Securely Storing Data Backups on the STEEM Blockchain
Today I was updating one of my files where I store invoice information, and I thought about storing an additional backup of the file in case my hard drive crashes. I already use Apple's Time Machine backup feature, but I thought it would be fun to try something a little different as well.
Why not put it on the blockchain?
One thing to consider when backing up a file to the blockchain is it becomes publicly available to everyone. An easy workaround is to encrypt the file first. That brings up an additional concern if the file contains data which needs to remain secure for many, many years. Some encryption mechanisms become obsolete and vulnerable as computational power increases. That means if you put an encrypted file on a blockchain which lasts forever, at some point in the future that file may be deciphered by someone with a strong enough computer (or a quantum approach we haven't yet imagined).
In this case, it's just invoice information, so no big deal.
For those not familiar with GPG (and even those who are, there's always plenty to learn), I found this GPG Tutorial by Digital Ocean has a lot of useful information.
To decrypt my invoices file so I could back it up on the blockchain, I used this command:
gpg -a -o privex_invoices_2018-02-23.asc --symmetric privex_invoices.txt
(Note: I already added
cipher-algo AES256 to my
~/.gnupg/gpg.conf to avoid
WARNING: message was not integrity protected warnings.)
The -a part is important as that ensures I get text output instead of binary output. It prompts me for a password which I generate with 1Password (my password manager) and store there securely.
If I ever want to decrypt the file, it's as simple as:
gpg -o privex_invoices_decrypted.txt --decrypt privex_invoices_2018-02-23.asc
Here's the contents of privex_invoices_2018-02-23.asc which I'm now storing on the blockchain as a backup:
-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- Comment: GPGTools - https://gpgtools.org jA0ECQMCFcVKx69ksOPe0uoBMU88ZyoAs7+VUnXyuuxecEUIC+yUyQ8ZUeZc3myR Hdkqgp2EBZt66kDD5ZowVgv5S8tKmEvq7ee0fWvpo/y0E7aZEH5A6ltd6vexYHB8 YMgA/kswWy1BMDK7MWPjABB7/yhh+dv4nUBWMV4wBEL92cIyfwDUwUsb8ebqC2OT wG+/fu5kwu+39NSjLxIH7SuoPrX26bxoEnNhT0HmwIcHRd6CdkJBiJ1Y8Y9DT2ys OJKT2CFWzBfwK99Qxoq2E562+vKAwxlsESRlcW/8sr3w5ZH+8+R0GNrZfaJU1o5p K9kYAbu/h7diHxq9chFZATOnMCKBdmUurEKRphNlrt6n2z85jEF0ZAlCCqYgrqoO Z5w3M9jna5Iw15lwuJv4fQSAF4FfBALD5PAym+saGj6NAEpnmcxagglMe7XY4x89 mKTTBExX0YeLgg6510udzRFvvQcUR82MGfnwYcYZLmI0BTQAr8ewdURMztaBmrOR LeiZcMQ1Jz6cRM/Ji5sOfuYiplKP+fXg9EA/Ggc2MIca9YAvxnk707lo/4qbqmfV oQ1Xk3fVNTzZl5JuYpRfnAiNsLeufW+TIlIpg7wcU5U8hXGOFFxsVBsVO4dolkg4 t9/QKjAiHZOfLWbEs4P8NsubgmsySLenZ95DKEPz3fYcyttHGpDUnEYkexDP8zVO wcQnQITWUzI401jKUvmq8WoaGvlL4EvZR/WvjtKVi5FW7HJ9UvMdzrjriWJEkopM WYjtP/FpPDawJ9bq6XelC86Y3l8YhYp237HZi0b14UsTDNha7cbyrYWxxkeKh/h1 pXXSD6YzCcsU8zORbx65K6bqkIaZQV4fDZJyqJCBcKZi19LgJ4OnLXM6WYkCQPfR 