One question he gets asked me over and over again whether I’m on small meetups or large gatherings such as weddings – have you invested in Bitcoin? Basic Online Security Guide for Cryptocurrency Beginners.
This conversation just does not stop here. Cryptocurrencies such as Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin immediately follow up in such conversations.
On the one hand, investments can be very lucrative, but on the other hand, you can lose all your funds overnight while being at the market high.
It sounds abrupt, isn’t it?
Security is a growing concern that the cryptocurrency community is facing today. The new wave of hackers, malware, ransomware, and scams have turned the virtual world into a war zone that is reeling from financial threats.
This situation is simple in essence. If you do not know what you are doing, then you are leaving your money on the table.
Basic Online Security Guide for Cryptocurrency Beginners:
1. Password manager
Security starts and ends with passwords. Because there are many cryptocurrencies in which you can choose to invest, you can use multiple wallets at the same time.
Managing multiple accounts means having multiple passwords. You may not have the same passwords for all accounts. Even today a ten-year-old person will not make this mistake.
Also, the need to remember multiple passwords can cause one of them to slip through your mind.
A password manager is required in these cases. That’s all you need to remember a password – known as a master password. All other passwords are randomly generated, are strong, and therefore, highly secure. You can also change these passwords if you have a cyber attack on your wallet or exchange. Moreover, your data is encrypted and only you can access it with your master password.
You can go here with Dashlane, as it is a powerful choice for this purpose. It integrates with your browser to enter passwords directly on websites with the click of a button. They also offer iOS and Android apps and all your passwords are in sync. Of all the password managers I’ve tried over the years, Dashlane clearly stands out.
After installing Dashlane, you can also import existing passwords into your browser. Another good feature of Dashlane is the safe storage of notes. Because a lot of crypto websites require us to copy-paste the private key for login (which is not the best thing to do but we have limited options for now), you can use Evernote or Google Docs You can store it on Dashlane instead. This app also has some other features. However, I will let you find it out yourself.
2. Two Factor Authentication
Although it is necessary to have a strong password, this may not prove sufficient in the case of sophisticated cyber attacks like Brute Force.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) helps to deal with such scenarios by adding another layer of security to the login process. The act of entering a password is clubbed with a piece of information that only the user will have. This can be a token number that they can see on their smartphone or a one-time password (OTP) sent to their email.
This makes it very difficult for potential attackers to steal your data as they require physical access to your smartphone or log in details of your email address.
There are 3 types of authentication factors that can be used:
- Knowledge Factors: Something that only the user knows (assuming that he has not shared this with anyone else). These may include a password, PIN, or the answer to a secret question.
- Possession Factors: There is something that is physically present with the user, such as ID card, smartphone or token number.
- Biometric Factors: Something that is a user. They are also known as Inherence Factors, these are individual features that are unique to the user such as a fingerprint, face or voice. This can also include behavioral patterns such as keystroke dynamics.
How can you implement Two-Factor Authentication or 2FA with the help of Google Authenticator? Follow these steps:
- Log into your cryptocurrency wallet or exchange account and enable two-factor authentication with the respective options in the settings.
- Download the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone from Google Play or App Store.
- Launch the app and click on the Red Plus sign in the lower right corner.
- Choose from the options to scan the barcode or enter the key provided manually. Select the appropriate option that is found with the option you see on the website of the wallet or exchange.
- Put the 6 digit token number you see on the app on the Exchange/wallet website or app.
- 2FA Authentication is now set up for your account. Follow this procedure every time you log in.
If you’re looking for an alternative, Authy is another great 2FA app available for both Android and iOS app stores.
3. Cryptonite Google Chrome Extension
If you are not yet aware of phishing websites, then it is time to do your homework.
A Phishing Website, also known as a Spoofed Website, is a fake website that makes you believe that you are on a legitimate website. It has all the features of the website you wanted to visit, including the design and login feature.
As soon as you try to enter such websites, you are handing over sensitive information to cybercriminals. This is what happens when you visit fake social media accounts of acclaimed wallets, exchanges or cryptocurrency experts.
Cryptonite is a dedicated Google Chrome extension that can protect you from such fraudulent websites. It comes with a Metacart icon that is installed on the browser toolbar, and every time you visit a genuine cryptocurrency website or social media account verified by Metacart, it changes to green over time. It gives you complete peace of mind and saves you from the hassle of doing background checks yourself.
If the icon does not turn green, it indicates that that particular website or social media account does not exist in Cryptonite’s database and therefore, you should be very careful in moving forward.
This extension is highly safe and reliable to use as it has been developed by a group of engineers who have developed official Google Chrome extensions for Yahoo, Paypal, eBay, and Google.
One important thing to note here is that this extension only works for cryptocurrency-related websites and social media accounts. No regular website will trigger the icon. On the other hand, it also maintains a database of known phishing websites and automatically blocks them.
