The cryptocurrency market shows no signs of slowing down. Despite the rough ride cryptocurrencies experienced in 2018, more and more individuals are looking into digital currency for personal and business purposes. Now that cryptocurrencies are here to stay, it is time to take privacy and security matters seriously.
Case in point: One of the biggest and most notorious cryptocurrency heists ever recorded happened in January 2018. Approximately $530 million worth of cryptocurrencies (NEM coins) were stolen from Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck Inc. after an unknown hacker group infected the system with a virus.
There are several risks involved when buying and using cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrency market is indeed extremely volatile. But worse than understanding the movements of coins in the market is losing your cryptocurrencies. If you are not vigilant in managing privacy and security, your digital currencies can get stolen.
Before buying and thinking about using cryptocurrencies, you should consider how you will store it. After all, it is your responsibility to secure and protect your digital funds.
Maintaining Your Privacy When Buying Cryptocurrency
Contrary to belief, cryptocurrency is not anonymous. Cryptocurrencies are private, but they are not entirely anonymous. Digital currencies are only pseudonymous by nature, so you can only achieve a certain level of anonymity, depending on how it is used. Below are the most useful tips in maintaining privacy when buying cryptocurrencies:
1. Do Not Reuse Addresses
Avoid using addresses for your cryptocurrency transaction over and over again. You can create a new cryptocurrency address instantly and for free—doing so will immediately boost your privacy. Stop using a platform or wallet that does not allow the creation of new addresses. With the popularity of cryptocurrencies, it won’t be challenging to find a private and secure service that lets you create a unique address for every transaction. Using a new address each time you transact will do wonders for your privacy and protection.
- Utilize a new address every time you make or receive a payment
- Use different wallets for personal and business/trading purposes
2. Have a Separate Email Address for Your Cryptocurrency Accounts
There is no need to create a unique email address for each cryptocurrency account. However, it is best not to use your regular or personal email address for crypto-related transactions. In case your regular email account is compromised, hackers will not have any access to your cryptocurrency information.
- Consider using a fully-encrypted email service provider like ProtonMail or Tutanota
- For easier access, create a separate email folder for every cryptocurrency service
3. Never Use Public Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere. While it may be tempting to use public Wi-Fi to perform cryptocurrency transactions, avoid it at all costs. If you are serious in maintaining your privacy when buying cryptocurrencies, you will never access your accounts using public Wi-Fi. Hackers can strike anytime through public Wi-Fi, so it will be better to be safe than sorry.
- Do not compromise your account by connecting to the Internet at public places, even if you are a regular at the coffee shop with free Wi-Fi
- Keep an eye on your gadgets. Do not lend your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to other people
4. Trust VPNs with Cryptocurrencies
To reiterate the importance of secure Internet connections when buying cryptocurrencies, let’s talk about virtual private networks or VPNs. The purpose of this software is to create a private connection between the server and your device. Virtual private networks put an added layer of a cyber security network because the data that goes to and from your device to the system is encrypted. The encrypted information is not reachable and readable to others, which makes it very suitable for sensitive financial transactions. Don’t risk leaking sensitive financial data with a free VPN though, you should opt for a premium VPN such as ExpressVPN (experts rate this VPN highly) when looking to buy or sell cryptocurrencies.
You can also opt for a free trial VPN to see how it works, but once you get a taste of anonymity, you will never go back to trading cryptos without one.
- A VPN is beneficial in keeping online activities anonymous
- VPN services protect your online privacy, which is crucial when buying cryptocurrencies
5. Secure Your Wallets and Devices
Digital currencies are just like real money, except that they are stored and used online. It is, therefore, essential to choose a wallet that utilizes active security measures. You should look for a digital wallet that can protect private keys through encryption. It is just as vital to protect your devices from being hacked.
- Install a premium antivirus, anti-spyware software, and adjust your firewall settings to ensure your devices are protected all the time.
- There are different kinds of cryptocurrency wallets available, but not all are equal. Choose a digital wallet that uses 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your account even if they got a hold of your username and password.
6. Protect Your Privacy with an Anonymous Browser
Unlike standard browsers, an anonymous browser like Tor (The Onion Router) keeps your location, identity, and online activities completely undetectable. Your online activities are constantly monitored by your ISP even if you are on incognito mode.
- Download and install the Tor Browser. Using Tor is similar to browsing with Firefox, so it is not complicated to use.
- You can adjust the security settings of Tor Browser from Standard, Safer, and Safest.
- For better results, connect to a virtual private network before using any anonymous browser.
7. Do Not Keep Your Codes and Keys Online
It might seem old-fashioned, but it is better to save your keys and codes offline in a secure place instead of saving them online. We usually keep passwords, codes, and other essential data on our laptop or smartphone. Hiding sensitive information in a folder named “movies” does not guarantee safety since hackers are brilliant in searching for electronic information.
- Encrypting an online folder does not keep your information secure from a determined hacker.
- Invest in a strongbox or utilize a bank vault to store physical notes of codes and keys safe.
Securing your cryptocurrencies is the best way to make the most of your digital currency investment. Hackers are always waiting for the right moment to attack. But with a lot of common sense and the right tools, you can protect your privacy when buying cryptocurrency.