Regardless of where you live, leaving a $100 bill on a park bench will most likely result in a loss. With cryptocurrencies is no different. Despite their digital nature, not taking the necessary precautions can put your hard-earned money in danger. In this article, you’ll learn how to keep your cryptocurrencies safe from most security threats out there.
Contrary to popular belief, protecting your cryptocurrency is not something achieved by simply storing your funds with a secure third-party. From a cybersecurity point of view, attacking an end-user is considerably easier than going after companies.
According to a recent study by the University of Maryland, there’s one hacker attack every 39 seconds. And from those attacks, one out of three are successful. To really ensure your cryptocurrency doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, you should adopt a proactive approach.
How To Secure Your Cryptocurrencies
In the list below, you’ll find the best easy-to-implement tips to guarantee your cryptocurrency remains well-protected in 2021 and beyond. Let’s get to it.
#1 —Choose a reliable cryptocurrency wallet
Just like with fiat money, there are various types of wallets you can use to store your digital currencies. As you would expect, each type of cryptocurrency wallet comes with specific pros and cons attached. Here’s a quick overview of those types:
- Hot wallets: these wallets are connected to the Internet, which increases their exposure to all kinds of cyberthreats. Since they’re always online, accessing funds is fast and convenient. These wallets are usually offered by exchange platforms.
- Cold wallets: these wallets are offline, meaning they cannot be hacked. This is a valid option for those who need extreme security measures. Typically, they come in the form of hardware and paper wallets. Ledger is one of the best players in that field.
- Warm wallets: these combine the best features of both hot and cold wallets. They’re online, user-friendly, offer a wide range of services, but funds are kept in cold storage. The Crypterium Wallet is a clear example of this type.
#2 — Activate two-factor authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as multi factor authentication, is an additional layer of security for your cryptocurrencies. The idea is simple: every time you perform an action that puts your money at risk, the system automatically asks to verify it’s really you.
Sounds too complicated? No worries, it is not. For example, let’s say that you’ve turned on 2FA on the Crypterium Wallet, and wish to withdraw funds to a bank card.
To prevent someone who gained access to your account can easily withdraw the funds, the system will request an additional security code to approve the transaction. The code is unique, and it’s sent to the email address or phone number linked to the account.
#3 — Create seriously strong passwords and codes
No matter which type of cryptocurrency wallet you’re using to store your crypto, most of them require you to set some sort of password or PIN. Those codes are your first line of defense, and creating them shouldn’t be taken lightly.
A few points to consider:
- Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
- Avoid passwords used for other platforms or services
- Make them at least eight characters long
- Don’t use personal information to create them
- Never share your password, not even with friends or family
- Instead of printing them, you can use a password manager
Falling short on tips? Based on the feedback from thousands of customers, the Crypterium Support Team has prepared a detailed guide on how to set super-strong passwords. Read here.
#4 — Withdraw funds from your cryptocurrency exchange
Picking the best cryptocurrency wallet will largely depend on your personal needs. However, from a security standpoint it is highly advised to avoid hot wallets.
Most of the cryptocurrency exchanges keep funds online, making them the target of numerous attacks. And despite the efforts to protect them, something simply it doesn’t work.
We get it. If you’re an active trader, keeping the money in your balance is necessary. But if you’re in a period of low trading activity, it’s a good idea to move funds away from those accounts, and transfer them to a cold or warm wallet.
#5 — Double-check websites, emails & text messages
There are many different ways to hack a cryptocurrency wallet. One of the most popular, and successful hacking techniques is phishing — a cybercrime focused on obtaining the passwords or codes from the user itself. How? Social engineering.
Hackers try to contact you by email, telephone or text messages as if representatives of a company. In this case, your cryptocurrency wallet service.
For example, they could reach out as support agents suggesting they need your passwords or any other identifiable information to fix a certain issue.
Hackers go great length to ensure you fall, so don’t trust the logo and the colours of an email. Verify that’s always a legit address, and in case of any doubts contact support via official channels to double-check if you were really contacted by an official agent.
#6 — Use mobile Internet instead of public Wi-Fi
You enter a coffee shop, and the first thing you do is ask for the Wi-Fi password. And while that might not be an issue, you never really know who’s behind that network or what are their intentions. Connecting to public Wi-Fi comes with certain risks attached, especially if you’re holding a sizable amount of cryptocurrency in your wallet.
If you’ll be using a public Wi-Fi connection, then take the necessary precautions to ensure hackers cannot reach your cryptocurrencies. The best way to do so is by simply avoiding any interaction with your cryptocurrency wallet or exchange account while connected to the Internet.
Regardless of how obvious it may seem, another important point is using networks you can trust. Also, keep an eye on the encryption used by the Wi-Fi provider. A WPA-2 protocol is preferred since it offers a higher level of security compared to its predecessors WPA and WEP.
#7 — Keep an eye on your browser’s search bar
Believe or not, one letter can make all the difference. Every time you visit a website that somewhat relates to your cryptocurrencies, pay attention to the browser bar and ensure the website offers a valid HTTPS certificate.
If the site begins with HTTP instead, that’s not really a good signal. Double check that the site domain is correct, and you’re not inside a phishing site.
#8 — Monitor the performance of your computer
The ugly truth about cyberattacks is that you don’t notice them until it’s too late. But you’re not alone. Researchers have found that it takes an average of 6 months for companies to detect a data breach. If companies with resources take so long to detect an attack, chances are you won’t even know someone gained access to your computer.
Breaking into your computer is only the first step for a hacker. If you’ve been careful enough and haven’t been saving your passwords on ‘Stickies’, then your cryptocurrency might not be accessible. But if you log into your wallet account, or reveal at some point information that could compromise the account, well, you’ll get in trouble real fast.
Monitoring the performance of your computer is a simple, yet effective way to detect a potential breach. For example, cryptojackers — those hackers that use your PC power to mine cryptocurrencies — will inevitably slow down your computer. Also, you can find your computer running hotter than usual. If these things sound familiar, don’t waste any time and scan your computer for malware as soon as possible.
#9 — Use QR codes to share wallet addresses
Cryptocurrency wallet addresses aren’t exactly ‘friendly’. And unless you are ready to work out your memory skills, their length and complexity make them almost impossible to remember. And that’s precisely why thieves leverage them to their advantage.
If your computer is under the influence of a malicious program, hackers can quickly modify and paste a wrong transaction address whenever you send a transaction. Using a cryptocurrency wallet with off-chain transactions like Crypterium can give you additional peace of mind. Between Crypterium accounts, there’s a way to block a transaction and recover the funds.
#10 — Divide your cryptocurrency holdings
Roman Emperor Julius Cesar once said: “Divide and Conquer” — and he was right. When it comes to keeping your cryptocurrencies safe, storing your funds in different accounts is a great way to mitigate the risk.
If you are currently holding all your Bitcoin on a Wirex account, placing some part of those funds in another wallet like Crypterium could effortlessly reduce the risks of being hacked.
Digital currencies are the future of money. And knowing how to protect your cryptocurrency from all kinds of cyber threats is as important as never leaving your pocket wallet on a park bench. The tips above will definitely put you on the right track. Stay safe!