A couple of years ago, cryptocurrency was just a myth for most people. Only few knew the potential it had to transform our lives. Fast forward to almost a decade later, we’re all running to invest in the bitcoins and Ethereum. What changed?
We learned their value. But with cryptocurrencies now dominating the markets, cybercriminals have also spotted vulnerabilities in the security of this technology and are maximizing it.
Among the most common tactics they’re using to steal coins from users include:
All Internet users are probably no stranger to scam emails and ads. However, crypto thieves are taking scamming to the next level. Thanks to social engineering, hackers are now running more believable scams that are hard to spot. An example is a recent surge in Covid-19 related scams on the internet.
The attackers send you a phishing email with malicious links to phony sites purporting to support the Covid victims. Once you open the link and enter your wallet details to complete a donation, the attackers collect the information and steal your coins.
This also happens with text messages once you click a link to a malicious site.
Unsecure trading platforms
While cryptocurrencies are regarded to have one of the best securities in the market, trading platforms aren’t. And with the lack of clear security standards defined for these platforms, hackers steal tons of personal information, coins, and wallet passkeys.
In most recent cases, the hackers can overload a platform server with a DDOS attack, then use that opportunity to bypass the firewalls and access the site’s database.
The most recent attack on 2gether, a crypto wallet, is a case in point.
It’s often said that we are our own enemies – and this is true. With cryptocurrencies, even the slightest errors in your transaction details can cost you all your hard-earned coins. If you send coins to the wrong wallet or even forget your password, that’s the end of it. Imagine losing all your bitcoins because you can’t remember a password!
What’s worse, you can’t report your situation to any authority, and in some sites, you can’t even reset your password.
Malware and viruses
Another huge risk crypto owners face is the risk of malware, viruses, and ransomware. Hackers are becoming more devious by the day and are coming up with quite sophisticated malware and viruses. This makes it harder to detect them in your system, and thus, they can always collect your wallet and other financial details then use it against you.
Alternatively, some hackers ‘take hostage’ your computer by infecting it with ransomware then demand a payout. Either way, such attacks may cost you all your coins.
So, how can you stay protected?
5 Ways to stay protected
With so many security risks lurking in the cryptocurrency world, here are a few things you can do to stay ahead of the cybercriminals.
1. Observe basic security protocol
Regardless of what you’re doing online, you need to be conscious of privacy and observe basic protocols. This includes setting strong passwords for your accounts, including your crypto wallet, without repeating it on any other site, and also investing in a password manager.
You should also opt for 2-factor authorization for your wallet, and ensure you log out of your accounts every time you complete your transactions.
2. Get a VPN
The next thing you need to look into is your connection and network security. This is when a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in. When you connect to a VPN server, all your data is tunneled and encrypted, giving you anonymity when browsing and protection against snooping from third parties.
By hiding your digital footprint, it becomes harder for hackers to trace your crypto trading activities.
3. Keep your trading wins to yourself
Hackers play a game when looking for their next victim. But once you start advertising your wins, they now shift their focus to your wallets. Therefore, regardless of how many bitcoins you’ve earned, don’t post it on social media or advertise in public spaces.
The more people know about your activities, the riskier your wallet becomes.
4. Opt for cold wallets
While hot-wallets are pretty secure, you can never be too sure when an attacker will finally crack the private keys. So, instead of casting all your eggs in one basket, move some of your coins to a cold storage wallet instead.
Cold storage is simply an external wallet, one that’s not connected to the internet!
5. Work with reputable sites only
With no centralized system, it’s easy to fall into the trap of registering to a bogus crypto trading platform and lose all your coins. To avoid this, spend time finding good trading platforms. Ensure they’re certified and look at their reviews online. If possible, find someone who’s used it before and get their review.
Cryptocurrencies may be secure, but you still have to put in some work in ensuring you don’t lose all your coins. The tips above can help you secure your crypto wallet, but they’re not the only ones. Do your research and always stay informed on how to protect your hard-earned coins!