It is that time of the year again when there is an increased interest in cryptocurrencies. That also means a surge in the price – and that hackers will once again have increased activity in this digital money niche.
Some notable hacks have already happened this year.
A most recent hack on prominent twitter accounts saw the hacker make away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin. An entrepreneur also had all of their life savings in bitcoin stolen in a phishing attack.
This is yet another time to discuss how to secure your bitcoins and other crypto wallets better so that you do not fall victim to the whims of these bad players.
Choose Hard Wallets
If you are holding a significant amount of bitcoin, we propose that you switch to hard wallets instead of the ones that can be found online.
Hard wallets come in the form of USBs which have different layers of encryption to them, preventing a hack from happening normally. They are also better protected since they are offline wallets, so to speak. Thus, normal online-based hacks will not touch you at all.
Secure your Passwords
For those that are using online wallets, your password is very important.
This is not the place to reuse passwords or pick something weak/ easy to guess. You could use online password generators to come up with strings of tough-to-crack passwords. Also, consider saving these passwords to your wallets in a password manager so that you don’t have to forget them.
Likewise, enable two-factor authentication mode for your wallets to further boost your online security profile.
Secure your Details
Whether you are using online or offline wallets to store your cryptocurrencies, there will be sensitive details attached to these accounts.
One of those is the Wallet ID. Unlike traditional online accounts where your username is something simple that you pick or your email, online wallets makeup a long string of characters to be your wallet ID. This should be almost impossible to crack and can also help create a beefier security profile.
Following that, your private keys are also as important. It is recommended that you NEVER store your private keys online. It is much better to write them down on a piece of paper offline and keep it safely stored away. Keeping such keys online could expose your cryptocurrency wallet if your storage media is breached.
Secure your Network
Public, free, and unencrypted networks are discouraged for those who hold cryptocurrencies.
These networks make it easy for hackers to snoop on you, gather internet data, and collect sensitive information about you and your accounts. Thus, a hacker could hijack your private keys, see your password or even breach your computer to access sensitive details when you are on them.
An easy way to secure your networks is by installing a VPN over which you layer your internet connection. Never access your wallets on a network you do not trust, especially if you have not encrypted such a connection personally.
Beware of Phishing
Phishing attempts on cryptocurrencies have reached a new, all-time high.
Normally, there are attacks from hackers who impersonate a high-profile individual or organization to collect crypto payments from unsuspecting users. This form of crypto theft is common on YouTube these days where several accounts impersonate names like Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and others to trick unsuspecting users.
The kind of hack recently hit twitter too – with the accounts of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Kanye West, and other high-profile individuals used to propagate the attack.
While on the lookout for those, also ensure you double-check your wallet extensions and apps before you trust them with your private keys. Google Chrome, for one, is awash with a lot of malicious crypto wallet extensions posing as the real thing. Unsuspecting users who downloaded these have lost their holdings as a result.
The relatively intractability of cryptocurrency funds means that you might not be able to get your coins back once they have been stolen. That is why it is much better to prevent such theft from happening rather than try to salvage the situation afterward.