VeChain passes the first ever Cryptocurrency Disaster Recovery

With the dependence VeChain has been bestowed by its clientele and partners it is our job to be innovators and trend setter for security, assurance, and preparation. It is with that commitment that VeChain spearheaded the first Cryptocurrency Disaster Recovery Plan (CDRP) that meets the demands of accredited firms. This is the first of its kind in the world and sets a standard for corporate level DRP and risk management of internal or external controls on blockchain solution and cryptocurrency assets both on digital and physical wallets.

1. Purpose of CDRP

Considering the unique and special attributes of cryptocurrency, VeChain Foundation (the Foundation) designed the world’s first Cryptocurrency Disaster Recovery Plan (CDRP). The criteria of this plan had to ensure a large volume of daily transactions in large amounts, referencing SOX 404, System and Organisation Controls (SOC), ISO 27001 as well as the key lifecycle management controls from WebTrust standards to comply with the needs of large enterprise users and meet regulatory requirements.

2. Definition of CDRP

In the CDRP, the Foundation has defined different types of threat scenario bases on its severity and likelihood, and corresponding controls and procedures to protect the crypto assets from from these threats.

Type I — Adverse Event (low risk): Adverse events are observable occurrences in a system or network with a negative consequence. These events do not directly affect the security and integrity of digital wallets or private keys, and usually can be mitigated by limited procedures by the operator immediately. Examples of adverse events include:

  • Loss of exchange account login password
  • System crashes on the devices storing digital wallets
  • Detection of virus or malware in the network
  • Detection of suspicious activities or attack attempts from the Internet or internal networks on the devices that do not store digital wallets

Type II — Security Incident (medium risk): Security incidents refer to a violation or imminent threat of violation of VeChain’s security policies, which may result in direct impact on the security and integrity of digital wallets or private keys. It usually requires more participants to work in unison to recover the digital wallet through keystore restoration procedures, or re-backup the private key under the monitoring of independent parties. Examples of adverse events include:

  • Unauthorized use of system privileges or access to sensitive data in the network
  • Devices that store digital wallets are affected by virus or malware
  • Hardware damage of the computer or USB drive that stores the keystore files
  • Loss of digital wallet transaction password

Type III — Private Key Compromise (high risk): The compromise or suspected compromise of the private key or keystore file due to security incidents, confidentiality breach, network compromises, natural disaster or man-made disasters, that will cause significant direct impact on the security and integrity to digital wallets or private keys. If any Type III event occurs it will immediately trigger the procedures defined in the CDRP to replace the digital wallets, and transfer all crypto assets to the new addresses. This includes the compromise or suspected comprise of private keys, keystore files or exchange account passwords and 2 factor authenticator.

The Foundation uses two types of cryptocurrency storage methods, i.e. hot wallet for daily operations and frequent expenditures, and the rest is stored in cold wallets.

3. CDRP Drill Procedures

On Jan 19th 2018, the Foundation simulated the all worst case scenarios, as defined in the CDRP and conducted the first drill exercise at VeChain’s Shanghai office. Participants include CEO Sunny Lu, CFO Jay Zhang, Finance Director Cary Sheng, internal control staff, technical staff, and 3rd party representatives.

The whole process took about 6 hours, and the scope of the CDRP covers all digital wallets owned by the Foundation.

Key steps within the CDRP are:

  1. Interpretation of oncoming threats
  2. Steps to analyze potential breaches and proper prevention
  3. Hardware preparation: brand new laptops, encrypted USB drives, safe boxes in the office as well as in the bank;
  4. Reconciliation of existing digital wallet balances;
  5. New digital wallets designation (e.g. naming conversion, maximum cap per wallet, owner);
  6. Hot wallets generation;
  7. Cold wallets generation;
  8. Transfer of crypto assets from the existing wallets to the new ones;
  9. Storage and custodian of all relevant passwords and devices;

4. Digital Wallet Security Principles

  • All digital wallets are stored on offline laptops which are locked in the physical safebox when unattended. Laptops that store hot wallets only connect to the Internet when needed.
  • The accesses to digital wallet password, laptop login password, and safe box password must be segregated;
  • Keystore files must be stored in encrypted USB drives which are kept in the physical safebox;
  • Encrypted USB device passwords and safebox passwords cannot be possessed by the same person;
  • Private keys are printed with an offline printer during the digital wallet generation ceremony, and immediately sealed in envelopes which then are transported to the bank safebox.
  • The transportation of the sealed envelope must be conducted by the bank safebox key holders and escorted by the internal control staff and independent third party inspector who need to check if the envelopes stay sealed before being put into the safebox.
  • The bank safe box can only be accessed with the presence of all the key holders, internal control staff and independent third party inspector.
  • The location of the safebox that stores the keystore files should be at a reasonable distance from the bank safebox to avoid the impact of natural disaster.

5. Results of CDRP Drill

The CDRP drill was a great success. We believe that as more enterprises leverage the blockchain technology and invest in crypto assets, it is imperative to set up the best practices of enterprise-grade crypto-asset management and security. By completing this process, VeChain Thor and VeChain are one step further to cater to mass adoption.

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