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Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Digital Assets

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Learning the top 10 ways to protect your cryptocurrencies is a vital step that every trader must make before becoming successful. Much has changed in the market over the last 15 years. However, the threat from hackers, scammers, and thieves remains prevalent. Consequently, more traders have wisely applied strict security measures to their digital assets.

There are few stories sadder than hearing about someone who had the hard-earned cryptocurrencies stolen from under their nose. Sometimes, these losses are due to placing trust in a third party, such as exchanges that leave clients out in the cold after major losses. Others have had their satoshis stolen because they were careless. Here are the top 10 ways to protect your cryptocurrencies in today's market.

1. Protect Your Cryptocurrencies Using Discretion'

On the top of the list is discretion. The fewer people who know you hold crypto in large quantities, the better. The internet has many tales of people posting about their massive holdings only to be found coinless later. These scenarios usually begin with an individual showing their balance on social media or discussing it with people in public.

Discretion is your best friend in terms of security for many reasons. For one, you never know who is listening or watching your actions. You may think it's only friends on your Instagram or X (Twitter). However, the truth is much different.

Once you put something online, the world can view it. Sadly, some people go around and seek out targets specifically based on their social media actions. Consequently, you make yourself a target when you brag or boast about our crypto holdings or storage methods.

2. Non-Custodial Platforms

Sticking to non-custodial platforms is one of the best ways to improve your overall security. The term non-custodial refers to platforms that don’t require you to deposit funds in their care to access features. This structure is much safer than custodial options because you remain in control and have access to your funds at all times.

Most of the large CEXs (Centralized Exchanges) in operation today operate as custodial networks. This designation means that you can't trade or leverage any network features without first sending the network your crypto to hold. In the past, this structure enabled exchanges to offer more features and be more responsive.

Notably, non-custodial exchanges now offer the same level of features and services found in the custodial sector. Additionally, they never leave you waiting to access your coins. Large CEXs such as Coinbase and Binance can have network outages, hacks, or upgrades that completely block or limit your access to your assets for a given time.

The rise in non-custodial crypto platforms has been a long time coming. When you review the history of the top crypto losses and hacks of all time, it's easy to see that a non-custodial architecture could have prevented major losses from all parties. As such, non-custodial platforms are on the rise.

3. Hardware Wallet

Storing your crypto securely should be a priority for anyone serious about building up reserves. The best way to accomplish this task in the crypto market is to leverage hardware wallets. Hardware wallets are devices that keep your crypto stored but not connected to the internet. This structure is known as cold storage.

Cold storage creates a physical air gap that prevents hackers from accessing your crypto. They are extremely effective at stopping online threats for multiple reasons. Aside from their integrated protections and passcodes, many include a physical approval button.

Source - Trezor - Misconceptions About Cryptocurrencies

Source – Trezor

The best hackers in the world cannot press a physical button on a device without having it present. As such, hardware wallets are the premier way to store built-up crypto reserves safely. Their success has led to many wallet providers entering the market.

You should stick to the top hardware wallet solutions from now on. Ledger and Nano are two of the top-performing manufacturers in this regard. They both have been proven as reliable and affordable options. Best of all, you can combine your hardware wallet with non-custodial platforms to create an additional layer of security.

4. Avoid Public WiFi

Another step that you should take to keep your crypto safe is to avoid public WiFi networks. Public Wifi has become popular across the world. It's convenient, easy to use, and in most instances, free. These factors can make using your school or hotel's WiFi seem like a great way to access crypto platforms. However, the reality is much different.

Public WiFi networks pose a major security risk to those seeking to protect their digital assets for several reasons. For one, the rise in fake WiFi replicators has made it easier than ever for people to create false WiFi networks and access your data. Tools like the Flipper Zero streamline this process even further.

Once your device links to a false WiFi network, real damage can be done. The WiFi network can access data and private information from your devices. It can also install trojans and other software that leaves your computer vulnerable long after your free session ends.

5. Phishing is Real

Phishing attacks are one the most effective ways that hackers gain access to secure platforms. Phishing attacks require the scammer to send you communications through emails, calls, or other contact methods. These communications will gather a little more info about you each time. The goal of the phishing attack is to gain enough data to steal your identity or access other systems one day.

Phishing attacks have been on the rise lately as more firms have stepped into a fully digital structure. A common phishing attack is for the hacker to create a fake website or email that duplicates or is similar to a known site you use. The goal is for you to mistake the data request for the firm and not a random hacker.

There have been some epic phishing attacks recently. In one well-noted instance, Twitter employees lost control of their “God Mode” account after a phishing attack led to the hacker getting full access to the network's back end. The hackers then proceeded to post a charity request asking for Crypto donations. Notably, the hackers were eventually caught but the damage was done.

