You don’t have to be into cryptocurrencies for too long to have heard about most of the horror hack stories surrounding crypto exchanges. Over the past few years, millions of dollars have been stolen from hacked accounts via cryptojacking, but a lot more have been lost due to hacked exchanges and unwary traders who stored big sums of crypto on the in-built wallets of the said services.
Cryptocurrency has given us one of the most important gifts of all time: full financial freedom. It’s true that with cryptocurrencies we become our own bank, as we are able to fully control what happens with our funds. However, this privilege comes with a few strings attached, one of which is the responsibility of keeping our funds safe.
Below, we have created a list of six of the most important security features you should take into account in order to ensure that your cryptos are protected.
We’ll start with the most basic security features, and also, the most overlooked one: password. It is extremely important to not get lazy with your passwords, especially when it’s your crypto funds involved. Having the same password for various accounts is a massive no-no. Furthermore, stay away from generic passwords such as “123456” or “password” or “qwerty.”
Even though most crypto exchanges don’t enforce the creation of a strong password, this should always be on your mind each time you create a new account or set up a new crypto wallet.
Hence, your password needs to be long, and it needs to contain both uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as numbers, and other special characters if they are allowed. The more complex your password is, the better is your account’s security.
Another very good practice is to update your passwords from time to time. Never go more than half a year without changing your password and never reuse passwords. Last but not least, don’t store your passwords on pieces of paper or as unencrypted text documents on your computer.
Two-factor authentication has become the norm on most cryptocurrency exchanges, and for good reason, as it is a very good security feature. It ensures an extra layer of protection for your account and funds by requiring an extra authorization process from a device, another account, or a fingerprint only you have. You simply enter the username and password, and you will be prompted to confirm your identity via an additional method (via SMS or via smartphone apps such as Google Authenticator). Pretty straightforward and quite efficient.
Encryption is defined as the process of converting information or data into a code in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. This is done with the help of a “key” that only you have. This ensures that even if your data is intercepted, it cannot be used.
One of the most popular hacking methods is a process called session hijacking. Theoretically, your passwords can be stolen via your web browser via cookies or other poorly secured services. This is why it’s important never to let your browser automatically store your passwords. Instead, use secure password managers such as 1Password or LastPass. Most of these services don’t even allow you to recover your master password, they’re so secure. Which means that you should only remember one password, and that is the master password. Another advantage is that you don’t have to write the password as these password managers can automatically fill them in for you. No typing means no actual way of hijacking.
The security of our browsers is highly dependent on features implemented by the company that provides them. However, there are still some things you can do to maximize the overall security and minimize the risk of hacks.
To make sure you cryptos stay as safe as possible, make a habit out of cleaning up after surfing sessions. Another good way to ensure that no traces remain after you’re gone is to use the Incognito mode which most modern browsers have.
A good way to ensure that you are indeed on the right website and you have not been redirected to other illicit addresses (with similar domains and similar interfaces) is to check the green padlock in the address bar of your browser.
Email security is something we take for granted nowadays, but your email is used to create most other accounts. Hence, ensuring its safety is of the utmost importance. When it comes to email security, all of the rules mentioned above apply. It’s important to have a strong password and to change it once every while. If it’s possible, use two-factor authentication (most email providers have this feature), be wary of what email you open, and always scan every email attachment.
While it is true that some operating systems are more stable and more secure than others, it’s a very good practice to ensure that your computer’s or Mac’s OS has antivirus installed. Even a Free Edition is better than leaving your computer exposed. Antivirus software allows you to scan everything that arrives on your computer’s hard drive, making it as safe as possible.
There are plenty of good alternatives on the antivirus market. Some of the best options include Kaspersky Free Antivirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, Avast Free Antivirus, and Avira Free Antivirus.
We hope that you will never be in a situation where you wish you knew these tips. By following the tips in this simple guide, you should be able to keep your crypto funds safe. Stay safe!