I feel really down about losing 283 Decred. See I was part of their Airdrop back in January. Today, however, I was trying to do upkeep on my remote server (local, but remote as in I’m not typing on it these days.) See I was super paranoid about Decred in the beginning so I took the liberties of setting up a virtual machine on the remote server. I even went as far as to copy the private key seed into a text file on the remote server. However, I have also been running open bazaar on it too. Now I’ve been busy with life and other things so I had this problem with my remote server running VNC viewer…it wouldn’t work unless I logged in first. That was sort of a deal breaker because this server has a broken screen so it was quite inconvenient to login and out. Naturally wanting to solve this I took to the streets of the interwebs to see what I could rummage. I found a few methods to run a script to set off VNC server on boot but nothing seemed to work. So, I got another bright idea – just set it to autologin, its on my local net and I’m NEVER going to access it externally.
So I do that. And from there I get this funny little error that says Failed to update .ICEauthenicate in /home/me. It was innocuous at first because it would throw that error, then resume to login as usual. Okay…let’s now figure out how to fix that….interwebz now suggests that I change permissions on the file, no improvement…now it says to delete the file it will get generated again on a fresh login….that’s true yet that still does not fix my problem…a final suggestion is to recursively change permissions to my username within the home directory…uh-oh I do that but now I can’t access the directories at all unless I’m signed in a root. Changing it back does not fix it either! I’m worried now, so I run by Linux IRC where an awesome gathering of folks have kindly set me on the path to getting file and command line access as I hand before. They even teach me an amazing technique where I don’t even need VNC because the server can just ssh -X and forward the graphics GUI of the requested program (open Bazaar) So now, I think everything is in the clear and I just want to try it one last time for good measure…And this is where I fucked up….I SHOULD have at that point migrated all the backup seed data for decred but stupid ass me decides to sudo shutdown -r (just to check)
It doesn’t even dawn on me how bad things are about to become. Resets and takes me to the login screen. I enter my password, it throws me that ICEauthenticate error, no biggie…wait…it just threw me back to the login? That doesn’t happen, its just logs me in but it didn’t, hmm weird…I’ll just enter my password in again…and it throws me back to that error before putting me right back in from of the login screen again. It starts creeping in that something is terribly wrong here. I try doing a hard reset, maybe something didn’t load properly…no difference…alright let’s whip out the heavier guns….login via ssh…okay so far so good, let’s see my home directory so I can chmod that damn .ICEauthenticat file…hoollllld onnnn why are my files missing and there’s this thing called: Access-Your-Private-Data.desktop I’ve never seen that before. I look around google and it tells me back that this must be an encrypted folder and that I would need to manually decrypt it. I scurry about looking for the right thing to try…I happened upon this: sudo ecryptfs-mount-private Seems easy enough, I go on ahead and use that along with my password and this terrible message presents itself: fopen: No such file or directory. I’m not legitimately scared…sure I had my open bazaar store with a wallet filled with maybe a dollar of bitcoin who cares about that….no my anguish came from having an untouched Decred wallet listed and from checking that with a price of $1.40 a piece and a that quantity that I had just lost access to $400. I haven’t yet tried booting a liveCD and mounting the encrypted folder onto a temp directory, but at this point that is my final resort before having to call it a loss and walking away (reinstalling my OS)
Here are where my mistakes were made:
I should have kept an off-system copy of that private key generation seed from decred.
I should have when logged in as remote, taken copies of the decred text files – I still remember them being on the desktop of the remote server and feel like a fool for not just keeping a local backup
I had greater trust in my ability to solve this problem when in fact I didn’t.
I encrypted my home directory – that was a major faux pas, I’m not Edward Snowden or Ross Ulbricht I could have done fine with simple password protection, that server hasn’t moved at all and the screen is broken…The machine I’m typing on Goes with me places and I would much rather have that encrypted, encrypting the disk on my server was just overkill and this very situation show’s just why I’m stuck.
I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m definitely feeling down from this all happening and am just looking for whatever silver lining I can find. I know I don’t come here much these days, and I appreciate you visiting me today. Feel free to read up on what I’m up to or to reach out in the comments below.