Help spread awareness for build reproducibility
Please help us spread the word, asking FreeWallet to support reproducible builds via their Twitter!
Do your own research!
Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.
The Analysis ¶
The provider of this Freewallet reached out to us to stress that freewallet.io was not the same as freewallet.org which is spamming Google Play with many wallets and we have reviewed three of those here, too:
- Bitcoin Wallet. Buy & Exchange BTC coin－Freewallet is custodial with 500k downloads.
- Bitcoin & Crypto Blockchain Wallet: Freewallet is custodial, with 100k downloads.
- Lite HD Wallet – Your Coin Base is probably also custodial, with only 500 downloads so far.
He sais that his wallet is non-custodial and open source and indeed we see those same claims on Google Play.
On the website we read:
FreeWallet Mobile is open-source, and available for anyone to fork or review, so you know that it works exactly the way that it is supposed to.
and indeed we find a repository. It had no changes for two years and also Google Play does not report any changes since March 2019 but this looks like open source.
Unfortunately there is no build instructions so we cannot reproduce the app and it remains not verifiable.
We could not verify that the provided code matches the binary!
As part of our Methodology, we ask:Is the published binary matching the published source code? If not, we tag it
Published code doesn’t help much if it is not what the published app was built from. That is why we try to reproduce the binary. We
- obtain the binary from the provider
- compile the published source code using the published build instructions into a binary
- compare the two binaries
- we might spend some time working around issues that are easy to work around
If this fails, we might search if other revisions match or if we can deduct the source of the mismatch but generally consider it on the provider to provide the correct source code and build instructions to reproduce the build, so we usually open a ticket in their code repository.
In any case, the result is a discrepancy between the app we can create and the app we can find on the app store and any discrepancy might leak your backup to the server on purpose or by accident.
As we cannot verify that the source provided is the source the app was compiled from, this category is only slightly better than closed source but for now we have hope projects come around and fix verifiability issues.
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