Online transactions are prone to hacking, phishing and all manner of tampering. This has been taking place for a long period of time. However, with increased adoption ,of digital transactions, the trend has continued to grow. On the internet, any process can really be hacked with right skills, hardware and time. There are people who have literately dedicated their life for doing that.
In crypto word, this happens every day. It is expected as the technology grows, more sophisticated ways of storing and securing digital assets will emerge. However, hackers are also expected to be more sophisticated. There are some simple and straightforward ways you can to protect your digital assets; crypto coins.
NOTE: anyone, even a pro can be hacked. But with some careful considerations, we can reduce the risk considerably.
First and foremost one of the ways hackers can have access to your information such as email address and password is when you log into an exchange, wallet or any platform really that looks like the real website but it’s not. Phishers can change a letter in the URL and if you are not careful you click on it. For example, instead of clicking www.google.com, you click www.goog1e.com . Notice the slight difference between the two, ‘l’ and ‘1’. When you are in a hurry or just absent-minded, you might miss the first and click the second. When you do, they can easily access your password and email and do unimaginable damage. To prevent such, it is advisable to bookmark websites you use to access your financial information- be it online banking, PayPal, crypto exchanges or online wallets. That way you do not need to search whenever you want to log in. Also, ensure the URL has a Green padlock at the beginning, with words ‘secure’. Also check for SSL certificate HTTPS, not just HTTP.
For Ethereum transitions, you can use Metamask which you install on Google Chrome browser as an extension to enable a secure transactions environment. Another one is Cryptonite a browser extension that protects users from phishing scams. It blocks known phishing websites and even fake social media accounts.
2 facto authentications involve logging in with both password and a code that is sent to your phone. This is mainly used by online banking, Paypal etc as well as crypto.
Better still you can use Google Authenticator, which is considered to have a higher security level than SMS. You can download from play store.
Don’t keep your coins in exchanges
Exchanges are prone to hacking. Many of them have been hacked in the recent past. Many exchanges store your private keys and therefore when a hacker gets access to them they can empty your account. For traders, it is easier and convenient for them to have some amount in exchanges for ease of access. If you are not a trader, just store your digital wealth in your own wallet. You can keep some of your coins in cold storage while others in hot wallets (wallets that are connected to the web). You can also invest in hardware wallets such as Trezor or Nano ledger. Another tip would be to have more than one wallet, whereby one is used for transactions and the other for storing the coins. Therefore when you receive coins in one wallet, you transfer to the other.
Don’t share or use private keys
In the same line, you don’t need to log into your wallet to check your account balance. When someone sends you some crypto or when you want to check your balance, you can use sites such as blockexplorer or etherscan using only the public key and not the private key. Public keys are also the ones you use when you want to send someone your address in order to receive payments. Since public keys are, well public, if someone has access to your private keys they can empty your wallets easily. The rule of the thumb is: if you do not have private keys for your crypto wallet, you do not own the coins.
Others security aspects to take note of include:
Be careful of web wallets. Web wallets are hosted and secured by third parties. The good thing with web wallets is that they are easier to use but also prone to hacking. Do your research before deciding to use them. Read reviews about them especially on online public forums such as Reddit and Bitcointalk or Telegram. Basically, online communities are a great source of latest information about blockchain and cryptocurrencies; it would be good to check them from time to time. You can join our Telegram community for updates on crypto related information.
Any other tips i have left out? please share on the comments section.