During the first few years of their launch, cryptocurrencies sparked a combination of mystery and excitement. And while we were all struggling to understand the concept behind the all-new digital coins and currencies, cybercriminals gave us a rude shock.
These criminals showed the whole world that their high-tech skills were good enough to unlock the sophisticated encryption technology used in blockchain. So, what are the security issues around cryptocurrencies and how can you stay protected?
Read on to get useful cybersecurity insights that will allow you rest easy knowing that your digital wealth is safe and secure.
Top security dangers associated with cryptocurrencies
Many people store their access keys commonly known as ‘private keys’ on their devices. This is a high-risk behaviour because this is the only tool that grants an account holder access to virtual wealth.
Storing the key as a file on your device exposes it to data breaches. This can happen if an unauthorised person accesses your device. Please note that one unintended click can make you become a victim of a data breach. Besides, hackers have invented many tricks of accessing a target’s device without consent.
As a cryptocurrency investor, you may also become a victim of malware attacks. In this tactic, hackers develop and spread malicious software to the machines of their targets. The malware steals crypto-related data making it accessible to hackers.
Hackers can then use this information to steal resources from your device or account.
Hacked trading platform
This is another risk associated with cryptocurrencies. Attackers may devise a way of hacking a crypto trading platform with the intent of stealing wealth from the subscribers on the platform. While you cannot directly control this kind of attack, you are advised to always keep a check on the emails you receive from your trading platform about security issues.
Phishing involves sending false messages to unsuspecting users. To get your attention and lure you into clicking the messages, attachments or links, hackers impersonate an important contact or organization. This trick is being widely used by attackers who are leveraging the Coronavirus pandemic.
They have been sending links impersonating the ministry of health, federal government among many others.
Hackers may also spam your browser with malicious ads. Like the malicious links sent on email through phishing, these ads also download malware and spyware into the target’s device. Hackers are then able to snoop on all activities or sensitive data and this may include your privacy ‘keys’.
How to stay prepared and protected against the risks of cryptocurrencies
Utilize a VPN
You can add a layer of security to your cryptocurrencies by using a VPN to ensure anonymity. The app does this by creating a secure tunnel for all the traffic sent or received through the secured network.
While in transit, data is secured using a high-tech data encryption technology which makes it unreadable should it land in the wrong hands. The masking of real identity and location makes it hard for cybercriminals to track you down or gather the information that would help them do so.
Use email security services
Subscribing to an email security service is another way to secure your hard-earned cryptos. Email security services filter all incoming emails to spot out any malicious senders, links or attachments.
This way, you can rest easy knowing that you are safe from malicious scammers.
Enable multi-factor authentication
Mult-factor authentication (MFA) is an electronic security system that requires users to input more than one method of access verification.
You can use this identity verification process to provide an additional layer of security to your cryptocurrency account. You may set up MFA to send a one-time code via SMS or email.
This way, you will be able to receive a code with each attempted login.
Invest in a vulnerability scanner
Unlike other currencies, cryptos are intangible. You can only transact this business on the web. However, the internet is also home to many other malicious schemes. You can spot out the existing vulnerabilities using a website vulnerability scanner.
This tool provides an exhaustive analysis of the underlying risks if any, and the recommended actions to take.
Get a reliable ad blocker
A good ad blocker is an ideal way to block ads and unnecessary pop-ups on your favourite websites. You can install an ad blocker as an extension on your browser. This will help keep off all the annoying pop-ups on Facebook, Youtube, and on your cryptocurrency platform.
Blocking ads is an easy way to block third-party snoopers and trackers.
Choose your cryptocurrencies platforms judiciously
The trading platform of choice should have proper security measures in consideration of the existing threats. Before signing up to any platform, make sure you read through their privacy and security agreement.
Refrain from signing up to sites that have no reviews or promise you effortless returns. We have heard cases of newly launched platforms shutting down following a massive subscriber campaign.
Although this technology has its share of security concerns, it also presents several advantages over other transaction systems. As we await more security guidelines in terms of regulation and compliance to be put in place, it is important to arm yourself with the tools discussed above.
The tools can go a long way in providing the much-needed multilayered protection for your digital currencies.