48ULaU3hyBbr6XtqpGKsqeTkEwFKhvOivL4Z5OcsGDwy9aYCoAuVmix+J7uDgyRO sEs8ZZNgw37mcyV3oDgXpX9nX+RP9LcZ8HdD6bcckEJx58AKT6keCXDOI2xeUBWw gL0TLMqFqXApXS4ydrYhX84TDS/jPVCahv4rtH5FBsYY7Km9dgK9OlL+SfTnj/fz X8HYITdpRkZYlJ/JdN9AMOI/QrIafG7qA4S8VeKUl58rUU/m1/bRb2PSO2NqNcFq rZ7ZiJaIXrmOqw2cNTBD3YuSRiL4mhszzaRBrUk1O8pB6fGAnAAgpcEUVni+OF9Q mrCs+1EZoCXioHodMXBRd5PkGB0lri0qEGPLsnhRuQo4v7m9gOkUaRDNCF9mNQ+C VCI6Ho7MSHcFtm00Hk/qTFzBluMYdQ8Rtgw0q6nn4Vk/7RdggYyFTWbO1vNzGE40 v7RgaCOJ1PhYhI/hp5H6EliYmXwOnx7lyoRXu5C4qOQp6dFGPckX0Aph6QKO2Yha e5EQHQKkwTJbgDlhDmgXCOR/UEZoNKKQ8hS+EZkvGmt0CLfDaW62qbEeV4pg7wxN 6wOWcE2N56lyR7saFDf4Y6mX0q8PCbcxCD/N6PowouN8gkl5bdoySR/vntSLMliJ JkOyi2n0aNCxRPUSJo4En3pCRBaZW+cRKpSgq/KDUgwBmi/Nmf4N1p2LAAKdpoCK e19INmRsajJeKTidZVkT9xwQuuaJ4zK3enaX/7F4frv5wnAPISJKfP6tC+lOiPRv /XyotmnnDBqpZ3p6gAsLCsuN1udTmKXlqhSmamhdYoJ09v6SI4tUov271YcfPT5z RL3kpA/I0D0V2xFsngc2CCqSHZZQxYX1DLxbTGfLYPnW4QcnsqNW/6Nmt1UGp6Lt y259917e+/sJ1JZj7/A7/CuI6bukx1YM/e7BC5XpcJfjcDU+JjQRsy3C86I2hVM4 Sji06BFZ/6e26WLeKlp3De5BNGj2o65b4Wsa2Dtb51aAEE1+gVJ787KoSVZ7lFho jPSnhBVcnYzKngCK7udUNo4FW0DhPjKJVQ9MnKasCn27n+sZHJzi5sSTJK23garQ YNv7tIVswU9qK0qlb5qhaU1/GZ+G+ys/O5W4mju0qDKeI3S5IGvJ1VugL5sU7uA+ j0jF+HJww19NUiIGBPRIpkWNwIAXmfEAYqakQnCDSHaZaX7Tq/2OZnAnpi/q9NYX +Ffbgjl9d/pflJtlSwu17kkpIcRfT4qyfNEW9GcRx2P/Sch+78zksZc+0MTzLx92 Feb7gpIyc+L/PpLtVFnTnNbv29YjdGnma5c8mtZ41dV31Hvg4Akdiw9ZaBF+Jyao LNRdddcXk7ih7vfBh1LJ+WPHwIDIhM4QfSjg7IaSE3kM6bCaypOns7NqByOtyvHU lPwPecMRv/ZyY5smRr+rs4nnsYrf7q5saPkVaCCi6biuSnxbWf+mTYU5iT+KUdT4 peOfolFJH17IyCSjd8HbgDnz1nyXwZWeDEsuw6joFHOKQMJ/AJoPUj1KwizZhNkE 4AD5T9vNlD/lN1ueNo4Y7TF5pqtLqcl5+hi5nCenzDurJt4ev8Qy2SZQY6SCc1uP aJIxoQ== =JRCt -----END PGP MESSAGE-----
Now, if I ever lose the original file or accidentally delete it, I can now recover the information using the encrypted data stored forever on the blockchain.
Pretty cool, right?
Online privacy, encryption, reputation, and identity are important topics which have to come out of the "nerd realm" and into every-day society. This stuff really matters because if we begin building a voluntary society using smart contracts without government and their threats of violence for compliance, then all participants will have to require high levels of personal responsibility. For more on that, see Privacy, Identity, and Human Flourishing.
Unfortunately, this stuff is still pretty complicated. Programs like https://keybase.io/ make it a little easier, but the more we trust layers on top of the core encryption tools, the more vulnerabilities can be introduced. There's often a conflict between making things easy and keeping them secure.
I hope this post at least reminds you of the importance of securely backing up your files and exploring tools like GPG to control your own data security.
Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, STEEM witness, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Visit UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com