Cryptocurrencies, by themselves, are inherently safe because they are based on cryptography. It would be impossible to “hack the blockchain” or a private key, an attempt to break a cryptographic protected algorithm would require an unfeasible amount of computational power. The only way to steal a wallet is taking advantage of its owner’s personal carelessness. And a lot of people, especially those that are not too familiar with cryptocurrencies, are not careful enough. Follow the cryptocurrency security tips we describe in this article to keep your digital assets safe and to avoid paranoid thoughts before going to sleep.
Through the short cryptocurrency history, there have been some noteworthy cases of cryptocurrency theft. The most remarkable happened in February 2013, when the exchange Mt. Gox, which was the world’s largest exchange, handling over 70% of all Bitcoin transactions, lost approximately 850,000 BTC ($450 million at the time), probably due to some internal fraud.
There are some typical tactics used by hackers, but they seem to be upgrading their techniques each day, especially as cryptocurrencies are getting more popular, so even cryptocurrency veterans sometimes fall for a scam.
Lost cryptocurrency wallets are very hard to recover, and, unlike physical money, they aren’t covered by insurances. So, if you don’t want to lose your precious cryptos, make sure to follow these cryptocurrency security tips.
A very common scam technique used by hackers is creating a fake, identical version of the exchange or web wallet page they use and mailing the link to the victim, usually with a convincing message that convinces them to log in and take some action instantly. A lot of people access these sites, enter their data and the hackers take that data and do what they want. To avoid phishing, always check if the link showing in your browser perfectly matches the one of your exchange or web wallet.
Make sure you have an updated antivirus and firewall enabled. Don’t install any software you’re not entirely sure about the safety. Of course, never download any suspicious attachments and make sure to research about the reputation of a software you’re about to install, using Google, social media like Reddit or friends more knowledgeable about the topic.
You can assure you’re taking the right actions to protect your cryptos, but you don’t know if your exchange is doing the same. There have been some notable cases about large exchanges freezing or losing their users funds, due to technical errors or hacks. Always withdrawal funds in your exchange to your wallet if you’re not planning to trade them there so soon.
Two-factor authentication includes an extra layer of security to the validation procedure by making it harder for attackers to invade your wallet or exchange account, since knowing the password alone isn’t enough to give access to them. Most wallets and exchanges offer 2-factor authentication options, like requiring a random PIN sent to you by SMS or e-mail.
They should be long, difficult to guess and never the same as the passwords you use on your social networks or anywhere else, both for your wallets and for your exchange accounts.
Wifi hosts can direct your browser to any page, which can be, sometimes, a mimic version of your exchange or wallet. They can also collect data transmitted through the network which, in case, includes the password you typed. If you need to access your wallet from a public WiFi, use a VPN.
Hardware wallets are the safest way to store your cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency hardware wallet is a specialized device that stores their user’s private keys inside of an impenetrable circuit and allows them to sign transactions with a single click. They also come with a “seed”, a physical paper that allows the users to transfer their keys to another wallet in case the device is lost or stolen. Trezor and Ledger are the two leading hardware wallet brands.
Most core software wallets allow you to download a .dat backup file containing your keys. You can use a software called VeraCrypt to encrypt this file and keep it in a USB stick so, even if somehow an attacker manages to invade your device, they won’t be able to manipulate your wallet if it’s encrypted.
Cryptocurrency theft has become an incredibly popular business over the past months. Their increasing popularity is attracting the attention of groups of hackers that usually targeted banks, as the cryptocurrency market proves to be more profitable.
You shouldn’t, therefore, panic about it or think they are not a safe option. They are just (or more) as safe as using online banking. If you dedicate some effort to follow the aforementioned measures, it’s very unlikely that something will happen to your cryptos. If you always keep in mind these cryptocurrency security tips, then you should be safe from most of the danger.
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