Investing or trading cryptocurrencies is all well and good, but if you don’t keep your ownership position safe, then it’s possible to lose coins in a hack or a security breach. It’s happened before, and it will happen more in the future as the temptation for hackers is too much to avoid.
Here are four practices that help to keep your crypto investments safer.
Secure Your Computer
Most people’s computer systems aren’t a pretty sight. They often have several viruses and malware lying dormant in them because they’re not security aware to begin with. They download files or open emails from people they don’t know and get repeatedly infected. If that sounds like you, you should shore up your defenses before investing in crypto to protect yourself.
Update Windows through their Windows Update facility to stop using an older version. This prevents known security holes from being exploited to gain access to your computer remotely.
Next, install a reliable anti-virus and anti-malware program to scan your system fully for any live infection. Any of the major players like Avira, Avast, Norton or Kaspersky will do just fine.
Then, once your system is confirmed as secure, you’re ready to start checking the live news about crypto to learn more about what’s going on and begin educating yourself on the subject.
Virtual Private Networks
Use a virtual private network (VPN) from a paid provider like CyberGhost, TunnelBear or another big name. The VPN service (which is different than a proxy server) will encrypt all internet communications end-to-end. It connects from your computer to a VPN server in a country and city that you select from the list offered by the VPN service. Once the data stream arrives at the other end, it is decrypted and sent to the target website.
The idea with using a VPN is that it stops so called man-in-the-middle attacks where someone on the same Wi-Fi or wired network is able to intercept your data and use it for their own malicious purposes. Rather than relying just on the encryption at the coin exchange, encrypt your entire internet connection end-to-end to cover yourself from more potential threats to your digital wallet.
Password Protect Your Wallet
You may be using a coin exchange to hold or just to trade. There is a risk with exchanges holding wallets because if the exchange either goes out of business or gets hacked, your wallet and its contents could go with it. For this reason, many people choose to have a separate digital wallet that holds their coins.
For instance, open-source Electrum software which runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android can hold Bitcoin without it needing to stay on an exchange at all. Purchases can be made directly through the wallet too. This removes much of the risk of exchanges from a security perspective. Also, consider carrying a hardware wallet that’s not on the internet at all and cannot be hacked.
Use Only Reputable Exchanges
There’s a risk with using unknown exchanges because you don’t know who’s behind them. It’s better to work with an exchange that you trust. They don’t have to be large per se. Just with a strong reputation for security and trust with other cryptocurrency traders who also have an eye on security at all times.
Keeping your cryptocurrency investments safe from prying eyes and hackers is certainly very important. It does you no good if your entire investment portfolio is stored with a single exchange or online wallet that suddenly drops offline without warning. Use a variety of security procedures to protect your portfolio and divide it up into different wallets or types of storage too.