The official manufacturer behind leading cryptocurrency hardware wallet Trezor has announced that it believes criminals are using a new method to steal funds from unsuspecting victims. The post, released on Medium by Satoshi Labs, the company behind the Trezor brand, stated that they have been made aware that “one-to-one copies” of Trezor are circulating the market. As the post states, “In other words, a fake Trezor device, manufactured by a different, unknown vendor” has been discovered.
SatoshiLabs continue to add that whilst Trezor clones have been operating in the market for some time now, not only do they are utilize a different brand name, but they are also manufactured by legitimate organizations. As such, the process of distinguishing between a real Trezor and a clone is a simple one. However, a new breed of fake Trezor’s have been discovered.
Fake Trezor Devices That are Practically Identical to the Original
They are believed to be practically identical to the original product, much in the same way that counterfeit apparel products attempt to deceive loyal brand purchasers. Much like in the case of counterfeit apparel products, the unknown manufacturer is offering their fake Trezor at a price vastly lower that the original.
The Trezor team add that on top of a significantly lower price tag, it is also possible to ascertain whether you might have a fake device by looking at the product’s attached hologram. By uploading images and a video, the post allows users to check their hologram to ensure they have a legitimate product. As the Trezor team have only recently been made aware of the illicit flood of fakes, it is yet to be acknowledged how many are currently circulating. The key concern for those affected is what capabilities the seller has regarding stored funds.
Back Route Re-Design may put Funds at Risk
Under normal circumstances, Trezor devices (along with other leading hardware devices) are the most secure way of protecting yourself against the threats of external malpractice. Even if the device was subsequently lost, or worse, stolen, then the thief would still have limited, if any access to the victim’s funds.
The key reason for this is that in order to facilitate a movement of funds out of the wallet, the user is required to enter a physical PIN number that was set by the owner of the device. Furthermore, each subsequently incorrect PIN combination activates the time-lock, meaning the user has to wait a certain amount of time before they can try again. Brute force would simply render the device redundant. During this time, the victim would have the ability to recover their funds remotely, by using their back-up passphrase.
Read: Trezor vs Ledger Review
However, if the aforementioned fake Trezor devices are as innovative as the physical design of the product, then there could be further complications. One such possibility is that the illicit manufacturer creates the device in such a manner that allows them to remotely access the user’s balance. This could be extremely costly, especially when one considers that hardware devices are generally used for larger cryptocurrency holdings.
Only Ever Buy a Hardware Wallet From a Licensed Channel
Nevertheless, this should be a stark reminder to those looking to get a cheap deal on hardware wallet devices. As echoed by the manufacturers themselves, you should only ever buy a Trezor device from an official channel. In most cases, this is either directly from the Trezor website or via an officially licensed third party, such as Amazon.
The Trezor product has grown significantly since its launch in 2014, selling over a million devices along the way. It remains to be seen whether the announcement will instill fear in future buyers.