Ledger Recovery Debate: Enhancing Security or Risking a Backdoor? Pros, Cons & Alternatives

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A new feature has recently stirred up the crypto community, as Ledger hardware wallet devices now offer an ID-based private key recovery service called Ledger Recovery. For a monthly fee of $9.99, users can back up their seed phrase directly to their personal identity through three different custodians. Despite Ledger ensuring that this optional and voluntary service does not impose a backdoor on its devices, many are still bothered by its effects on the wallet’s security.

Ledger’s co-founder, Nicolas Bacca, contends that “this is not a backdoor at all, because nothing will happen without your consent on your device.” Moreover, Bacca has maintained that the update does not increase hackers’ potential attack channels on Ledger wallets. However, some critics argue that just having the option of choosing the service, regardless of whether one opts in or not, could still pose security risks. They highlight the possibility of hackers exploiting the feature and how software bugs could increase the risk of data leakage.

Nevertheless, Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko believes that there is no significant change to owning a Ledger device. If users trusted the company before not to access their private keys, Yakovenko asserts that they can continue to trust them now. In his opinion, the attack surface remains just about the same.

As for which wallet to use, the decision ultimately depends on each individual user. Some users prefer paper wallets, others opt for a mobile-first approach, and many choose hardware wallets for the secure storage of large amounts of crypto. For users who decide not to opt for Ledger Recovery, there will be no changes to seed phrase management on their devices.

Several alternative hardware wallets are available, each with its unique design and security features. For Bitcoin-only users, popular options include Passport, ColdCard, and BitBox02. For all-around crypto users, Trezor, CoolWallet, and KeepKey are the main choices.

Hardware wallets are physical devices designed for secure offline storage of private keys and are considered the safest option for safeguarding crypto assets. Whether to buy one is a personal decision, but as renowned Bitcoin educator Andreas M. Antonopoulos explains, “if you have more crypto than you would be upset to lose, you should use a hardware wallet.”

In the end, when it comes to crypto custodial options, personal preference plays a significant role. Ledger CTO Charles Guillemet emphasizes that the company is and will always be “security and self-custody maxis.” While the Ledger Recovery update will not impact those who opt out of the service, the importance of conducting one’s own research before making a decision is more crucial than ever.

Source: Decrypt

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