How To Keep Bitcoin Safe
With the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reaching a peak price in recent years and with over 300,000 transactions a day, there has been an increased number of attacks by hackers. The most targeted wallets are the cryptocurrency users who are new to the system and may not know to keep their wallets secured from hackers. Hackers use several methods to gain access to the user and steal the funds with methods such as virus infections, malware, spyware, phishing, and more.
Although the transactions on Blockhain technology are based on modern technology systems making more difficult for hackers to steal Bitcoin, it doesn’t guarantee 100% security and you still need to keep your Bitcoin wallet safe. Cryptocurrency exchanges are becoming a target too with several attacks with more than $1.2 billion stolen in the first quarter of 2019. And on this article, we will share the best tips that will improve your wallet’s security and keep it safe from hackers.
1. Protect Your PC
Keeping your Computer secure is very important in order to use a hardware or digital wallet. Effective protection will keep your computer clean and safer from viruses, spyware, malware, and more. Any infection with any of these malicious programs could lead to catastrophic results for your PC and all of its data. Hackers would be able to access your wallet, credit cards, emails, and other essential data in your computer that would be stolen and causing severe damages for you. But, you can prevent these with the right actions by using anti-virus, backing up your system, keeping your computer updated, and below are the most important tips for keeping your PC safe.
Antivirus is a software program designed to keep your PC safe from getting infected with viruses, spyware, malware, and more security features offered. It also offers advanced security features by scanning your computer automatically or manually to find malicious threats. They offer other features like firewalls, browsers extensions that protect you while you’re browsing the internet. Some of the most popular and recommended Antivirus Softwares such as Malwarebytes, AVG, Eset, Avira, Kaspersky, , Bitdefender.
Web browser known also as a browser is a software program for accessing the websites known as the World Wide Web. Keeping your web browser updated with the latest version is primary to start browsing the internet. Most of the browsers offer security features as blocking access to malicious sites, disabling pop-up windows, malicious scripts. Other features as camera and microphone disabled and blocking them from running automatically, they block plugins and add-ons from being installed automatically. Some of the most popular and recommended browsers are Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Microsoft Edge.
By using legal software for various programs you keep your computer safe from pirated software. Using illegal software it’s too risky for your computer even they’re free to use. Illegal software is more likely infected with viruses that can damage your computer and besides that using illegal (pirated software) is against the law. It’s recommended to always use legal software and keep them updated with the latest versions to keep your funds and the computer secured.
Back-Up & Encrypt
It is advised to not keep any personal data such as passwords, credit cards as they are very sensitive information. However, if you feel that you need to store them on your computer is recommended to back up your computer in case any infections or hardware fails. Encrypting the information in your computer on an external device is suggested so all of your sensitive data would be protected with encryption in case your computer gets infected.
2. Use Hardware Wallet
A hardware wallet is a safer way of storing your crypto funds in a secure place as it’s less exposed to hackers. With a hardware wallet not connected to the internet and eliminating the risk of getting infected with phishing, viruses, malware, and more. A hardware wallet is connected offline and you can store your Bitcoins in a hardware wallet or on a USB drive device. If you’re holding a large number of funds in your cryptocurrency wallet it’s recommended to move your funds in a hardware wallet. They don’t compromise your security since your private key is stored in your device and cannot be infected. We also have our top 10 crypto wallets recommendation on this site if you needed help to finding one.
The hardware wallet is accessible through mobile or computer devices and to send funds to someone else, you have to connect the hardware wallet on your computer or pair your phone with Bluetooth. Hardware wallets as Ledger Nano X and Trezor are the most popular hardware wallets with multiple features. They offer security features as PIN Number and a recovery seed to reset the PIN in case you forgot the PIN and an encrypted backup system. And maximizing the security of your wallet and keep it safe from the hackers.
3. Activate Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an additional level of security to your wallet configurable with a phone number or a QR Code. 2FA asks for a code number after the password field is completed and you can access the wallet with a code number sent in your phone number, email address, or with a code number generated by QR Code apps. Two-factor authentication makes harder for attackers to access your wallet because knowing the victim’s password is not enough to access the wallet. To set up two-factor authentication you need to use apps for QR Code readers such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Authy. Digital wallets as Blockhain, Coinbase, MyEtherWallet offer two-factor authentication for its users.
How does Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) work?
1. You enter the username and the password on the website you’re logging.
2. After entering the correct username and password it shows the field to write your 2FA code.
3. A code number is sent to your email address, phone number messages, or voice call, or generated by your QR Code application on your phone.
4. After passing the two-factor authentication process with the code you can access your wallet account.
Don’t use Email or Phone Number
Using your Email Address or your Phone Number for authentication is not recommended as hackers can gain access to your account if your email address is hacked. Using a phone number for verification is not recommended as you hackers can use the method SIM Card by calling your phone number provider asking them to send a new sim card. With this method, hackers have access to your phone messages and can receive the code number for two-factor authentication and thus stealing your funds in your wallet.
