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How to Keep Your Cryptocurrency Safe

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The Ultimate Guide to Safely Buying and Selling Cryptocurrency

With cryptocurrency prices steadily rising over the years, crypto has become an attractive target for hackers and scammers. Without proper precautions, your digital assets could easily be stolen or lost forever. This guide will teach you how to secure your cryptocurrency using best practices for storing crypto safely and maintaining good digital hygiene.

Key Takeaways

  • Use hardware wallets like Trezor or Ledger to securely store crypto offline
  • Enable 2FA on all your crypto exchange accounts
  • Be extremely cautious of phishing attacks
  • Keep device antivirus updated and avoid suspicious links
  • Backup recovery phrases for your wallets to securely recover access
  • Consider using multi-signature wallets which divide control

Choose the Right Crypto Storage Method

Choosing the right storage solution for your cryptocurrency will provide the foundation for securely holding your assets. Consider the level of security and convenience offered by each option.

Method Security Convenience
Hardware Wallets ★★★★★ ★★★☆☆
Software Wallets ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆
Paper Wallets ★★★★☆ ★☆☆☆☆
Exchanges ★★☆☆☆ ★★★★★

Hardware Wallets

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Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano X provide the highest security by storing crypto private keys in a secure offline environment. However, they cost over $100 and require you to carry the physical device to send transactions.

When using hardware wallets:

  • Generate your crypto wallet with the device disconnected from the internet
  • Safely backup your recovery phrase in case the device is lost
  • Double check the recipient address on your hardware wallet before signing transactions

Software Wallets

Software wallets like Exodus provide convenience, allowing you to quickly transact on your internet-connected mobile or desktop device. However, since the private keys are stored on your software wallet, losing your phone or getting hacked can lead to stolen funds.

When using software wallets:

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  • Only keep small amounts for frequent transacting
  • Use an antivirus to scan for malware on your device
  • Make sure to backup wallet files in case you lose device access

Paper Wallets

Paper wallets involve printing out the private and public keys to your wallet and storing it in a secure physical location like a safety deposit box. As long as no one discovers your paper wallet, the funds are completely secure. However, losing or damaging the paper can make it impossible to access your cryptocurrency.

Exchanges

Leading exchanges like Coinbase and Binance make it simple to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. However, there is a long history of cryptocurrency exchanges getting hacked with customer funds being stolen. It is unsafe to store any significant crypto holdings with an exchange.

To use exchanges more safely:

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  • Enable 2-factor authentication on your account
  • Only keep crypto intended for trading on the platform
  • Withdraw to your personal wallet once done trading

By using hardware wallets for your long term holdings and exchanges only when actively trading, you get optimal security with maximum convenience.

Secure Crypto Access on Devices

In our digital era, private keys exist as files on computing devices that can connect to the internet. Securing access to your devices is crucial for keeping your crypto safe.

Use Strong Passwords

Using weak passwords on your devices makes it trivial for an attacker to compromise your accounts and steal funds.

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Tips for strong password practices:

  • Don’t reuse the same passwords – Each service should have a unique password
  • Use random password generators – To get highly complex passwords
  • Use a password manager app – To remember all your strong passwords

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

2FA requires providing two forms of verification when logging into accounts. This prevents attackers from gaining access with just your password.

Types of 2FA to enable:

  • Authenticator apps – Generate OTP codes without SMS
  • Security keys – Physical devices that connect via USB
  • Biometric authentication – Fingerprint or Face ID on mobile

Update Antivirus and Avoid Suspicious Links

Cryptocurrency thieves are always inventing new forms of malware to steal private keys from devices. Keeping antivirus software updated is crucial for detecting threats.

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Additionally be cautious about what links you click or files you download. Common infection tactics include:

  • Phishing emails – Imitate trusted identities to get login info
  • Fake crypto apps – Trick users into downloading trojaned wallet apps
  • Infected QR codes – Substitute attacker wallet address when scanned

By being vigilant and keeping your device secure, you make yourself a much harder target.

Practice General Crypto Security Hygiene

Beyond just storing your crypto properly, you need to be aware of common crypto theft tactics hackers employ and how to guard against them.

Look Out for Phishing Attempts

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Phishing involves attackers impersonating a trusted source (like your crypto exchange) through email or websites to trick users into revealing login credentials or sensitive account information that leads to stolen cryptocurrency.

Protect yourself by:

  • Double checking URLs – Attackers register fake URLs that imitate real ones
  • Verifying email senders – Email addresses can be spoofed
  • Avoiding unsolicited messages – Unexpected offers are usually scams

If anything ever seems suspicious, avoid clicking links or attachments and manually log into your account through bookmarked URLs.

Never Share Private Keys

Your crypto private keys are essentially your proof of ownership. Anyone who gains access to those keys can withdraw the funds. Private keys should never be shared except when intentially transferring ownership.

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Bookmark Exchange URLs

By bookmarking the actual URL of your cryptocurrency exchange, you can avoid falling victim to phishing site fakes. Always log in through your bookmarks instead of clicking links.

By being vigilant and verifying the sites you visit and offers you receive, you make yourself a much harder target for phishing campaigns.

Use Advanced Safeguards For Added Security

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Once you have the basics of crypto storage and device security handled, you can optionally use more advanced safeguards for further protection especially with large balances.

Multi-Signature Wallets

Multi-signature wallets require multiple parties to jointly sign and approve transactions before funds can be moved. This prevents a single compromised device or person from stealing stored cryptocurrency. Popular multi-sig wallet providers include Gnosis Safe and BitGo.

Offline Transaction Signing

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By generating your crypto wallet and transactions in a secure offline environment then transferring signed transactions to an online device, your private keys are never exposed. This is typically achieved by using:

  • An air-gapped computer – A laptop never connected to the internet
  • hardware wallet – Handheld device signs without exposing private key

While more inconvenient, offline solutions eliminate virtually all remote hacking risks.

Geographic Redundancy

Consider storing your cryptocurrency wallets and backups across multiple geographic regions. This way no single natural disaster or break-in can compromise all your assets. Having backups on different continents would be ideal.

By using advanced techniques you can achieve nearly impenetrable security – at the cost of much lower convenience. Evaluate whether your crypto holdings warrant the added precautions.

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