Could the Nano Ledger S get infected by a virus?

I am accepting a lot about its security features at face value here. Can some tech-savvy person please explain why it would not be possible to design a virus that infect the device through the USB-port and copies the password or the private keys?

The incentives to create such a virus are getting pretty big…

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Your private key isn’t stored in plain text in the device.
It is also encrypted.
The constants in the application are stored in a read only section of secure element.
If you are totally paranoid, use it on a computer that is not connected to your own usual network.
For example, buy a computer and connect that to a cellular network. Do not visit any website, do not plug anything to it… Only use it with nano…


Couldn’t a virus monitor the pin code as I enter it into the device, and use that somehow to access the private keys? Dunno, maybe I´m being paranoid here, but If I was Kim Jong-un, I would have an army of hackers working 24/7 on hacking the Ledger.

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Any private key related activity is executed within the secure element.
But if they turn on your computer’s camera, they may see your pin :slight_smile:

Pretty sure there are many people working to break hardware wallets like nano or trezor everyday.
When a problem is found, fix is released immediately.
They are on Github (open source).


Thx for the answer. I feel calmer now :slight_smile:


This is why I prefer nano over trezor…
Your private keys are stored in a secure element. USB i/o is seperated from the cryptography business…
If you want to feel even calmer, use a different computer which you only use with nano.
Or you can create a multi-sig wallet if you want.


Think of Ledger as an Arduino (or better yet as a microcontroller that is in your fridge controlling the temperature). It is made to do one job (to control the temperature). It measures the temperature from the sensors and calculates the amount of current going into the motor. You can’t hack it without the physical access to your fridge’s insides.

The same principle applies to the Hardware Wallets. It calculates everything on the device itself but is getting the commands (the temperature, if it was a fridge controller) from the outside (the computer) and spits the data out.


I freaking love the pub. So much knowledge and so many smart people here :grinning:


This is very true. Very true.


Talking about being paranoid?

Multi-sig wallet.
Plug nano to a dedicated computer preferably a laptop. Don’t do anything but use your nano with this computer.
Have the other signature on another computer at a different location(could even be your phone) to sign transactions.
Only enter your PIN when you are not connected to power supply(smart power meters can apparently leak data to government…)
They need to totally hack these two systems to get your coins which is bloody hard!


short technical awnser is: YES

but when it comes to ANY physical hardware/computer security you will never ever ever reach 100% security. there will always be a potential point of entry and potential vulberability. and most of the time that vulberability is the user (not keeping software/firmw are up to date, not securing internal netowrk, not updating seucirty patches, using weak passwords, etc…

Most of these hardware wallets are as secure as you could reasonably expect, but they are not 100%

The closest you get to 100% is a paper wallet, and even that can be “hacked” if it falls into the wrong hands or you dont have it locked away.

I have no Trezor type device (although im not anti trezor just paranoid)

I have 2 paper wallets, printed and laminated. i keep one in my safe at home and one in a safety deposit box. That stores the majority of my bitcoin as securely as any system i can think of. the rest is on bittrex and traded daily.


You want paranoid? Have you checked out the Glacier Protocol?

Don´t know if you have listened to the 3 part series, “hash power”, on the Invest like the best podcast. They give some good examples on what real paranoia looks like.

  1. Use dedicated room that is a Faraday cage.
  2. Put the bitcoin on a computer that never has has touched the internet.
  3. Use multisig wallet.
  4. Put computer in a tamper evidence bag. Then seal the bag with evidence tape.
  5. Splatter bag with nail polish. Take a photo of the splatter pattern.

Each time you want to access device compare splatter pattern in photo with splatter patter on the bag to know if the bag has been tampered with. This to make sure nobody has installed a key logger on device.


If you are protecting billions of worth coins, then yes, it is worth it :smiley:


I´m tempted to put my Nano S in a evidence bag splattered with nail polish just to have as a conversation starter when I have friends over :smiley:


To echo this, you could buy a raspberry pi, write a fresh Linux distro to the micro SD card, and use it like that.

Super simple tech, super minimalist OS, less points of attack.


Wait…how so?
Cuz that sounds like a cheap and good idea.

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Put TAILS on a Raspberry Pi.

I think it already has a native Bitcoin wallet on it.

When you’re ready to broadcast transactions, you can have it hooked up to a small display to show QR codes. The only issue is entering the transaction details into the RPi. It can be done.

This would make it near air-gapped.

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after my research I am ditching Ledger Nano S. it appears that if you use ledger live app it exposes your xpub or any utxo to the ledger servers. Best solution is to run your own node with Electrum Personal Server and electrum wallet.

Even better solution is to get a coldcardwallet

even better security send btc to wasabi coinjoin utxos then send them back to cold storage on coldcardwallet.

Lightning Article to check out

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