What if I told you there is a way to trade cryptocurrencies without having to worry? You see, when the first cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) was released and established, mid level and upcoming investors were optimistic that we finally had a verifiable method of making transactions and storing wealth. With the sophisticated blockchain technology, we were all hopeful that we finally had a way to counter malicious entities and individuals.
Unfortunately, things have unfolded and we’ve realized that we had set our expectations too high. Like many other digital platforms, cryptocurrencies are vulnerable. We have also realized that many cyber criminals are devoting their time and energy to come up with means and ways of unlocking the highly encrypted systems.
Let’s discuss some of the security risks to be wary of. We will also shed light on some of the tested ways of keeping yourself protected.
What are the security risks of cryptocurrencies?
Although cryptos are considerably secure compared to other transaction modes, users may still become victims of fraud. Be on the lookout for the following risks
● Phishing scams
In a phishing attack, the criminals spam a user’s inbox with fake messages in the pretext of an important contact, company or organization. The messages are crafted deceptively to prompt an unsuspecting victim into opening them, an action that downloads data siphoning malware into their device.
Reports indicate that the number of phishing attacks targeting crypto owners has gone up following the COVID-19 pandemic as the online fraudsters use COVID-19 related misinformation to lure unsuspecting users.
Over 1,000 malicious sites are claiming to offer COVID-19 information or resources such as Hydroxychloroquine.
Malvertising is another trick used by malicious criminals to send data collecting malware to targeted users. In this tactic, the criminals simply spam your web browser or plugin with malicious ads. Once you click on the ad, (which might seem like a very timely offer), it automatically downloads malware into your device and this gives hackers express access to all data therein.
In a cryptojacking attack, the criminals mine for coins from an identified target without consent. The first step to this attack is gaining unauthorized access to your computer or device. The stolen coins are then diverted to another account.
● Phone porting
In this method, attackers snoop on their targets by tracing them on different platforms like on social media and crypto-related discussion platforms. Here, they collect important details such as contact information.
They then use this information to impersonate you and contact the service provider requesting for a transfer of your crypto details to a device within their possession.
How to keep your cryptocurrencies secure
● Subscribe to an email security service
Email security services provide you with layered protection against phishing attacks and all other malicious content that may be channeled to your inbox. This is done through extensive mail analysis and malware filtration.
● Use a VPN
You can also use a VPN to secure your crypto coins. Virtual Private Networks provides a secure tunnel for all information sent over a connected network. After downloading a VPN, you can secure all your crypto transactions.
● Using a multi-signature address
You can also use the multi-signature address for all your crypto wallets. As suggested in the name, activating this technology means that transactions cannot be validated unless all the authorized signatures are provided. This way, you are in control of your wallet at any given time.
● Use a password manager
You have heard cases where people have lost access to their investment following password or private ‘key’ loss. You can avoid this mistake by investing in a good password manager. With this, you can set a complex password and rest without having to worry about keying in incorrect character combinations.
● Use hardware wallets
You can also use hardware wallets to store your crypto wealth offline. Always keep these devices detached when not in use.
Although the cryptocurrencies have some exploitable security gaps, it is still possible to minimize your exposure to risk. You can start by exercising the precaution measures discussed above.
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