Last year, hackers stole over 530 million dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency on Asia’s leading crypto platform, Coincheck. This security breach was a major wakeup call for the whole industry demonstrating that it is not just users, but entire platforms that are vulnerable to attack. As with many things in the online world, a little precaution goes a long way in ensuring your digital safety. In the crypto-world of anonymous and instantaneous transactions, security is vital. That’s why we’ve put together this list of essential steps to help you protect your crypto wallet from cyber attacks.
Your Crypto Wallet
To understand how your coin can be stolen, it’s first important to know about the different types of wallets. You have two options for storing coins. Most people use online services where they purchase, store, and exchange coins. Its highly convenient, but also the most vulnerable to attack as all of your accounts are concentrated in one location.
You can choose to install your own wallet, which does add another layer of security, but it’s still likely “hot” or has a default active internet connection. Do note, anything connected to the internet provides hackers with an opportunity for access. That’s why many people use “cold” or offline wallets to store assets. You can use a USB drive, offline key or other options that you only connect during a transaction and disconnect immediately after.
- Two-Factor Authentication
Regardless of what you’re doing online from logging into Facebook to buying new shoes, you should be using two-factor authentication. This ensures that even if someone has access to your login information, they’d still need your phone or email account to be able to receive the code. You can also get more secure by using specific authenticator apps or specific hardware dongles.
- Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
Who isn’t tempted by the promise of free Wi-Fi? These days, Wi-Fi is everywhere, and hackers know it. Three distinct vulnerabilities include malware, man-in-the-middle attacks, and Wi-Fi sniffing. Wi-Fi sniffing is the practice of discovering key information from a computer connected to a network. Instead, create your own hotspot from your phone. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, then be sure to use a VPN.
- Use a VPN on Android and iOS
Whether you are using a mobile-based wallet or connecting through your phone’s data connection, a VPN is one of the best ways to secure your cryptocurrency. A VPN or virtual private network encrypts your data and anonymizes your connection. This strong combination deters hackers because it’s much more difficult to gain access to your personal information and simply isn’t worth their time.
- Beware of Any Downloads
Two-factor authentication and caution with downloads should be the backbone of all digital security nowadays. The problem is that hackers are getting smarter. For example, your friend’s email address may have been hacked, and you will receive an email with a link or download that may seem harmless. Unless you have strong spam filters or can recognize a phishing attack, the same thing can happen to you.
These downloads and links can contain all kinds of malware from reading keystrokes to gaining access to all your files. Be careful, most people in the crypto wallet aren’t out to steal your coin or info. But, there are smart hackers who will post links on communities like Reddit and Telegram as a bait. Instead, use file and links to check anything out before you accidentally let in something malicious.
- Keep Private Keys Offline
In crypto, you have private and public keys. The public key is the record of the currency and ensures that it can only be used for one transaction at a time. The private key is how you access the coin, and you need to make sure it is always safe. Think of it like this, with crypto you are your own bank. You not only control how the coin is used, but how it is protected.
For small amounts of crypto, it’s fine to keep your coin online. However, once you become a more serious investor, you need the safety of a cold wallet. These days, cold wallets like USB sticks and other methods work faster than ever. It’s more than worth it for your transactions to take a little bit longer to ensure the complete security of not just your crypto but also your personal information.
A Total Approach to Defend from Cyber Attacks
Cryptocurrency is a booming market that continues to skyrocket in value. In any speculative industry, there are going to be some bad actors. However, if you follow these keys steps and take a total approach to your digital security, you can protect yourself. Through using a VPN on Android and combining this with a cold wallet option, you can keep your coin safe and make the most of the exciting world of crypto