Most often, people lose their crypto assets not because of the market ups and downs, but because they do not take security risks seriously enough. Phishing attempts, scams… as the crypto industry gains increasing adoption, it is only natural that hackers come up with new tricks to steal your assets. Below are the steps and actions that a crypto holder should do at the very least to keep their holdings safe.
Ok. Where do I start?
First of all, enable 2FA (two factor authentication) on all your exchange accounts. This will add a very good and hard to beat layer of security to your funds, even if your other personal information is compromised. Lets say a malicious party managed to obtain your username and password, the attacker would still be unable to access your account without somehow getting the 2FA code.
And how do I set up 2FA?
One of the most reliable options is Google Authenticator. Once the app is installed, every time you sign into your exchange account you’ll be prompted to enter an authentication code after your password.
Can I leave my crypto on exchanges now?
Even with 2FA, you shouldn’t do this. Filled with private user information, and large amounts of funds, exchanges are 'honeypots' for hackers. Every few months you hear of another trading platform that has been hacked somewhere in the world. Most recently, it was Zaif - yet another Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange, in September it lost about $60 million worth of cryptocurrency.
The list of examples include some of the major platforms as well. Thus, leaving your assets on any exchange, regardless of its status, is definitely a bad idea. Only leave crypto that you are planning to trade soon. Everything else that you are planning to hold for some time should be moved to a safer wallet.
Which wallet should I choose?
If the value of your assets feel like a fairly significant amount for you, consider getting a hardware wallet. While this type of wallet might be slightly less user-friendly than, say, mobile wallets - it provides the best balance of price and security. The only way for anyone to access your assets would be through physical access to your actual device or somehow getting hold of your private key. You can also put a pin on your hardware wallet for further protection. Make sure it is a unique set of numbers that doesn’t match with your passwords for exchanges and other accounts. Also, remember to change your passwords regularly, so that the chances of being hacked will be reduced.
How am I supposed to remember all those passwords?
That’s what password managers are for. They assist you in generating and retrieving complex passwords, potentially storing such passwords in an encrypted database or calculating them on demand. LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane have all proven to be strong reliable and safe password managers.
How to avoid scams?
Fake websites and emails are probably the most common way that hackers try to get a hold of your data so that they can get access to your assets. Thus, the best advice would be not to click on any miscellaneous links. Always double check URL’s to ensure you’re at the right website and it’s secure (look for https:// before a URL, the “s” before the colon is important). Never give out your personal information to anyone, don’t send your wallet address and email to people with offers that are too good to be true.
Why shouldn’t I access my account using public Wi-Fi connections?
Anytime you login to a public Wi-Fi connection, it is possible that your information can be stolen. Hackers can set up seemingly identical connections as well as use things called "sniffers" to gain access to your information.
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