The easiest and most dangerous thing you can do in the world of crypto-trading is to take cybersecurity for granted. Make one fatal mistake, and you could find yourself losing the entirety of your money that you’re keeping in the form of Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency. The problem is, if you don’t know the risks, how can you stand a chance to defend yourself? The answer is simple; knowledge is half the battle.
1. Hide the key
When talking about cryptocurrencies and cybersecurity, one of the basic rules you need to know is how to keep your account safe. For starters, have you made sure that the private key in your account is accessible to you exclusively? If this gets out in the wild, it’s like giving the keys to your house to a random stranger in the crowd.
In case you’re like most users, you’ll be storing the key somewhere on your computer. Do you know how to encrypt it properly, ensuring that you’re the only one who can access it? Once it gets out in the wild, it’s impossible to get it back, and you can kiss your hard-earned funds goodbye.
2. Avoid Risky Cryptocurrency Exchanges
One of the factors that amounts to such mass appeal the cryptocurrencies seem to be getting is the fact they’re decentralized. There is no central bank that would oversee it, but the problem is, there is no one to help you if things get ugly either. There are no regulators. In other words, if hackers manage to break in and steal all your funds, you can pretty much kiss them goodbye.
In essence, you are forced to live with the fact that there is no absolute security to count on. The only thing you can do is pick who you believe are the most reliable and secure cryptocurrency exchanges out there to lessen the chance of disaster.
3. Use a VPN
The internet is a huge web that consists of packets of data being exchanged all the time. If you don’t know how to configure your network correctly or if you’re connecting through a public network that is not secure, you’re putting your data at risk. Yes, this includes any cryptocurrencies you might have.
If you’re not particularly technically savvy, the easiest way to fix this is to install a user-friendly VPN app. That way, no one will be able to intercept your login credentials and private keys, thus allowing your funds to stay safe and your online activities to be hidden from everyone – that includes your ISP. The latter is especially important if you don’t want anyone to spy on what you do and the cryptocurrency exchanges you’re logging in to. After all, it’s nobody’s business but your own.
4. Make Sure You’re Sending the Funds to the Right Address
Another way to scam innocent victims out of their hard-earned money is to trick them into willingly sending the money right into the hacker’s crypto address. Now, there are multiple ways of doing this, most of which involve some form of trickery.
One of the most common strategies employed by hackers is to infect your computer with malware that alters the contents of your clipboard. In other words, while you think you’re copying and pasting a legitimate address of the intended recipient, you’re inputting the hacker’s address without even realizing it. That’s how powerful this is. To combat it, make sure to scan your computer with antivirus software regularly. And always double-check before you hit that ‘confirm’ button.
Another method cybercriminals use to get you to send them money is relying on some form of threats or deceit. For example, there is the classic lottery scam that involves you supposedly winning a jackpot, completely ignoring the fact that you’ve never taken part in the first place. All that it takes for you to receive your winnings is transferring a small amount of your money in advance to cover the transfer fee – in Bitcoin, no less. Don’t fall for it.
Finally, the hackers may attempt to bully you by infecting your computer with ransomware and demanding a ransom in exchange for sending you the decryption key. This is one of the hardest ones to make a stand against, but the good news is, it may be possible to restore the files on your own by using the appropriate decryption software. But it’s best to avoid getting in such a situation in the first place, so be on your guard and don’t open unknown files or visit shady websites.
Realize that you’re responsible for keeping your cryptocurrencies safe. Hackers often like to capitalize on people’s lack of knowledge, so be sure to educate yourself and never let them win.