One of the big draws to digital currency is how secure it is. Cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology is near impossible to counterfeit, double spend, or hack. However, that doesn’t mean traders, investors, or companies that interact with cryptocurrency are safe from attacks on their crypto.
Cryptocurrency can be stolen by hackers if you don’t actively protect yourself or your business from these criminals. It has happened before, it is happening right now, and it will continue to happen in the future.
While there is no security silver bullet that will guarantee your cryptocurrency won’t fall prey to hackers, there are security measures you can take and be conscious of to stay safer than most. Here are five security tips if you deal with cryptocurrency.
1. Work with reputable companies
As with any new technology or product, an entire industry has sprung up around cryptocurrency seemingly overnight. There are now dozens of companies around the world that deal with different aspects of crypto. The vast majority are reputable businesses, but there are fewer with a proven track record of security and a small number that are either purposely or inadvertently insecure.
For example, if you’re working with a cryptocurrency exchange, you’ll want to note its security track record. This Cove Markets guide to Coinbase and some of its major alternatives has a breakdown of major players in that area. These are some of the most reputable crypto companies around and some of them have even been the target of hackers.
There is nothing wrong with thoroughly examining a crypto company’s security record and security plan, whether you are using their products or services personally or doing business with said company. This will allow you to find the best companies in the industry to work with and bypass any sketchy ones.
2. Use the right crypto wallet
Holding on to and storing crypto the right way is one of the biggest security steps you can take. Although banks are taking steps to be able to hold crypto more efficiently, the best and most secure way to store cryptocurrency for now is in a crypto wallet. And, while the exact products may differ depending on what level you deal with crypto on, this is true for both individuals and businesses.
There are several types of wallets but they generally fall into one of two categories. First are hardware wallets. These wallets plug directly into your computer via your USB drive and store your crypto on the physical device. These are the most secure wallets because they keep your crypto info away from the internet where attackers lurk, but they are also the least easily accessible so they might not be the best option for traders or companies using crypto for transactions.
There are also software wallets. These wallets can be accessed from a single device or multiple devices but, as they are on devices connected to the internet, they are less secure generally than hardware wallets. You can use a desktop wallet, accessible from a single computer, a mobile wallet, accessible from a mobile device, or a web wallet that is accessible from any browser. These wallets are listed here in ascending order of accessibility and descending order of security.
3. Practice good internet habits
Hackers can get access to your crypto through the internet. While you can keep crypto off the web for a while, to use it right now in any meaningful way, you will most likely have to put it back on the internet at some point. This is why good internet habits and best practices are so important.
Doing things like password protecting your Wi-Fi, not clicking on suspicious emails or links, using anti-virus software on your computer, and avoiding doing any crypto-related business on public Wi-Fi are all good things to do or habits to get into. These best practices will pay off by not only protecting your crypto but all your internet activity.
4. Apply two-factor authentication
Using two-factor authentication whenever possible is a good idea too. This internet security measure is a way of signing into your accounts with both a password you create and a special, limited-time security code that is texted or emailed to you when you sign into any type of crypto-related account.
This measure adds an extra layer of security to your password-protected account, making it much harder to hack these accounts. It can also act as an alert that someone is trying to get into your account. If you receive an authentication code but you are not currently trying to sign in to your account, you know that someone else is and you can remedy the situation quickly before damage is done.
5. Keep physical safety in mind
We talk about crypto security in terms of online security in most cases but, as with online security, there is a physical security aspect to it as well. Hacking crypto doesn’t always involve complicated lines of code or complicated online phishing schemes. Sometimes, it comes down to physically protecting your devices.
If your laptop or mobile device gets stolen or someone gains access to your computer who shouldn’t have it, that is just as easy a way to have your crypto stolen as any other way. Doing things like adding security cameras or restricting access to certain rooms at your place of business will help stop unauthorized people from getting access to computers that are used for crypto transactions.
If you have crypto info on a personal device, you need to treat that device like cash. Avoid leaving it in your car, don’t walk away from it (especially when unlocked), and be aware of where your device is in places like restaurants, airports, public transportation, or hotels.
Cryptocurrency is the most secure form of currency in the world. Keeping your (or your businesses) crypto safe and secure is up to you though. By following these five tips and working with reputable companies, using the right wallet, practicing good internet habits, using two-factor authentication, and keeping physical security in mind, you can go a long way to making sure your crypto stays yours and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.