Password Strategies: The Good, The Bad, and The World’s Worst

Do you remember the first online password you ever used? Chances are it probably wasn’t all that secure. Fast forward to today, there’s no shortage of credible, easy to digest information about safe passwords and online security available. In spite of this, the use of weak password strategies still continues to prevail.

To help ensure your passwords do their job as your first line of defense, we’re here to explain how valuable a strong password strategy is and show you common weaknesses shared by the world’s worst, most horrible, no-good, very bad passwords. Did we mention they’re downright despicable?

Illustration showing the results of weak password strategies on the left and strong password strategies on the right

 

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All About Pairing Codes: Do’s and Don’ts

We recently touched on security best practices, but wallet security is so multifaceted that it’s often tricky for us (and not-so-helpful for you) to pack all the best tips into one overloaded post.

Beyond your wallet credentials, there are other important bits in your wallet that you should never share. This time we’ll be covering wallet pairing codes, which allow you to seamlessly pair your web wallet to your mobile device, and vice versa. For do’s and don’ts about pairing codes, read on.

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Proactive tips to keep your wallet secure & funds safe

Security is a top priority at Blockchain. Our team have a variety of safeguards in place, and we’re dedicated to ensuring the platform is secure at all times. As a noncustodial wallet, it’s also equally important for us to explain best practices that leave you feeling confident about wallet security and being in complete control of your funds. So, to further boost your wallet’s resilience, new and experienced users alike can use the following proactive security tips.

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The recent phishing trend and wallet authorization basics

Recently, a phishing trend that’s attempting to mimic our wallet authorization emails has been making the rounds. To help users distinguish between what’s legitimate and what’s not, this post will serve as a primer on wallet login attempts, how the process works, and how to outsmart phishers.

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Security mantras to swear by

So far, 2017 has proven to be a bullish year for bitcoin indeed. And as it shoots for the moon, it’s unfortunately common to see an uptrend in malware and phishing attempts that leave you with an empty wallet. In this post, we share best practices that will help fortify your online security arsenal. Read on to find out how you can increase your safe browsing IQ.

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Privacy Enhancing Tips for Bitcoin Users

As a noncustodial wallet platform, we’re big on privacy and empowering our users. That’s why we’re excited to welcome guest blogger and online freedom advocate, Faith MacAnas, this week. In her post, Faith covers the basics of 3 online privacy boosting tools with bitcoin users in mind. To find out what they are, dive in below!

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Phishing sites: how to report them & why it’s important

In recent security-focused posts, we’ve touched on phishing email red flags, the importance of SSL, and password managers. But did you know there’s something you can do as a user to also help shut down a malicious copycat site for good? Keep reading and we’ll explain why this is so important and how you can do it.

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A warning about Sharechain

Thanks to everyone who shared this blog post to get the word out about Sharechain. On February 10th, Sharechain’s site was taken down and is no longer available. 

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unfortunately, when it comes to phishing scams, that imitation can lead to big issues for unsuspecting users. Most recently, we’ve been targeted by a site called Sharechain which looks very similar to ours and claims to sell Blockchain shares for profit. Please be advised that we have no affiliation or connection with Sharechain

We’re working to get the site taken down but, in the meantime, we strongly caution users against using sites who falsely claim to be affiliated with our company. Always examine the URL and SSL certificate displaying in your browser to make sure you’re in the right place before you ever submit your wallet credentials.

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Transaction fees: your most common questions

Today, Ofir Beigel is back to answer some of our users’ most common questions about fees. To read his first post on transaction fee basics, click here.

In our previous post, we covered the what, why, and how surrounding bitcoin transaction fees. In today’s post, I want to dig further into the details and answer some of the most common questions about bitcoin transaction fees.

How can I calculate my transaction size so I’ll know what fee to attach to it?

You can’t easily do this on your own, and thankfully, many wallets can do this for you. For example, the Blockchain Wallet uses dynamic fees that calculate the required fee for you so that your transaction will confirm as reliably and quickly as possible. You also have the option to set your fees manually by using Advanced Send. Different wallets handle fees differently, and you should find out how your wallet handles the fees for you (if at all).

What happens if I don’t attach any fees to my bitcoin transaction?

Before transactions get packaged into blocks and inserted into the blockchain they wait around in the transaction pool, also known as the memory pool (or mempool for short). Each transaction in the mempool has a certain degree of priority. The priority is based on the amount of coins sent (higher = greater priority) , the age of the coins (older = greater priority) and the transaction size (smaller = greater priority).

I will not go into detail about what each of these parameters mean, but what is important to understand is this: some transactions have such a high priority that they don’t even need any fees attached. The first 50kb of each of transaction space in each block is set aside for high priority transactions. Other transactions may sit in the mempool for a long time, mature, and then finally move forward in priority in order to be included in the next block.

What if my transaction is still stuck in the mempool due to low fees or low priority?

If your transaction is stuck, it will either sit there long enough to gain a higher priority, or it will get rejected and flushed out of the mempool within roughly a week (in most cases). Once it’s been rejected, you’ll be able to try re-sending with a higher fee. Some wallets will give you the option to resend a specific transaction with higher fees in case it’s not confirmed; however, if you use a wallet with dynamic fees, you can likely avoid this entirely. As a last resort, miners will sometimes have spare space left in their block and will include zero transaction fees on a best effort basis, but it’s not recommended to count on this method.

To wrap things up:
  • Fees should be calculated depending on the transaction size (and it’s not based on the amount of bitcoin being sent). This can be done automatically by your wallet (e.g. dynamic fees).
  • If your transaction isn’t confirmed for a long time, either check with your wallet if you can change the fee attached to it or wait for it to get flushed out of the network and then resend it.

We hope Ofir’s posts have helped sharpen your know-how on bitcoin transactions and fees! If you still have questions, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or visit our Help Center for even more resources.

A bitcoin blogger since 2013, Ofir owns 99Bitcoins and the popular Bitcoin Obituaries section. He is an Internet marketer and public speaker focused on getting as many people as possible to know what bitcoin is and why it is so important.

An intro to bitcoin-focused web development: build your first web app

Careers in bitcoin development are all the rage right now, but it’s an unfortunate misconception that the chance of landing these opportunities are a hundred-to-one unless you’re on a first-name basis with industry pioneers like Nick Szabo or Adam Back. Today’s guest blogger, Kyle Honeycutt, is here to debunk these myths of exclusivity. He’ll also show you step-by-step how to create your very first bitcoin web app, and leaves you with extra resources so you can hone your new skills. Take it away, Kyle.

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