Not a single day goes by without media reports of some hacking attempt on a bitcoin mining site, or a cryptocurrency exchange.
There are literally billions of dollars up for grabs, so it makes sense that hackers would be trying everything they can, to get hold of your crypto.
According to security experts, cryptocurrency theft is growing fast in both attack frequency and breadth of targets. According to endpoint security provider Carbon Black, $1.1 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen in the first half of 2018 alone, with exchanges comprising 27% of attacks. The remaining attacks were primarily aimed at businesses (21%), personal users (14%), and government departments (7%).
Security reports prove that even just in the first half of 2019, attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges and infrastructure have passed $480 million, making this year another huge year for cryptocurrency hacking.
If you own any bitcoin, litecoin or any of the multitude of cryptocurrencies, then I hope the above statistics have hopefully scared you into action.
In this article, I list some practical steps that you can take, starting today, to protect yourself from losing all your digital riches in some exploit or hacking attempt.
13 proven ways to protect your cryptocurrency from hackers
Be smart and take control of your crypto assets and hold everything in your own private wallet. Make sure it is super safe.
If you do hold your currency in a private wallet, or on a third party site, always ensure that you enable any available two-factor authentication (2FA) function. If you use a social network login to login to these sites, make sure you protect those with 2FA as well.
“Targeted attacks aim to get inside and inject malicious code into the crypto exchange’s source code.” says the team at Kaspersky.
Don’t go boasting on social media that you have crypto holdings. Smart hackers look for these statuses, and then back engineer ways to steal your crypto funds, even if you do everything to protect your cryptocurrency, and keep your assets in cold (offline) storage.
Another mindset to protect your cryptocurrency is to always assume that your laptop, mobiles, or tablet devices can get compromised at any moment, so treat these with caution and respect. Always enable fingerprint, face or password login on all devices.
“If you choose a hardware crypto wallet, make sure to pick a PIN which is hard to guess, and never put your 24-word recovery sheet online. Keep it on a thumb drive, stored safely in your home,” states Justin from managed it services perth company, Bekkers.
Make sure to keep your crypto and digital funds in separate locations. Please don’t keep all of your crypto assets in one place. The best way to handle this process is by having several cold storage solutions for long-term holdings, and have one hot wallet for current transactions and short term trades.
Only ever log in to secure websites that have a valid HTTPS certificate. Most legitimate websites now have one. For additional safety, you could try using browser plugins such as “HTTPS Everywhere.”
Always use a secure Wi-Fi network. Be careful to make sure that any wifi access point uses strong encryption like WPA-2. Never ever connect to your online wallet, exchange account or another critical security point via some public wifi network that you don’t trust.
If you genuinely want to protect your cryptocurrency, you should make a habit of reading up about the latest crypto exploits and hacking attempts, so you are educated on keeping your cryptocurrency safe and secure. The more you understand the role of being your own bank, the better.
Always strive for an appropriate balance between system complexity and your crypto security. If you only hold $100 worth of coins, then printing it out, sealing in an envelope, put it into a safe, storing the safe in a self-storage warehouse that requires three bits of photo ID is probably overkill.
Trust only the information that you can see on your hardware wallet screen and verify all the information on the device.
Always keep an eye out for phishing sites. Never click on a link in an email – try retyping it directly into your browser. Many bogus websites out there do a great job imitating real websites for the sole purpose of stealing your login data.
Never trust exchanges implicitly. For example, in May 2019, Binance, who everyone thought would be super safe, had a prominent hack, and lost 7,000 bitcoin worth a staggering $41 million to one hacker, alone.
At the end of the day, if you undertake standard IT security and safety, and do your best to always minimize risks, you are less likely to lose your digital funds.
It is up to all of us as individuals, to care for our money, regardless if it is in cryptocurrency or dollar notes, the best ways we can. All the best of luck!