4. Keep the Private Key Safe
A private key is a 256-bit long alphanumeric password number generated after creating your wallet. The private key is used to send and receive Bitcoins from another account and private keys start with number 5 first. A private key is similar to the key below: “5Kb8kLf9zgWQnogidDA76MzPL6TsZZY36hWXMssSzNydYXYB9KF”. The private key must be kept secret and not sharing it because revealing the private key is equivalent to giving them control over the bitcoins secured by that key.
You should always back up your private key and protect it in case your private key is shared or you forget the key and don’t remember it. Because if you lose access to the private you cannot send Bitcoins nor you can receive Bitcoins from someone else in your wallet. It’s recommended to not store the private key in your computer or phone as it can get hacked. The recommended method is writing down the private key on a piece of paper or buying a crypto fire proof key made out of steel. A example of these can be found at sites like cryptokeystack.com
5. Different and Strong Password
When you set a password for your wallet make sure you use as many characters you can and don’t include birth names, phone numbers, your name, or personal information. Make sure to use a password which it’s harder to spell with combinations of symbols, letters, numbers, and password generators that are helpful by generating a strong and mixed password. Write your password somewhere safe and don’t save your password in your browser as if you get infected with viruses, hackers can easily access it by writing the password from the browser. If you decide to keep your password on a computer device make sure you encrypt it.
Don’t write your password on unknown internet networks or devices as your password can get compromised. Using the same password for all websites it’s not safe because hackers can access other accounts with the same password. Always use a different password for each website in case one password it’s stolen the hackers don’t have access to other accounts with a different password. It’s recommended to log out from the website and enabling session timeouts with small minutes to keep your account safe.
6. Multi-Signature Method
Multisignature (multi-sig) is an extra security level that requires more than one key to allow the authorization of the transaction in your wallet. Bitcoin network supports multiple signatures of people to authorize the transaction of payment and there are known as “M-of-N” transactions. The Multi-Signature it makes the wallet safer with its technology by allowing you to configure 3 or 5 multi-sig authorized signatures for your wallet. So, to authorize the transaction in your wallet at least 3 of 5 authorized signatures are required to authorize the transaction and validate it. By using a multi-sig wallet you’re securing your wallet and keeping your wallet funds from being transferred even if the hacker is able to pass the login information step.
7. Don’t Access Suspicious Links
Hackers and scammers can clone websites such as Coinbase, Blockhain, etc, to scam and steal wallet accounts. Some of the common ways are spam emails by emailing the victims pretending that your password is stolen and forcing them to use a new password. When the victim writes the new password it will be shown to the hacker as he can access the website on its own. Make sure you always check for SSL certificates on the website and clicking links in your email only from the Inbox and ignoring the Spam emails as they contact potential risk for your account.
8. Use a Recovery Phrase
Recovery phrase is known as “seed phrase” is a 12-word phrase generated by your wallet. Recovery phrase protects your account in case you get infected with viruses, computer crashes, or lose your login password. You can move your funds into a new account with your recovery phrase of the old account. It’s recommended to keep your recovery phrase safe stored because if you don’t remember the recovery phrase you cannot recover it. The backup method prevents your wallet from hackers or if you face a computer failure. Back up can be done from your digital wallet or in a hardware wallet with a file on a USD device, hard drives, or in the CD too.
9. Always Verify the Bitcoin Address
Before sending funds to someone you should always check and verify the Bitcoin address you’re sending. If you get infected with malware your transaction will go in the hacker’s address. It replaces the Bitcoin address that the user has copied into the clipboard and replaces it with the address of the attacker. It’s always recommended to check the Bitcoin address you’re sending the funds before it’s too late. And keeping your computer safe and regular with scans from the antivirus is a good way to keep your wallet safe.
10. Avoid Connection To Public Networks
Connecting on public networks such as coffee, airports, stores and other public networks is risky. An unsafe network connection can be hacked very easily if they don’t implement security in their network connections. The hacker can access every piece of information on your phone or your computers such as passwords, documents, files, and more. Avoiding public networks for connections is great to keep your account safe from hackers. Using your network connection at home and using cellular data on your phone for internet access is recommended and the way to go. Another way is to use virtual private networks (VPN) to protect your IP and other details from being stolen. Turning off “sharing” in your computer is suggested as it disables file sharing from your PC from remote devices. Also if you are looking for a top notch VPN you can get one with 70% off so Get NordVPN here!
If you would like to read another more about VPN’s we would recommend our Malwarebytes VPN Review
Image via shutterstock, Writer Behar H.