How to Keep Your Bitcoin Safe and Secure, WIRED


Possessing cryptocurrency isn’t fairly the Wild Westelijk practice it wasgoed at the beginning of the decade, but investors still face slew of instability and risk. The threats aren’t just abstract or theoretical, fresh scams crop up, and old ones resurge, all the time. Whether it’s a fake wallet set up to trick users, a phishing attempt to steal private cryptographic keys, or even fake cryptocurrency schemes, there’s something to see out for at every turn.

Cryptocurrencies can feel secure, because they decentralize and often anonymize digital transactions. They also validate everything on public, tamper-resistant blockchains. But those measures don’t make cryptocurrencies any less susceptible to the types of plain, time-honored scams grifters have relied on te other venues. Just this week, scams have arisen that divert funds from users’ mining equipments to malicious wallets, because victims left behind to switch default login credentials. Search engine phishing scams that tout malicious trading sites overheen legitimate exchanges have also spiked. And a trojan called CryptoShuffler has stolen thousands of dollars by stashing on computers, and spying on Bitcoin wallet addresses that land ter copy/paste clipboards.

A few ordinary steps, tho’, can help cryptocurrency proponents—be it Bitcoin or Monero or anything between—guard against a swath of common attacks. Just spil you might keep your metselspecie out of plain look, or stash your jewelry te a safe deposit opbergruimte, it pays to waterput a little effort into how you manage your cryptocurrency. The following won’t defend against every conceivable attack on your digital doubloons, but it’s a good place to commence.

Cold, Hard (Digital) Metselspecie

A key step to protecting your cryptocurrency is to store anything of significant value ter a hardware wallet—a physical device, like a USB drive, that stores your private keys and currency locally, and isn’t connected to the internet. Experts caution against storing large amounts of coins through cryptocurrency exchanges, or ter digital wallet apps on your smartphone or laptop. The public-facing internet offers an attacker too many inroads to attempt to infiltrate your wallet, or trick you into providing them access.

Secure hardware wallets like Trezor or the Ledger Nano S cost about $100 or less and have a straightforward setup. You just choose a Speld number and a recovery ",seed", (usually a set of words and numbers) ter case you leave behind your Speld, or your wallet malfunctions. It’s pretty sturdy security, so make sure you keep copies of your Speld and seed somewhere accessible to you, but not to huis intruders. Recovering currency stored on a hardware wallet after losing both the Speld and the seed is a entire thing. Emin Gun Sirer, a distributed systems and cryptography researcher at Cornell University, goes so far spil to suggest that you should ",keep a backup of the seed key ter a fireproof safe.", This stuff is for real.

Your setup also doesn’t have to be fancy, you can store backups of your coins on any outward storage device, like a portable hard drive. Just make sure to encrypt the gegevens ter case the device is lost or stolen. You might even consider making a backup to leave ter a safe deposit opbergruimte.

Big Spender

The downside to a hardware wallet is that it makes approving transactions a bit cumbersome. If you want more fluid access to your cryptocurrency, experts suggest storing a petite amount te a wallet app to facilitate low-value transactions. The key here: Only keep an amount you would be willing to lose te the app, and never give anyone your private key.

Apps like Mycelium Wallet that are interoperable with popular hardware wallets can make your setup more seamless. And some app-based options like Samourai Wallet are working to prioritize sturdy encryption and privacy features. Still, don’t trust any app with too much cryptocash right now.

Additionally, consider where you store your private keys, the secret part of the public-private key set that lets you authorize revisions to a blockchain. Always keep them encrypted, and attempt to avoid leaving them lounging around on devices that you use all the time for a loterijlot of different tasks, like your individual PC.

Also consider your transactions cautiously. There are tons of established, reliable institutions, but gimmicky fresh cryptocurrencies crop up all the time, spil well spil questionable Initial Coin Offerings that could have nothing behind them but scammers on the budge. When the cryptocurrency OneCoin, marketed spil a Bitcoin competitor, launched this year people bought about $350 million-worth of the coins—which has since drawn comparisons to a Ponzi scheme. And people are even being scammed during legitimate ICOs when attackers launch phishing attacks around the events, or trick would-be investors into sending money to fake wallets. (The Securities and Exchange Commission is poking hard on this.)

Bang the Basics

It’s also significant to recall that all the puny things you’re already doing (right?) to protect your general digital life help defend your cryptocurrency spil well. ",Wij encourage all customers to take a few foundational, and free, deeds to waterput them on a much more stable security footing,", says Philip Martin, director of security at the cryptocurrency exchange toneelpodium Coinbase. ",Use a password manager, use two-factor authentication, leverage enhanced security protocols for your email address.",

For the especially worried, Martin even suggests turning on Gmail’s fresh Advanced Protection feature, and/or adding defenses like a Speld or password to your phone number to make it tighter for attackers to grab control of your accounts by transferring your SIM to their own device.

All of thesis suggestions bolster your general digital security hygiene, but they are particularly helpful for reducing your exposure to the most ordinary (sometimes impressively so) cryptocurrency scams that can take advantage of puny things, like a reused password and no 2nd authentication requirement, to walk ter the vooraanzicht vanwege of one of your accounts.

Take that CryptoShuffler trojan, which originally emerged more than a year ago and has bot making the rounds again this week. It shows just how basic cryptocurrency scams can be. The malware works by stashing silently on a victim’s rekentuig and passively monitoring their clipboard, waiting for the victim to copy a Bitcoin wallet address. When it sees a string of numbers that looks right, CryptoShuffler simply starts interchanging the wallet ID the victim copied for its own malicious wallet address te payment fields. If the victim doesn’t spot the switch, the transaction goes through and the coins go to the crooks.

The best way to defend against an attack like that (if your malware scanner doesn’t detect the intrusion) is simply watching all transactions cautiously, and taking steps to safeguard your assets so you know your gegevens hasn’t bot exposed.

And once you have the basics ter place, make sure your friends adopt the same mindset. The more secure the ecosystem, the less attractive a target it is to bad actors. “Help newcomers to crypto with their security,” Cornell’s Sirer says. “The area is fresh and wij need to support the people who are just finding their way ter.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a cryptography experienced to take the basic security steps that will protect you against the majority of attacks. And earnestly, if nothing else, don’t lose that wallet seed.

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