Keeping Your Crypto Wallet Safe

The greatest advantage of Blockchain technology (upon which cryptocurrencies are based) is its decentralization. However, lacking a central authority means that individuals have greater responsibility for protecting their transactions and wallets.

Technically, a crypto wallet does not store your coins; it holds the private key that lets you make cryptocurrency transactions online. The private key is your unique digital identity and anyone who gets to know it can fraudulently transact as you, and that’s really terrible given that Blockchain transactions are irreversible.

Historically, there has been numerous news of crypto wallets and even exchanges being hacked. In fact, 2019 was a record-breaking year that saw the loss of at least $292,665,886 in cryptocurrency to hackers. One of the most notable hacks occurred in July, breaching the accounts of thousands of GateHub’s customers.

The times are hard now, and cybercriminals are forever-advancing in skills and expertise. In order not to fall, victim, there are certain precautions you must take.

Store your keys offline

Storing your private keys offline is as simple as writing them on a piece of paper that is kept safely, but that could be dangerous as the paper can get missing or destroyed, locking you out of your accounts forever. A more viable alternative is a cold wallet which is a hardware wallet, a small (USB-like) device that stores your private keys.

Cloud wallets have their own advantages but a serious disadvantage is that they are prone to cyber hacks. Cold wallets such as those provided by Ledger, Bitlox, and Trezor come encrypted and don’t connect to the internet. Hence, your keys are safe unless you somehow lose the wallet. Before you buy one, though, keep in mind that cold wallets have supported tokens.

Access the internet securely (VPN)

When making crypto transactions, only access the internet via secure networks, especially if your wallet is software-based. By all means, avoid public networks; they can never be trusted.

When accessing the internet too, use a VPN as an additional security layer. A VPN masks your IP address with a virtual one that allows you to access the internet anonymously, making it difficult for hackers to track your online actions. However,

Keep multiple wallets

Diversifying your portfolio mitigates the effect of any breach to your account. Keeping multiple wallets is particularly necessary if you make frequent transactions. You can have one wallet to hold the small funds you need to transact daily, while the rest is secure in a separate wallet. You can create as many wallets as you deem necessary.

Secure your PC

Viruses, malware, and phishing attacks, etc. are so rampant now, and you can only do yourself good by using a strong anti-virus and firewall to avoid hackers tampering with your device. Likewise, keep your anti-virus software up-to-date at all times as it improves the level of protection to handle new attack modes and vulnerabilities.

That should do, but a greater level of security would be substituting your OS for Linux, which has proved a more secure choice. Also, be careful when browsing as to avoid suspicious and unknown links, which could be leeway for attacks.

Password security

Your crypto wallet holds your sensitive personal details and also your money, and so your security must be top-notch. Use a unique password for your crypto wallet; if you have multiple wallets, use separate passwords for each. Also, avoid making any of your personal information (date of birth, age, a relative’s name, etc.) as your password. Your password should be something you can easily remember but which another person cannot guess.

To make your account more secure, use multi-factor authentication. Even if someone gets your password and tries to access your account, they wouldn’t be able to do so until they supply a time-bound dynamic code accessible to you alone through your phone. Popular authentication apps include Google Authenticator and Authy.

Have a backup ready

What if your wallet does get hacked? The solution to that must come before, not after, and it is that you should have multiple backups of your wallet. In case of any unforeseen calamity, you can then easily gain access to your wallet and restore data.

Also, once such an event happens, you should move the wallet data and your funds to a different wallet while you destroy all prior copies and create new backups.

Conclusion

With cybersecurity, you can never be too careful. You can only achieve true security by blocking all known loopholes and being cautious with your online activities. Likewise, update yourself with security news about the latest attack modes and prevention strategies.

Remember that you are solely responsible for your own security, as no third party is involved, being a decentralized system. Following the precautions above is a sure way to keep your crypto funds away from prying eyes and malevolent hands.


Daniel Moayanda is a content writer, thought leader, and Entrepreneur. Founder of SEOorNothing.com, a digital marketing agency that provides topnotch web content, white-hat SEO strategies, and other online marketing-related services to help businesses rank better on search engines. 


What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?