When investing in cryptocurrencies, the fear of waking up to news that your preferred trading platform (or wallet) has been hacked is an all-too-real scenario in today’s blockchain ecosystem. This is not simply something that should be swept under the rug, and should be tackled with a strategic and comprehensive security game-plan.
As if worrying about the threat of malicious hackers, centralized and vulnerable exchanges, and faulty wallets isn’t enough – most governments have yet to implement adequate (or any) infrastructure governing their regulation, storage, and sale. This has created somewhat of a “Wild West” renaissance that leaves crypto users and HODL’ers without assurance of much security.
Below are eight tips to keep in mind to better protect (and store) your cryptocurrency portfolio and investments.
8 Tips to Keep Your Cryptocurrency Safe
Track Your Transactions
Keeping track of your daily, weekly, or monthly transactions is a great way to know exactly how much is coming into your wallet and how much is going out. Think of this as conducting your own personal accounting audit.
We recommend utilizing an Excel spreadsheet to track transactions or utilizing a crypto monitoring tool to receive notifications anytime there has been a suspicious change or transaction in your wallet.
Keep Your Crypto in Multiple Wallets
Simply put, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Unfortunately, hacks, exchange closures, and phishing scams are rampant in today’s blockchain ecosystem. Spreading out your crypto between several crypto wallets will help ensure should that dreaded day come, you don’t lose everything.
We always recommend storing your crypto with a hardware wallet, but online desktop wallets can get the job done when proper precautions are taken. Investing a little now to buy a crypto or Bitcoin hardware wallet could save you potentially thousands (or millions) in the future.
Install Updates on Your Crypto Wallets
While cryptocurrency wallets (especially hardware wallets) are extremely secure, there are still kinks being worked out along the way. As such, you should limit potential vulnerabilities by periodically updating your crypto wallet with the most up-to-date software. Not only does installing updates provide for a smoother user experience, but they “patch” the latest bugs, vulnerabilities, and weak spots that could potentially lead to your crypto portfolio’s demise.
Always keep an eye out for the latest releases on your crypto wallet’s SSL certified website.. Do not install updates on third-party websites, as these are 100% a phishing or malicious attack. Sometimes, there is merit to waiting a day or two after an update is released to install it, as there can be bumps along the way. Don’t be a “tester,” wait for the refined product or update.
Minimize Vulnerabilities on All of Your Devices
Not only should you be installing software updates for your cryptocurrency wallet, you should be updating and securing all of your devices. This includes your laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone. Stay on top of installing important updates such as antivirus and OS updates. While these might seem like a pain to do now, they prevent future headache and loss.
We recommend that you avoid sharing devices that you conduct your trading or storage activities on with other parties. Designate a laptop, tablet, or smartphone specifically for your use, and your use only.
Use a VPN to Secure & Encrypt Your Data
You can heighten the security of your web-browsing and crypto HODL’ing experience by utilizing a secure VPN. Virtual proxy networks, commonly referred to as VPNs, are encrypted connections and networks that enable web-users to broadcast a private network over a public network via specific tunnelling and obfuscation protocols.
Simply put, VPNs ensure a private browsing experience and protect your personal information from being “eavesdropped” on. When choosing a VPN provider, pick one that does not store user logs and try to avoid free VPNs. Some free VPNs sustain their operations by selling user data to advertisers.
Avoid Clicking Suspicious Emails & Ads
If you’ve been in crypto even for a “hot minute” you have likely received an email from someone telling you that your wallet or exchange account has been compromised and that you need to input your personal information “here”.
Hackers and cybercriminals often offer solutions to common problems you might face when storing your crypto or “promotions” that seem too good to be true. A great way to avoid being tempted by “too good to be true” ads is to install an ad blocker.
Enable TwoFactor Authentication (2FA)
Two factor authentication is an extra level or security to “authenticate” that the person signing into your intended device or account is actually you. We recommend installing Google Authenticator and setting it up with all personal devices and accounts.
Google Authenticator is an app that will send you “timed” codes that expire (typically within 30 seconds to 1 minute). We generally recommend staying away from SMS authentication, as this can be spoofed and “SIM swapping” can take place.
Avoid Using Shared Networks
It is prudent to stay away from using untrusted or shared networks to conduct your trading or storage activities on. If you do, we recommend jumping back to point 5 and using a VPN to encrypt your connection.
Look, there’s already enough to worry about when it comes to protecting your crypto, so do not make it harder for yourself.
Protecting Your Crypto in 2020 Final Thoughts
With a lack of clarity surrounding cryptocurrency regulation, rampant exchange hacks, and other common scams, the safety of your cryptocurrency investments largely depends on you. Cybercriminals are only getting smarter and more creative (and persistent), and are not going to stop anytime soon (or ever).
However, should you implement and take heed to the above 8 tips, you will put yourself (and your crypto portfolio) in a good spot to stand the test of time.
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