Phishing attacks can seem as innocent as having you confirm your name or address. From there, they can build up a profile that will eventually include your name, address, financial info, health data, and sensitive security info. To avoid these issues, never inform people online without first confirming their identity.

6. 2-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication systems are easy to use, free, and one of the best ways to prevent certain types of attacks. Two-factor authentication is a process that requires you to confirm a time-sensitive code on a registered device to complete a transition.

For example, let's say you want to withdraw Bitcoin from your account. Once you hit the withdrawal request, a code box pops up and requires you to enter a code that lasts only around a minute or less. This timed approach means that you need to have access to multiple devices to access two-factor protected devices.

Hackers may be able to access your account, but they would then need to gain access to your smartphone or other two-factor protected device to access and remove these funds. This extra step makes two-factor authorization one of the best ways to improve security without adding cost.

The downside to two-factor authorization is that if you lose your secondary device, you may need to wait a few days to gain access to your funding again. Regardless of these concerns, all traders should leverage two-factor solutions on their devices.

7. Protect Your Seed Phrase

Your seed phrase is how you access your crypto wallet if you lose your private key or hardware wallet. It's the most important part of your crypto security and should be treated as such. There are many stories of people losing millions in crypto because they didn’t store their seed phrases properly.

Crypto seed phrases are usually a set of random words. To store them properly, you should make a copy by hand and store it in a safe spot. Another option is to use a seed phrase storage method. These usually involve steel letters that you can arrange to recreate the passphrase in a fire-safe manner.

Source - Unchained - Example of Seed phrase - Protect Your Cryptocurrencies

Source – Unchained – Example of Seed phrase

You should never take a photo or screenshot of your seed phrase. These digital copies can end up in the wrong hands if your device gets compromised. Another method is to take your seed phrase, write it down, and then keep it in separate storage locations that only you know.

Never give your seed phrase or private keys to anyone. If you do, they will promptly remove the crypto from your wallet and there is nothing that you can do to stop them. As such, securing your passphrase is a crucial component of any crypto security plan.

8. Change Your Passwords Regularly

This step gets overlooked by the majority of people. The sheer number of passwords needed by the average person today is staggering. From online banking to email to your smartphone login. Your brain is brimming with old passwords.

This situation leads to people getting lazy and reusing the same passwords across multiple platforms and for long periods. The problem with this approach is that once a hacker realizes you do this, they can easily access all of your assets and platforms.

The best solution is to change your passwords monthly. This strategy will make it very difficult for any hackers to leverage data they obtained prior. Be sure you alter the password completely and do not make simple alterations that the hacker could stumble upon out of common sense.

There are password generators, managers, and vaults available today to streamline this process. Using these systems will make it easier to stay on top of your passwords, not reuse old ones, and improve your overall security.

9. Use Multiple Wallets

One mistake many traders make is keeping all of their holdings in a single wallet. Crypto isn't banking; you can use as many accounts as you want without incurring extra costs or attention. This structure is ideal because it means that you don’t have to have too much of your holdings in a single wallet address.

The market has learned through many hacks that keeping crypto in large online wallets is the best way to draw scammers. Remember, anyone can use a blockchain explorer to see real-time wallet addresses and transactions. As such, as your wallet grows, so does the target on your back.

Separating your crypto into multiple wallets eliminates this issue and improves security significantly. For one, it ensures that you don't lose everything, even if a single wallet is compromised. Also, it allows you to make it more difficult for people to see how much crypto you hold.

10. Be Vigilant About Where and How You Send Your Crypto

One of the worst ways to lose your crypto is to send it to scammers voluntarily. Scamming has been a major issue in the market for years. The overall newness of the technology and the desire of traders to find unicorns and secure giant windfalls have left many without any holdings.

Remember, there are no refunds on the blockchain. As such, you must be 100% sure you are sending your coins to the right person. You can do this by verifying their wallet address. You may also verify platforms using their contact address. The latter is a great way to prevent DeFi scammers.

It's vital you always triple-check before you send your crypto. There are many nightmare stories of people sending their tokens to another project that shared the same name as the one they thought they were investing in. In some instances, these are coincidental, but in the vast majority, scammers took advantage of new traders' lack of knowledge and scrutiny measures.

Protect Your Crypto and Succeed

Protecting your coins should be a priority if you want to build up reserves. Sticking to the methods listed will help you to create a solid security protocol that limits potential losses. These measures will help you achieve your crypto goals without breaking the bank.

You can learn more about exciting blockchain projects here.

David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including Bitcoinlightning.com