In this post, we will show the ultimate cryptocurrency security tips for the year 2021.
Cryptocurrency security has many misconceptions. A lot of crypto users are not bothered about the safety of their digital assets. The fact that the blockchain is said to be impossible to hack makes people think their cryptocurrency cannot be stolen.
If you are a cryptocurrency user and you have such a misconception, 2021 is the year when that should change. The security of your cryptocurrencies should be your utmost priority, and you should be vigilant in storing it properly.
You should secure your cryptocurrency the same way you would secure the money you have at home or in the bank. If you fall a victim of cryptocurrency theft due to security faults, your bank can’t save you this time.
To avoid such, here are nine ultimate cryptocurrency security tips you should keep up within 2021:
1. Use strong passwords
The issue of using strong passwords is always talked about when it comes to cryptocurrency security. As you create your crypto wallet on any crypto exchange, it is essential to use strong passwords.
A strong password is any password that is difficult for human beings or computer programs to detect what it is.
Your passwords should be 16 – 20 characters long; the longer it is, the more secure it is. However, it should not be very long to prevent you from forgetting it; a maximum of 14 characters is recommended.
A strong secure password should combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You can mix them as you want.
What you should avoid when creating your password is including any of your names or any random word. Preferably, the word used should not be in a dictionary.
There are several online password generators that you can as well use. These password generators are used to generate random secure passwords. They can save you time.
After creating your password, ensure that you store it in a safe place. A password that mixes different characters, letters and numbers might be difficult to memorize. You can write it down on a book or use a password manager tool.
2. Look out for phishing scams
Another cryptocurrency security tip you should consider is being proactive against phishing scams. This is a fraudulent activity carried out by cybercriminals to collect sensitive information from their victims.
Sensitive details of your crypto wallet such as password and private keys can be stolen if you fall victim to phishing. This type of scam is carried out with thousands everyday and people have lost countless millions due to it.
To prevent falling a victim of phishing scams, you need to be wary of them.
Phishing scams are typically carried out via mail or direct messages. You might receive an email with a message convincing you to click a link. When you click such a link, you’ll be directed to a page where you’ll be asked to enter your wallet information.
The page might look genuine, but you shouldn’t enter anything. Only enter your wallet information on your wallet provider website. You should look at the web URL and ensure it is the correct one.
Email spam filters can help a great deal in avoiding phishing scams. Be careful of what you do with an email message marked as scam by your email service.
3. Avoid storing cryptocurrency on exchange platforms
A lot of people store their cryptocurrency on exchanges, but, the practice is very unsafe. You can store small amounts of cryptocurrency on exchange platforms but not massive amounts.
Cryptocurrencies are decentralized; any authority does not regulate them. By keeping your cryptocurrencies on exchange platforms, you are merely putting them in care of a third-party. If anything should happen to them, you have no one to question but yourself.
You may not be aware but millions of dollars are being stolen in cryptocurrency on these exchange platforms.
These exchange platforms can get hacked and when they do, significant amounts of cryptocurrencies will be stolen. There have been so many cases in the past, BitStamp and Bitfinex were hacked in 2015, Mt.Gox earlier in 2012, and Binance later in 2018.
The exchanges often do attempt with their best efforts to resolve the issue by replacing lost funds but it doesn’t always happen and it should never be relied on.
Crypto exchange platforms are mainly for trading, and that is what you should stick to. Avoid using them as storage platforms.
If you are trading with the cryptocurrencies in your exchange account, then you can leave them there. Otherwise, transfer them to a secure wallet by a reliable wallet provider.
4. Safeguard your devices
The safety and security of the devices you use in accessing your crypto wallets should be checked. They can be an easy target for hackers to carry out theft actions.
Your device being hacked is synonymous with your crypto wallet being hacked. You can be robbed of every single cryptocurrency you own as the hacker will have access to all the information contained therein.
A computer Trojan virus known as the CryptoShuffler is capable of stealing your passwords and private keys if it affects your device. It does this when you copy any of these data to your clip board.
There is also the crypto-jacking virus which attacked about 850,000 computers to steal cryptocurrencies worth millions.
To prevent this and other viruses, always have a functional antivirus installed and for PCs, ensure you have a firewall enabled. Be mindful of attachments you download and what you install to avoid viruses and malware.
Also, your mobile, desktop or tablet device can get stolen or lost. If they get into the hands of another person, you are at a high-security risk. Ensure that you safeguard them in the best possible ways.
5. Use 2-Factor Authentication
2FA is another ultimate cryptocurrency tip you should utilize in 2021. A lot of crypto wallets allow 2-Factor Authentication; you should activate it if your wallet supports it.
