Bitcoin wallets upgraded after Android cryptography problem

Symantec found that tens of thousands of other applications that use the Android component may be affected

Several Bitcoin wallet applications have been upgraded following a serious cryptography problem in Android that could allow attackers to steal the virtual currency.

Four Android Bitcoin clients -- Bitcoin Wallet, Blockchain, Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet and BitcoinSpinner -- have been fixed, according to an updated notice on

The problem affects Bitcoin applications that rely on an Android component, the Java SecureRandom class, that generates random numbers. Those numbers are used to create transaction signatures that are recorded in the blockchain, which is the public ledger of Bitcoin transfers.

In some cases, the supposedly random numbers were the same for different transactions, which could allow an attacker to determine someone's private key and steal their bitcoins.

Users who may be affected by the problem need to create new private keys for their bitcoins. That can be accomplished by assigning funds to new bitcoin addresses which have been generated by applications that have been patched or ones not affected by the SecureRandom issue.

"This involves generating a new address with a repaired random number generator and then sending all the money in your wallet back to yourself," the notice said. "Once your wallet is rotated, you will need to contact anyone who has stored addresses generated by your phone and give them a new one."

Security vendor Symantec wrote on Tuesday that the same kind of random number generator vulnerability "was previously used to break the security of other products, such as the PlayStation 3 master key."

Tens of thousands of other Android applications may be vulnerable, Symantec wrote. The company found more than 360,000 applications that use the SecureRandom class in the same way as the affected Bitcoin applications.

Symantec noted that applications running on Android version 4.2 and up may not be affected since SecureRandom was changed in that version of the mobile OS.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlesecuritymobile securityencryption

More about Symantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts