Since its inception in 2010, cryptocurrency has grown exponentially in both value and popularity. However, this new popularity and value attract the unwanted attention of cybercriminals. In fact, $1.1 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen in just the first six months of 2018. With increasing cases of cryptocurrency theft, we’ve compiled the top 6 expert tips to keep your coins safe and protected.
- Enable 2-Factor Authorization
Two-factor authorization might seem basic and not a very high-tech way of protecting your digital assets but it is extremely important and acts as the first defense during the theft. Unfortunately, because it’s so fundamental, people sometimes forget to enable 2FA authorization on their devices, especially when migrating to a new device – don’t make this mistake. Always remember to enable 2-Factor Authorization and take necessary steps if you ever lose access to your secondary device/authenticator.
- Beware of Fake Trading Groups / Fake IDs
Online forums and niche trading groups are a place where new investors and traders can get insider tips and become a better trader – but recently, those with malicious intent have been using fake IDs to dupe unsuspecting users of their credentials and passwords. In some cases, hackers create fake trading groups and ask members for their passwords as admin.
With the rising trend in websites selling Fake ID Cards – the level of fraud-related activity has risen exponentially in the crypto world.
There is another form of scam called phishing – where one would get a message (usually from a faked email) with an external link to a fake site designed to look and act like a popular site. These sites are created to steal your username and password upon login.
Avoid these situations by simply ignoring requests from new accounts or those that look less than legitimate.
- Get a Hardware / Cold Wallet
In 2018, 6 cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked. And then 7 more were hacked in the first half of 2019. Needless to say, storing all of your cryptocurrency on an online exchange is not your best bet against hackers. An alternative to online exchanges is getting yourself a hardware wallet. Also known as a cold wallet, these are tiny USB-like devices that can be used to store your digital assets and authorize payments/transfers. And unlike exchanges, they cannot be hacked remotely.
- Be discreet
Trading has always been seen as a game of skill and foresight and the urge to brag about your trades and investments is natural. But one must control this urge and not share tales of your gains on social media sites. There is often a false sense of security and anonymity that makes people share secrets on social media and online forums but investors must understand that they’re not anonymous on the web and hackers can easily track their location and activities, making them a target.
Here’s a simple rule: If it’s something you wouldn’t tell a stranger on the street, don’t tell it to strangers on the internet.
- Use secure networks only
Public networks pose a serious threat to crypto investors and traders and should be avoided at all costs. Cryptocurrency hackers have relied on public WiFi to infect users with various kinds of viruses and malware including spyware and keyloggers that can be used to find your passwords.
If you have to make transactions, do so only on secured or private networks like your home WiFi. Experts suggest keeping a work computer connected to a dedicated private network to carry out your transactions safely.
- Don’t store your coins in a single place for too long
This advice has two important tips. First, don’t put all of your cryptocurrency in a single place. You shouldn’t depend on a single exchange or a single wallet, just like you wouldn’t invest all of your savings in a single company’s stock because unpredictable things do happen. Like with any other investment portfolio, diversifying is the safest approach.
And second, you shouldn’t keep your cryptocurrency in a single place for too long because this makes you more vulnerable. Regularly (not routinely) changing where you store your coins makes you a harder target for hackers (because you’re unpredictable).
So there we have it – the best 6 tips for keeping your cryptocurrency safe in 2019.