Protecting yourself from cryptocurrency theft
The digital currency frontier is exciting, sure, but it’s also volatile. Theft is very real concern for those in the cryptocurrency marketplace. Well, modern problems require modern solutions. Abide by these tips to better insulate yourself from the hectoring of modern hackers.
Get a Pencil, Grab that Paper
Buy a notebook, and keep a pencil and paper log of all cryptocurrency wallets, account numbers, and passwords. Get two notebooks, even, and double these backups, in case of fire, water damage, or random acts of an uncaring and indifferent universe. A safety deposit box at a bank of your choosing is the safest place to store such vital information.
Always, always, always use two-factor authentication for all related accounts, handles, logins, and passwords. 2FA, also called two-step, is a second level of protection around your assets. For the uninitiated, you have your username and password combination to verify to an online portal that you are who you say you are.
But passwords can be stolen, phished, or reset, by malefactors all over.
Even a long, multivariate, randomly generated password is subject to cyber crime. 2FA generates a one-time password, an OTP, usually six figures long and generated by a separate device, like an app on your smartphone.
There are many to choose from, too. The easiest for the end user is probably Google Authenticator. The most robust is Authy, ideal if you’re the type who has multiple accounts and multiple passwords and likes to upgrade their smart device annually or so.
Consider a password management service
There are no completely secure passwords, as computer algorithms are better and faster at guessing passwords. And the multivariate tactics required to make a “strong” password (numbers, uppercase characters, lowercase characters, special characters) are that much harder for an individual to remember.
The benefits of a password manager are numerous. From generating long, random data strings and storing them securely to the frequent feature of 2FA on most services like Keep, 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane, and True Key, find a free service or a paid upgrade with the kind of security features and usability that makes the most sense for you.
Even with a manager, don’t forget to back up the login info in those pencil and paper backups. They may prove crucial.
Made a killing? Keep it to yourself.
A major crypto-faux pas can include posting about your various investments, profits, earnings, and the many emotional highs and lows on social media.
Hackers will often have searches set up to crawl Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn for bitcoin posts as a way of identifying possible targets. Even if your wallet eventually doubles your original cash investment, keep a lid on it.
At least until after you’ve cashed out, and even then, come up with a codeword or passphrase that only a select few followers are going to understand.
Plan for the end, and what comes after
Make a plan for someone to inherit your digital wallet in the unlikely event of your death. It may sound macabre, but the truth is, if you’re the only soul with access to your accounts, wallets, and exchanges, that money may never be recouped by the most important people in your life.
While it’s possible you might not want them to access your accounts while you’re still using them, at least have instructions and passwords ready with an executor or other legal proxy.
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