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How ShapeShift Is Keeping Your Data Safe

By Michael Perklin, Chief Security Officer at ShapeShift

The ShapeShift Membership Program offers users a variety of exciting, exclusive benefits such as lower fees, higher trading limits, rewards on trading volume and more. However, becoming a member requires verification of basic customer information. This changes the way ShapeShift handles data– now that we have to collect and store your information, we need to do everything possible to keep it safe. As a result, we asked the question, “what can hackers do if they break in to our systems?” to inform our design decisions.

In the interest of transparency, here’s how we’re handling your data with the Membership Platform:

  • The Membership Platform collects your information and immediately encrypts it with a 4096-bit RSA key using the widely-used open-source GPG software.
  • This encrypted data is stored in our database and in most cases is never used again.
  • Once it’s collected, we don’t need to reference it for any business reason.
  • If you run into a problem and contact customer support, for example for help, they do not see your name or details by default, allowing them to focus on your problem rather than your identity.

There are only a few cases where our staff need to use your identity information.

  • For example, if you lose both your password and 2FA and are trying to get back into your account, our staff will need to know your name and other info in order to compare it with what you’ve given them.
  • In this case, our customer support agents will download your encrypted data to their machine and use a cold storage device containing the private key to decrypt your info. This is managed on a case by case basis, preventing wholesale access of customer information by any employee at the company.
  • The other example would be if we are legally compelled to do so by a valid subpoena or similar document.

Since ShapeShift’s servers never have the decryption key to the personal information (it’s held in cold storage), even if an attacker breaches the servers and copies the entire database, they will not be able to see or access your information. If one of our cold storage devices is lost or stolen, it is configured to wipe itself under certain circumstances.

In this way, we’ve followed best practices in the storage of your data. Beyond this, the FOX membership tokens have a host of other security features which prevent people who are able to take over your account from stealing your FOX. These security features will be a great topic for another article in the future.