Assumingly, by now everybody is conversant with the ubiquitous bitcoin. If you have never heard of it, don’t worry. We’ll explain to you what it means. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. You may still ask, “What is a cryptocurrency?” Well, that’s exactly where we are heading. A cryptocurrency is digital money that operates independently from banks. It acts as an alternative form of payment to credit cards and cash. Bitcoin is the original form of cryptocurrency that was invented in 2008 to emancipate people to achieve self-sovereignty over their own money. Sounds noble, right?
Well, it could be. Unfortunately, being virtual, cryptocurrencies are targeted by cybercriminals. Notably, they attract security challenges such as hacks, email scams, 51% attacks, double spending, attacks on exchanges, and wallet security issues. In this article, we will provide 7 powerful crypto security tips every beginner should know. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will navigate the cryptocurrency ecosystem without worrying about security hitches
1. Keep separate wallets
Ordinarily, in the realm of fiat money, we secure our funds by, among other ways, banking with different institutions or opening multiple accounts. In the cryptocurrency world, the same applies, too.
For the safety of your cryptocurrencies, you should store them in different wallets. There are several crypto wallets in the market, with each having different functions, features, and benefits. For example, you can choose a desktop wallet, hardware wallet, or paper wallet. Depending on your preferences, you can choose any of these, but get more than one to secure your funds.
Having emphasized the importance of several wallets, you should also be aware that the more wallets you choose, the more responsibility you have to track activity and secure the wallets.
2. Secure your account with 2FA
Of course, by now you know that strong passwords are a prerequisite for privacy, even when dealing with email addresses and phones. Now, to enhance the security of your wallet, you should activate 2FA (two-factor authentication). Simply put, 2FA ensures that once you log in to your exchange, you have to enter your wallet password and a one-time passcode (OTP) that is sent to your phone, the second layer of confirmation.
Why is 2FA effective? Assume that a hacker has accessed your wallet password. While he/she may try to infiltrate the wallet, the requirement of a one-time passcode secures your account because the phone may be inaccessible. Moreover, even if they have access to your phone, without its password, no progress can occur.
3. Avoid storing your crypto in an Exchange
Understandably, it is normal for crypto traders to have their trading funds in an Exchange because it is convenient for trading. However, cryptocurrency exchanges have, over the years, been the key targets of hacking activity. Therefore, storing all your crypto assets in an exchange is a risky decision that may leave you frustrated in case of a hack.
To be in charge of the security of your cryptocurrencies, you should consider storing them in a private wallet.
4. Use a cold storage
Admittedly, private wallets offer some degree of security when compared to exchanges. However, you will only notice the challenge with wallets when the private keys are stolen. It is then that you will discover that you can’t do much to recover them. But there is a solution – cold storage.
Cold storage entails storing cryptocurrencies offline. Simply stated the private key of your wallet is stored in an offline medium. The medium could be a QR code or a plain text file archived in a USB device. Such a measure substantially reduces the chances of hackers trawling the web from infiltrating your wallet.
The best channel for cold storage is through the use of hardware wallets. They have their private keys stored inside a hidden circuit. Moreover, these wallets come with a ‘seed’, which is essentially a physical paper that enables you to transfer keys to another wallet whenever a device is lost or stolen.
5. Keep your private keys confidential
This doesn’t sound new. Even your bank PIN should always be private. Remember, these keys could be holding your lifetime savings, but they could as well be your gateways to paucity – if you are careless.
Respective of the type of wallet you use, private keys are the most important. Since they help you to transfer your digital assets and manage your funds, they must always remain secret. So, if you want your crypto safe, never share your private keys with anyone.
6. Beware of phishing emails
Have you ever found an unsolicited message in your inbox that is so enticing but seeks to extract sensitive information from you? If you’ve never, then beware of phishing. Hackers use this technique to get very sensitive information from cryptocurrency holders by using a fake, identical version of the exchange. If you are not careful, you may share critical information that may lead to the loss of your digital assets.
Before you click on any link sent to your email address, always check the domain name. Carefully check for subtle tweaks that may go unnoticed if you give the links a sweeping glance.
Also, if the email is asking you to divulge personal information, be very cautious. In fact, if you are not sure, just contact the organization directly. Importantly, don’t use the contacts shared on the email to contact the organization. Instead, search the organization online, get their contacts, and communicate with them regarding the subject.
7. Conceal your digital footprint
Whenever you are online, you always leave a digital footprint. It can be in form of media posts, comments, cookies, and login details. If hackers access these traces, they can extract sensitive information for use in their malicious activities.
To stay safe online, you should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to conceal your identity while browsing. Hackers are always online looking for loopholes to capitalize on. But with a VPN, your browsing activity will be off-limits, thereby securing your cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency Security and VPN
A VPN enables online users to transfer their cryptocurrency or data within the confines of a private network. It conceals your IP address by taking one amongst the many provided by the service provider, making your online activity discreet.
Whenever we are online, our computers are ever sending signals to select web addresses. A VPN plays a significant role in protecting online users by making them invisible. So, whenever a signal is sent, it is transmitted to a specific virtual server, which gives it a new IP address.
With the new IP address, hackers can’t access your private data, including online cryptocurrency wallets, because the address belongs to the virtual server. Importantly, it adds a layer of security to your transactions, enabling you to trade anonymously. A VPN also encrypts your internet connection, enabling you to trade more securely.
Choice of a good VPN
Undoubtedly, there are numerous good VPNs in the market. However, not all of them have the functionalities that cryptocurrency holders demand. To get a good VPN that meets your need as a digital currency holder, you must look for one that has the following functionalities.
No logs feature
A VPN with no logs feature doesn’t leave any trace of your online activity. It will not leave a trace of the websites you visited, the transactions you did, or any downloads you made. This feature makes your online activities secure.
Kill switch feature
Crypto traders need this feature for their security online. It automatically disconnects all your devices from private or public internet until you reconnect your VPN. The feature ensures that hackers on the public internet are restricted from accessing your online activity.
The best VPN for crypto holders
As already discussed, a VPN with no logs and kill switch feature is ideal for cryptocurrency traders. Fortunately, most VPNs have these features. However, Switcherry VPN stands out from the many because it has additional features such as:
- A pre-installed ad-blocker
- Purely ads-free experience
- Gets rid of spoofing or spam calls with a pre-installed call protector
- Does not restrict daily or monthly traffic
- More than 5900 operating servers that ensure important geo-location are covered.
- The VPN app is available on Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android.
- User-friendly chrome extension
- You can use one account for Switcherry on seven devices
- Easy registration, no personal data required
- On premium subscriptions, they allow a money-back guarantee
- Friendly and attentive support team
As a cryptocurrency holder or prospective holder, you need to be careful about the security of your digital assets. Hackers are always prying on the web to get the next victim of a cyber attack. If you implement these tips, you will be guaranteed that your cryptocurrency will always be in safe custody. Above all, always trade your cryptocurrencies using a VPN. You will never regret the decision.