Ledger’s Recover Service Controversy: Unveiling Trust Issues and Understanding Security Models

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In the last 72 hours, Ledger, a leading hardware wallet company, faced a massive backlash since launching its Recover service. Éric Larchevêque, Ledger co-founder, appeared visibly upset in the CryptoCurrency subreddit and expressed his disappointment with the recent uproar surrounding the new service.

Ledger Recover is an optional subscription offering for $9.99 a month. The service entails splitting a user’s recovery phrase into three encrypted components held by Ledger, Coincover, and another third provider. The recovery process requires identity proof using a passport or a national identity card. Nevertheless, concerns have arisen over the security of users’ sensitive information, trust in centralized entities, and potential “backdoors” as a result of the new service.

Larchevêque, while no longer serving as Ledger’s CEO, shared his side of the story, claiming the meltdown as a “total PR failure” but not a technical one. He emphasized the complexity of explaining the security model to customers who possess a decreasing understanding of the technology.

Moreover, the co-founder elucidated the misconceptions about Ledger wallets being a trustless solution. He admitted that some level of trust must be placed in Ledger when using their hardware wallets. The abrupt launch of Recover service shattered the facade of trustlessness, much to users’ chagrin.

Larchevêque expressed empathy for those who were misinformed about Ledger’s security model but was critical of another group who spread conspiracy theories about backdoors. In his opinion, these individuals lack understanding of the technology and security model.

A Ledger spokesperson clarified that seed phrase extraction during the Recover process requires a signed transaction. Without it, Ledger cannot access the user’s seed phrase. Larchevêque reiterated that Ledger remains a secure option, without backdoors or forceful use of Recover service. The code in the firmware is neither malicious nor does it allow unauthorized seed extraction.

While the introduction of the Recover service may have dented Ledger’s reputation, it is crucial for users to understand the nuances of a hardware wallet’s security model. Educating customers must continue and, perhaps, one positive outcome from this situation is that it may lead to better understanding and more transparent communication for all stakeholders moving forward.

Source: Decrypt

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