All these features make it a one-of-a-kind and dedicated browser extension, which is essential for both newbies and experienced cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
4. Adblocker chrome extensions
The internet is completely filled with fishy advertisements and to avoid this, it becomes mandatory for you to install Adblocker on the browser. If your browsing history includes widgets from authentic online cryptocurrency resources, you are bound to see unending advertisements related to bitcoin investment and wallet sign-ups.
Adguard Adblocker is one of the most highly rated Google Chrome extensions that can be used for this purpose. It not only works with search engines but also blocks advertisements on social media platforms and YouTube.
Thus, it gives you higher security as well as a better user experience.
If you want to level up your security, you can switch your browser from the Brave browser.
Brave is one of the most reputable browsers that respects your privacy. It comes with a built-in ad blocker, HTTP everywhere and other features that are most suitable for cryptocurrency-related activities.
5. VPN or Tor browser to remain anonymous
So far you’ve learned how to protect yourself from password management, trackers, ads, and phishing sites. Now, the next and most important thing is to secure your IP. Even the smartest people don’t really pay attention and fall prey to smart hackers. Your IP dress is one of the first things a hacker needs to do when trying to hack your system. Your IP The best thing you can do is to use a tool to hide or randomize, especially for people like you who travel a lot and use public Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet. Using a VPN or Tor browser will help hide the websites you are browsing. That way, you’re protected from the hacker’s leading eyes, which are constantly monitored by unknown crypto users.
Tor is the best browser in the world when it comes to gaining anonymity on the Internet. While the virtual private network also does a satisfying job of hiding your IP address, the VPN provider knows your IP address and can direct your Internet traffic to the VPN server.
However, Tor takes the game to a different level altogether. It routes your signal through several nodes. Each node only knows the IP address of the adjacent node. Therefore, at any point, no one can know the details of the entire chain and cannot access your IP address.
Let’s look at the complete comparison between TOR and VPN in the table below, which will help you make the right choice according to your needs:
Although the transactions on the blockchain are anonymous, the IP address of the computer through which the transaction is done may leak your details. VPN or Tor helps to deal with it by masking your IP address and making you completely anonymous on the Internet.
You can visit Tor’s official website here to download the browser package.
If you are looking for a reliable VPN, then IPVanish, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN are great options.
6. Hardware Wallet for storing cryptos
If you are using the built-in wallet provided by cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges, then you are making a serious mistake. Such wallets are always susceptible to cyber attacks.
Recently the popular cryptocurrency wallet NiceHash was breached, where cyber thieves stole $ 63 million dollars worth of bitcoins in a robbery! And there was nothing that their users could do except seeing their investment disappear within seconds.
First things – let’s look at the basics.
There are mainly two types of crypto wallets:
- Hot Wallets
- Cold Wallets
Crypto exchanges and trading platforms are hot wallets. Although it is easy to deal with them, they are also highly insecure and you do not have access to your private key. If that exchange gets hacked or they decide to stop, then you lose all your crypto assets stored on that particular exchange.
What motivates me to say so? Statistics!
The total value of cryptocurrency hacks and fails is $ 1 billion as of January 1st, 2018.
I am sure you do not want to add your cryptocurrency portfolio to this catastrophe.
Cold wallets come to your rescue because they are not connected to the Internet. And something that cannot be marked on the map cannot be stolen.
Although there are different types of Cold wallets, hardware wallets are the most popular. A hardware wallet is a tangible physical device that is kept offline but it can be connected to the Internet and can be used whenever needed. They are completely hack-proof because every transaction requires you to press a button on the device. I never heard of a hardware wallet hack.
If you are looking for the best hardware wallet, then Ledger Nano S is the most popular option in the market. It supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, New, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, and some other currencies. You can see the complete list here.
This device is known to be completely tamper-free and water-proof and comes with a strong design. It uses some powerful cryptography standards to provide you with round the clock security.
Using antivirus – wrap the post with the basics! You would be surprised to know how little this step is traded among traders.
As discussed earlier, the virtual world suffers from powerful malware and ransomware that can steal your coins even before you know. Even a basic key logger can track your keystrokes and steal the password of your email or cryptocurrency wallets.
Thus, having a proven antivirus to back you up can do much more to protect your portfolio. This can protect you from identity theft.
Kaspersky and BitDefender are the major options when it comes to paid antiviruses. Their database is constantly updated to provide cover against all the latest vulnerabilities.
When it comes to the volatile market of cryptocurrencies, mere investments are not enough, although they seem simple. You have to be smart. There is no point in making this pile of fortune if it can be taken away in a second, literally.
The future of cryptocurrencies is brighter than the sun and the story is just beginning. This is the perfect time to enter the market and is an opportunity that, if missed, can make you feel remorseful for the rest of your life.
After all, in the words of Bill Gates, “The future of money is a digital currency.”