Cryptocurrencies (or cryptoassets if you prefer) are becoming respected and recognized for having real value as the months and years progress and the technology, community interest and investments are being developed further. This is especially apparent because there are malicious actors who steal cryptocurrencies (primarily Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also others now as well). If it wasn’t valuable then no one would want to steal it. That is why cryptocurrency security is a real issue and something that deserves your attention (that is if you own any cryptocurrency).
Unfortunately, the UX (user experience) technology has not developed to the point where using cryptocurrency is an easy process…. yet. Owning cryptoassets today requires that you study what you are getting into. You must take deliberate action to invest and protect your investments. Your cryptocurrency will not stay safe just because you are not worried about it. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
But wait! I thought that Bitcoin was the most secure cryptocurrency and that it was immutable and solidly secure? Well, you’re not wrong. The actual blockchain record and Bitcoin network is amazingly secure. However, the technology around the bitcoin network (like how you transfer or store your coins) is not secure and quite susceptible to theft.
Why Do You Need To Worry About Cryptocurrency Security?
You only need to be worried about cryptocurrency security (or “cryptosecurity”) if you own any cryptocurrency/cryptoassets… Whether or not you own $1 or $1,000,000 worth of Bitcoin/Ethereum/XRP (or any other cryptocurrency for that matter) you should definitely take precautions to protect your assets. Not doing so is like leaving $100 bill lying around at a coffee shop while you use the restroom. It’s so simple to protect that $100 bill (just put it in your pocket), but you didn’t and now its liable to be stolen. Fiat paper money would need to be physically stolen so only people in physical proximity could be culprits. In this digital age and the digital nature of cryptocurrencies, anyone anywhere may attempt to steal your digital assets.
There have been numerous attempts to steal cryptocurrency. Common attack surfaces that malicious actors will concentrate their efforts on are:
- Exchanges and hot wallets
- Cryptocurrency Phishing attempts
- Tampered Seed Phrases
- SIM Swapping Hacks and Email Hacks
- Human Error
I go into more detail in each of the above weaknesses in individual posts (you’ll be able to click on them once I have them live and linked to each item).
The “bad guys” want to maximize their payout and minimize both their effort and their chances of getting caught. In general, this means that they’ll put a lot of effort into attacking a concentrated source of crypto (i.e. an exchange or individual with a lot of cryptocurrencies) or they will make a minimal effort that is scalable (such as a phishing link or email or wallet virus), to steal small amounts of cryptocurrency from a large number of people.
How Do I Protect My Cryptocurrency Assets?
Thankfully there are good guys out there who genuinely want your cryptocurrency to stay secure. There is a multitude of ways to protect your cryptocurrency assets. Some are basic behaviour changes, being cautious, seek trusted reviews of exchanges and crypto-wallets. Avoid a new service or product until it has been tested adequately on the market. Do your research to find proper exchanges.
I have listed common ways to protect yourself and your digital assets below. I will go into more detail on each in individual posts.
- Research the best crypto exchanges
- Wallets – hold your private keys
- Secure your hardware wallet
- Real Anti-Virus Protection
- 2-Factor Authentication, the right way
- Phone security
- Email security
- Adopt good security behaviours
I wrote a post on how to protect against cryptocurrency phishing attacks. I advise that you read it and keep yourself informed and protected!
As with everything, nothing is perfect. There is no 100% protection in anything, especially in digital security. It is a constant arms race between the hackers and the developers of digital security. That is why it is imperative to protect yourself on multiple fronts. Don’t just have a strong password. Don’t only use 2-factor authentication. Don’t only use a VPN. Don’t only rely on a cold wallet. You get the idea. Protect yourself in every way possible. You worked hard for your cryptocurrency investment, so treat it likewise and protect it properly!
Let me know if you have any questions or anything to add with respect to cryptocurrency security, I would love to hear from you. Now that you have a basic knowledge of the risks and are armed with basic ways to protect yourself from attacks, take action and protect your assets!!
You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com