Only recently did the most popular cryptocurrency asset, Bitcoin, cruise to make an all year high at 12,000 US Dollars per token. This was notably high since its big break in December 2017 when the currency got to about 20,000 US Dollars per token. Since its big break in 2017, a lot of people have gotten interested in cryptocurrencies and this has resulted in the proliferation of many other crypto assets based on the ERC-20 technology, all offering several utility purposes.
The traction cryptocurrencies have made over the last couple of years hasn't gone unnoticed by cybercriminals. They have launched so many attacks, both successful and unsuccessful against several crypto wallets. The 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering report states that cybercriminals made away with over 125 million US Dollars in crypto assets – just last year.
Asides cyberattacks, losing passwords or private keys is also a big danger when it comes to storing and trading cryptocurrencies. For the typical ERC-20 type wallet, specifically on myetherwallet, once a private key is lost, the account is gone forever, including all the assets contained in it.
6 Surefire ways to keep your crypto assets safe
Cryptocurrency, just like normal fiat currency should be kept as secure as possible to prevent loss of investment. Although a number of wallet providers and blockchain technology could be deemed safe, it is advisable that crypto holders and traders go the extra mile to keep these things more secure. Outlined below are a number of ways by which this can be achieved:
Use Cold Wallet
It shouldn’t be foreign knowledge that anything connected to the Internet is definitely susceptible to hack – regardless of whatever security measures might have been employed. To mitigate this problem, the use of cold/offline wallets could be employed. These wallets come in the form of hardware devices which are often encrypted. Of all the notable hacks that have occurred in the crypto industry, hardware wallets have been the least attacked.
Storing Your Password Safely
This could be done with the use of password managers or password vaults. A number of these are extremely safe because they generate random passwords which is ideal, however, the best way of storing passwords and private keys is writing them down in a journal and keeping it away.
Install a VPN
Although common knowledge has it that VPNs are mainly used for changing IP addresses, this is however not the only function of a VPN service. The way a VPN works is by establishing a secure connection with a server, encrypting your data so no-one including your ISPs or hackers can read it. This way, personal information such as login data and bank details cannot be read by any entity looking to spy on them.
Use Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
This extra layer of authentication was introduced to secure accounts if passwords fall into the hands of an unauthorized individual. Here, after login, a One Time Password (OTP) is sent to the phone number or email address attached to the account in question. This setting can be enabled on hot wallets or trading accounts harboring crypto assets.
Avoid Suspicious Links
Many victims of phishing are people who have unknowingly clicked unsafe links or downloaded malicious attachments from their emails. These emails, purportedly sent from support or customer care of services where victims have crypto assets, are intended to retrieve the login credentials of their victims. The contents of the emails are usually about some account activity which might require a “password change” or “login”. Summarily, it is important to verify the sender of an email before even replying or downloading any attachment that comes with the mail.
Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus and antimalware software work basically the same way. They both prevent, scan, detect, quarantine and or delete any suspicious program either trying to get into the system, run on it or had previously been running. These malicious programs could either take the victim’s files hostage or snoop through them in search for sensitive information. Antivirus and Antimalware help get rid of such programs.
As technology is advancing daily, so is cybercrime. Although wallet providers are charged with the responsibility of securing funds kept with them, it is also the holders’ responsibility to look after their assets to the best of their ability.