, A16Z have highlighted their excitement about MPC in 2024

Why Use An MPC Wallet? 

MPC safeguards custody wallets effectively. Here’s why. 

1. Resilience Against Adversaries:

   - Operates effectively even with potential adversaries present.

   - Maintains transaction integrity and key privacy.

2. Prevention of Full Key Formation:

   - Avoids the formation of a complete key on any device.

   - Addresses vulnerabilities in key management.

3. Multi-Party Approval System:

   - Supports a system where each key share holder contributes to decision-making.

   - Reduces risks of internal fraud.

4. Key Share Rotation:

   - Alters mathematical values of key shares without changing the actual private key.

   - Reduces the likelihood of key compromise without the need to change key values, which require an on-chain transaction.

5. Off-Chain Operation:

   - Enables flexible policy changes without leaving a digital footprint and enables change management and updates without requiring on-chain transactions.

   - Enhances security and privacy.

6. Comprehensive Transaction Records:

   - Provides detailed records of transactions.

   - Ensures accountability and auditability.

MPC wallets provide a comprehensive and robust solution for private key security in blockchain. They overcome the limitations of multi-signature wallets and raise the bar for digital asset transaction security.

Secure Your Business’s Private Keys With Blockdaemon Institutional WalletTM

Purpose-built for financial institutions, Blockdaemon’s Institutional WalletTM provides industry leading security, compliance, and control. This is one dashboard supporting all of your treasury, custody, staking, and tokenization management needs.

Blockdaemon Wallet supports critical differentiating features from one wallet dashboard:

  • 100% Self-Hosted (complete and exclusive control)
  • Warm Wallets (online, advanced policies)
  • Staking (directly, with policy controls)
  • Advanced Policy Engine (complete and exclusive control)
  • Cold Wallets (air-gapped, advanced policies)
  • Tokenization (directly, with policy controls)
  • Segregated Wallets (accountability, auditability) 
  • Treasury Management (enterprise-wide control)
  • Intuitive UI or API (use off-the-shelf or integrate)
  • Hot Wallets (automated controls) 
  • Regulated Custody (fully compliant) 
  • Advanced MPC Security (third-party audited, field proven)

The Blockdaemon Institutional WalletTM is the most trusted digital asset wallet for regulated custody, staking and tokenization, providing a seamless blend of user experience, security, and compliance-readiness.

Ready to secure your business’s crypto assets? Book a call with Blockdaemon today, for your tailored evaluation. 

Share
Get Started

Ready to build your blockchain business?

Fill out the form to connect with one of our product experts and learn how Blockdaemon can help you unlock the power of blockchain.

Thank you for connecting with Blockdaemon; we look forward to assisting with your blockchain endeavors.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.