Having Bitcoins stolen is a rampant problem these days and you have to be extremely careful about handling them. It’s such a problem that when a news anchor received Bitcoins as a gift, the money was stolen almost the instant they had it.
How did that happen? The news anchor had made the mistake of showing off the certificate, including the private key code which allows access to the entire Wallet, as soon as it reached his hands. A viewer had been ready and grabbed the Bitcoin price of $20 as soon as the code was shown on their HDTV.
Bloomberg TV host Matt Miller was the unfortunate victim of the digital theft as he gave one of two Bitcoin gift certificates, printed by Lazzerbee, to fellow anchor Adam Johnson. Adam immediately showed off the printed certificate, only to have his Bitcoins stolen by Reddit user milkywaymasta. The digital thief bragged about the mugging online:
“The guy that is hosting the series gave bitcoin gift certificates to the other two hosts. One of them opens up the certificate to reveal QR code of the private key. They then proceeded to show a closeup of the QR code in glorious HD for about 10 seconds. Hilarious.
“I took it, it was only $20 worth. It was exhilarating nevertheless. I’ll send it back once Matt gives me a new address since someone else can sweep the old one. A segment on Bitcoin security and the importance of NOT showing the private key and also BIP0038 (Password Encrypted Private Keys) Wallets will be more than enough compensation. Blockchain confirmation and Public key of where i sent the bitcoin.”
The Verge — News anchor receives Bitcoin on TV only to have it promptly stolen http://t.co/vUlmiq7FQM
— Tech Links (@_techlinks) December 23, 2013
Matt Miller learned his lesson with humility, letting the Reddit user keep the Bitcoins. He now knows (if he hadn’t already) that showing the private code on TV is the equivalent of showing someone with a digital camera your debit card and PIN numbers. Miller allegedly figures that if Adam Johnson didn’t know enough to avoid flashing the code on TV, he probably wouldn’t know what to do with Bitcoins anyway.
Apparently the man who had stolen the Bitcoins had been ready with a code scanner the instant it was shown on air, a trick almost anyone with a mid-range smartphone can do. The lesson here is to be careful how you handle Bitcoins or any kind of monetary information. You might not know your money has been stolen until it’s too late.
[image via Bitcoins | COLIMA MEDIOS]