What 2FA does: adds another layer of security to your crypto account. After entering your password, a one-time password (OTP) will be sent to your registered email/phone number.
Access to your account will only be granted if this OTP is entered. Data provided by Google in 2019 revealed that 2 Factor Authentication is 100% effective in preventing automated bot hacks.
With 2FA enabled, hackers will have a hard time trying to hack your account by using your password. Even if your wallet does not allow 2FA, you can activate 2FA on your mobile device making use of applications. Recommended apps to use include Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authentucator, and Authy.
Aside from your crypto wallets, you should enable 2 Factor Authentication on all your other online accounts if possible. Ensure that you test your 2FA to be functional after enabling it.
6. Use hardware wallets
Among the various ways of storing cryptocurrency, hardware wallets are considered the safest. Using a hardware wallet takes account privacy and security to a whole new level as they are very tough to access.
A hardware wallet is a physical wallet that stores your private account keys in a very secure circuit. It is very reliable such that it is termed impenetrable.
With your private keys stored in such a circuit, they are safe from hackers and other criminals who attempt to steal them. They will never be exposed as they are not on the internet.
Even if these hackers succeed in hacking into your account online, they won’t be able to carry out any transaction or operation because they do not have the private keys.
These wallets are secured with a PIN of 4 to 8 digits. This PIN is set up upon activation and the device cannot be accessed without it. The wallets self-destruct if the PIN is entered incorrectly 3 times.
If your hardware wallet gets lost or stolen, you can transfer the keys to another wallet using the wallet seed. Recommended hardware wallets you can use include Ledger Nano S, Trezor, and KeepKey.
7. Avoid public Wi-Fi
Accessing your crypto wallets and making transactions via public Wi-Fi is a bad idea, a nasty one. Generally, it is unsafe to access e-banking, or enter your credit/debit card details on public Wi-Fi. This is no different for your crypto accounts.
Public Wi-Fi is one the means hackers love to use in getting their victims. It is like a playground for them as it is really easy to hack people through public Wi-Fi.
When you connect your device to a public Wi-Fi, you do not know who else is connected to the same network. It could be a hacker or a cyber-thief looking for victims.
Your IP address can be monitored, and any information you share online while connected to the Wi-Fi can be stolen. Moreover, hackers can gain access to your information when you are connected to public Wi-Fi. In 2017, a man in Austria was robbed of bitcoins worth $117,000 after he connected to a public Wi-Fi. If you do not want such to happen to you in 2021, avoid using public Wi-Fi to access your crypto wallets and accounts.
If you are tempted to do such, use a reliable VPN connection. A VPN is capable of hiding your IP address and securing the data you send on the internet.
8. Crosscheck transactions
An error committed while making crypto transactions can result in a significant loss as crypto transactions are irreversible. If you send cryptocurrencies to the wrong wallet, you lose your money.
Likewise, if you supply others with an incorrect crypto wallet address, you won’t receive them, and you lose money as well. The fact that cryptocurrency transactions are easier to carry out also makes it easy for a mistake to be made.
Cryptocurrencies are not owned by anyone, the blockchain is decentralized. If you carry out any wrong transaction, there is no one to complain to. It’ll be impossible to get your money back unless the receiver is considerate.
You have to be very careful while making these transactions to avoid committing such errors. A crypto wallet address is usually very long and contains different characters; numbers and letters. This makes them very confusing.
To ensure that you do not make any mistake, do not manually enter wallet addresses. Always copy and paste them from your account.
Wallet address can be manipulated by viruses such that a different wallet address – possibly that of a hacker – is displayed after pasting. Therefore after copying and paste, still crosscheck that it is correct before proceeding.
9. Disable auto-updates
For better performances and upgrades, crypto wallets do carry out periodic updates. While these updates are made to tackle security threats, they can be a threat to your crypto wallet security as well.
This is because new upgrades sometimes come with bugs and these can lead to a significant loss if your account is affected. These bugs are sure to be fixed by the administrators, but it might take a day or more. Sometimes, they may not notice these bugs unless users begin to raise complaints.
You should disable auto-updates on your crypto wallets; they should not update automatically whenever a new version is released. Instead, do the updating task manually.
Monitor your crypto wallets for new releases. If there is any, wait for a day or three to ensure that it is safe to use and free from bugs.
2021 is expected to be a big year for cryptocurrency. To ensure that you are not taken advantage of and are following the best measures to protect your cryptocurrency, we encourage to note of these security tips and implement them as well. It also might not be a bad idea to share with others.
If you have any questions or want to add more cryptocurrency security tips to our list, feel free to comment below with suggestions.