The 2020 Guide to Better Cryptocurrency Security for Users

Some of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency world have been had by hackers in the past. It is much more concerning that these are some of the biggest exchanges – yet they fell to scams running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Given the very nature of cryptocurrencies, it is almost impossible (if not impossible) to know who stole those funds, and where they are headed. That underlines the need to ensure the safety of your coins before anything happens to them at all.

In this piece, we discuss some of the common scenarios leading to the loss of cryptos – and how you can make sure they never happen.

Scenario #1 – Phishing

Phishing attacks remain the biggest social engineering hack out there, and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

The hacker poses as a trusted cryptocurrency service (this could be your wallet provider, exchange, etc.) to send you a message. Such a message will usually contain a link that is supposed to take you to your account. What the user does not know is that such links have just been cloaked to look like the real thing.

Any information entered on such links – usually login details – get stolen automatically and sent back to the hacker.

Do these to stay safe:

  • Never click on links in emails and texts

  • Do not download unsolicited attachments

  • Install antivirus software to scan links and attachments before accessing/ downloading

  • Type out links in your browser yourself. It is better to bookmark your preferred services, only accessing them via the bookmarks

Scenario #2 – Data Hijacking

Internet data is always streamed from your device whenever you do anything on the internet. Who sees this data is very important.

The data can be analyzed by someone who knows what they are doing to see all that you are doing on the internet. This includes all the websites/ apps you interact with, and how you interact with them. This is why we do not subscribe to the idea of using public Wi-Fi networks, no matter how great they seem.

If you are using/ keeping cryptos of any kind, make sure to always trust your connection before carrying out any transactions.

Do these:

  • Never connect to public Wi-Fi networks

  • Download a VPN app to encrypt your internet connection

  • Change your default Wi-Fi network name and password

  • Don’t use free Wi-Fi networks either. You never know who might be snooping

Scenario #3 – Wrong Storage Practices

With cryptocurrencies, you are your bank. That means that you have the choice of where, when, and how to store your funds. That is usually the biggest undoing for a lot of people also.

We believe that everyone with any crypto holding – no matter how small – should know all that they can about the various storage options out there.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Never keep your coins on an exchange. They are known to get hacked

  • Only choose trusted wallet service providers

  • Know which works best for you between hot and cold storage wallets

  • Keep your private keys safe and secure

  • Never store your recovery phrase/ private keys online

Scenario #4 – Wrong Handling Practices

Sometimes, users can get it all right only to lose their coins to poor handling practices. That does not have to be you.

As mentioned above, being your bank means that you authenticate and approve all transactions without the need for a third party. This is awesome – unless when it is not.

So that it doesn’t get to the ‘not’ category, we have a handful of tips for you to embrace:

  • Never type out wallet addresses. Copy and paste them to prevent mistakes

  • Double-check addresses before sending/ receiving cryptocurrencies to them

  • Verify the authenticity of the person you are trading cryptos with before you make any deals with them

  • If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is

  • Only trade your coins on trusted and verified platforms. Even then, be wary of the people you meet there

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