Cryptocurrency came a long way since 2009 when Bitcoin was introduced as the first decentralized Cryptocurrency in the world. Bitcoin couldn’t become a universal currency like its creator (and users) envisioned. But it did become a predecessor of several new cryptocurrencies. Today, there are more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies (also called altcoins) available. Apart from Bitcoin’s example, advances in blockchain technology are crucial in creating and sustaining these cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin is exciting and revolutionary, but it’s also a hotspot for hackers and other dubious “digital” entities. It should be clear that ledgers and Blockchain are intrinsically very safe, but how people use it, usually offer weak links for hackers. This is what we will focus on today: How crypto owners can adopt good security practices and keep their digital assets safe.
Five Cybersecurity Tips
Most good digital security tips are associated with the crypto transaction and handling digital wallets. Because even if you choose the best available hardware, software, and crypto exchange, you might still be vulnerable because of an insecure internet connection or if you are trading with someone dubious.
1. Encrypt Your Transactions
The very first thing you can do to make sure your transactions are secure and your channel for buying/selling and storing Cryptocurrency are safe, is to use a VPN. It creates a secure channel and encrypts your data, making it very difficult (almost impossible) to intercept. It can also help protect you from malware and worms that can ride your to-and-fro data movement with another crypto trader or an exchange.
And it will protect you beyond crypto as well. You will be protected from phishing and your IP address from being revealed, and your information disclosed. But if you don’t want your VPN working full time in protecting your online activity, you can specifically direct it to just encrypt your crypto related activity. That will ensure that the secure channel is explicitly covering and protecting your crypto. VPNs also come in handy for crypto owners that need to hide their activity from monitoring (government) agencies.
2. Use a Secure Wallet
Each crypto owner has their own preference for a crypto wallet. There are two common types: A hot wallet that is connected to the internet and a cold wallet, that’s essentially offline. Many crypto accounts that you create with an exchange come with a wallet, but not everyone is equally secure. So if you are choosing for a hot wallet, a crypto exchange wallet, or a digital wallet that’s either connected to your PC or your smartphone, make sure that the device is as secure as possible. And you get online with a reliable internet connection.
Safer still is a cold wallet. Like Ledger Nano X (Or Nano S), one of the most revered physical/cold wallets. It’s a USB like a device that can be connected to your computer to transfer the crypto. Another way to protect your crypto can be saving it on an offline machine (PC or a SmartPhone) that can’t establish an online connection, and thus, will remain immune to digital encroachment.
3. Employ Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentications or two-step Verification (also written as 2FA) is an important safety feature that you should use with all your online accounts (social networking, banking, official, etc.). But it’s especially useful and important for your crypto wallet. It ensures that only you can log in to your device, and even if someone has obtained your and password through phishing or hacking, they still can’t get in your wallet and abuse your Cryptocurrency.
Blockchain transactions are irreversible, so you don’t want to leave anything to chance, and 2FA can help you with your security. The most common 2FA method is the generation of a One-Time Passcode (through Google Authenticator, Yubikey, or SMS codes). This ensures that the password isn’t the only thing you need to get into your wallet; you will need another device or account to receive the OTP, which adds another layer of protection.
4. Operating System and Browser
Operating systems and browsers are also two main elements that you need to consider for crypto security. While most people prefer to stick with the more commonplace and user-friendly operating systems like Windows or Mac OS, some serious crypto users opt for Linux for better security. There is a specific Linux variant for crypto, called cryptocurrency OS.
Even if you aren’t opting for that, make sure your windows are updated, you have proper antivirus and firewall in place, and you don’t connect external devices to your computer without first scanning them. While most commonly used browsers have widgets and add-ons to facilitate crypto trading and augment security, a dedicated browser for crypto (Brave) is currently considered one of the safest browsers for crypto trading. A VPN can help you cover many of the weaknesses and potential failure points of a browser’s security.
5. Use a Strong Password
This is also one of the digital security habits that you should employ across the board. All of your passwords should be secure. The typical guidelines of a strong password are that it should be long, contain letters, special characters, and shouldn’t be a phrase, word, name associated directly with you. If someone can guess your password, your crypto wallet is just as vulnerable as it would be with a small password that can be hacked through brute force.
While 2FA provides additional security, you should focus on your password’s security as well. Don’t click on any unfamiliar links, don’t log in to insecure websites, and if you are logging in from someone else’s or a public device, use incognito mode or clean history so that your password doesn’t get stored.
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” It’s something that everyone should understand about cybersecurity. There is no single universal cybersecurity solution, and no system is completely impervious. Adopting good cybersecurity practices means that you will minimize your risk of being hacked, private information from being stolen, and crypto from being robbed. As we move forward in the digital age, where crypto might as well be an alternate currency (traded and exchanged just like any other currency), good digital security practices can help you protect your assets and wealth.
And that means taking every precaution. From setting a strong password to investing in the right VPN, every security decision you make will impact the safety of your Cryptocurrency.
TheBitcoinNews.com – Bitcoin News source since June 2011 –
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