Cryptocurrency is adding more utility every day, and its value has increased exponentially in the last decade. With anything of value online, once something is profitable it can attract the cybercriminal underworld – hackers.
The proportion of cybercrime stories involving cryptocurrency in cybersecurity is on the rise, with individual crypto enthusiasts, exchanges, and NFT platforms becoming targets for hackers more and more. Just this weekend, NFT exchange Opensea saw a large-scale phishing campaign that left millions of dollars missing.
Cryptocurrency is decentralized – That fact is one of its main draws. This almost means that as a cryptocurrency holder, it is your responsibility to securely store and protect your digital currency.
Unlike with a traditional bank, if your cryptocurrency gets hacked, there is nobody coming to the rescue. The money is gone.
There are steps that you can take to ensure this never happens. Some involve basic digital hygiene, while others are more specific toward the crypto space.
1 Protect Your Wallet With A Strong Password
Something one should always practice online is strong passwords – owning cryptocurrency or not. Despite being obvious, weak passwords remain the number 1 cause of hackers and online theft. Use two-factor authentication, and change passwords regularly in case of a breach. Password managers can help automate this process.
When signing up for services, we are often told to make a password between 8 and 10 characters. This builds a terrible habit – Your passwords need to have at least 24 characters.
Try to approach passwords from a length perspective rather than throwing in difficult-to-remember symbols at random. Market Burnett, cryptographer and author of Perfect Passwords, stated, “A longer password is usually better than a more random password.”
2 Do Not Store Too Much Of Your Crypto Portfolio In An Online Wallet
As the old saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, or the modern take – “Don’t store all your data in the cloud”!
The same can be said for cryptocurrency. Storing cryptocurrency offline is the best way to store it, as it cannot be touched by hackers, having no online connection.
Ideally, a cryptocurrency enthusiast would have a hardware wallet from the likes of Ledger or Trezor where they store the bulk of their currency and keep enough stored digitally to make transactions or trades. More can be transferred as required, but leaving the full amount in a digital environment puts a target on your back. Would you carry your banks’ current account in your physical wallet? Probably not.
3 Avoid Unreliable Or Suspect Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Adopt a “Buyer Beware” attitude when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges. It is best to stick to the more popular cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken, and there are many more options. Oftentimes, a cryptocurrency won’t list a particularly volatile currency. This can be a downside for some, who would prefer to day trade or scalp volatile or obscure cryptocurrencies. If you are someone like this, do as much research as you can on the exchange that fills your needs before creating an account.
It is also best to stay away from certain stockbrokers that have a bad or untrustworthy record with cryptocurrency, such as Robinhood.
4 Exercise Caution With Regards To Apps You Install
A common mistake people make is thinking that apps installed from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store are 100% safe. This is not always so, and Google Play in particular has accidentally let a large number of malware apps slip onto its shelves in the last 3 years. Many of these apps are purpose-built to target banking and cryptocurrency apps installed on a victim’s phone.
Needless to say, apply extra caution to apps you download from the “black market” – app stores outside Google and Apple. If possible, don’t download from these sites at all.
5 Never Share Your Private Key
Though this should be obvious, it is a mistake that cryptocurrency enthusiasts fall into often. Your private key is effectively your entire identity when trying to access your wallet, and it should never be shared with any person or any third party.
Some play it extra safe with their private key and never write it down on their desktop notepad or in their phones, instead opting to write it on a physical piece of paper and store it in a lockbox or similar physical store object. Sometimes, these low-tech solutions are the most secure.
6 Avoid Hosted Wallets Where Possible Or Use Them Sparingly
Though hosted wallets are very difficult to avoid, especially for newcomers, they present a major security risk. By having a third party in control of your wallet, you accept that any attack against them leaves your money exposed.
If you must, have separate wallets where you can ‘top-up’ a hosted wallet from a more secured wallet elsewhere.
7 Use SaferNet
Cryptocurrency and the blockchain stand to be a major driving factor in the technology of the future. However this popularity has attracted an element of cybercrime. There are several tools internet users should use to increase their online protection. One of these tools is SaferNet.
SaferNet is the perfect solution to the cybersecurity issues that individuals, families, and businesses face today. It not only connects every device using a secure, 24/7 always on, military grade VPN, but it also stops outside cyberthreats, malware and viruses as well. On SaferNet, all users are protected anywhere in the world, all the time, on any cellular or Wi-Fi network. In addition to SaferNet’s VPN and cyber protection, it also offers a range of employee or parental/family internet controls including internet filtering, monitoring, scheduling, and blocking access to websites or even entire website categories
Typically, a user would need 3 separate services for a VPN, Malware Protection, and Internet Controls; SaferNet offers all 3 features in one service. SaferNet truly is an endpoint security presence that can be implemented in minutes around the world, on phones, laptops, tablets, and computers at an economical price point that caters to all internet users. SaferNet guarantees a smooth setup and installation process that takes only minutes, and an easily accessible control hub for you to monitor all your employee’s or family members devices; including activity, time spent online, and threats blocked.