Top Tips on How Crypto Traders Can Protect and Secure Their Digital Assets
Hacking and data breaches have become a daily occurrence as the rate of crypto theft increased exponentially in recent years even as crypto prices fell from their all-time high. Today, crypto exchanges are increasingly becoming hackers’ targets of choice despite the slowdown in the crypto market.
As we reported during the summers, hackers stole $1.4 billion in crypto assets as of August through crypto bridges. In recent months, crypto bridges have become a prime target for hackers due to vulnerabilities in their underlying code.
Two months earlier, hackers stole nearly $100 million worth of crypto assets after Harmony’s Horizon blockchain bridge was exploited. So far this past decade, hackers and scammers have stolen over $12 billion in crypto assets. This trend is expected to continue as crypto trading slowly gains more mainstream adoption.
In addition, according to a recent Twitter poll conducted by Yield, 87% of respondents see security as the most critical factor when choosing a digital asset platform. Smart contract failure, counterparty risk, and self-custody risks are some of the other concerns expressed by holders of digital assets.
So the question is: How can investors and crypto traders protect and secure their digital assets? Over the years, hackers and cybercriminals have improved their effectiveness, methods, skills, and capabilities to steal digital assets from even the most secured crypto exchanges. Just last month, hackers stole $570 million from Binance’s BNB Chain in one of the largest crypto hacks.
However, as severe as it may seem, there are a few steps crypto traders and investors could take to protect and safeguard their crypto accounts and critical digital assets, such as basic things like creating and using strong passwords. Someone good crypto exchanges have a password policy that forces users to use a strong password. But a password alone is not enough. Keep your digital asset in cold storage also offers you more protection as the keys to your digital assets are kept offline.
For example, with account takeover, or ATO, it is not impossible for another person to log into another user’s account to conduct fraudulent activity. It’s now possible for hackers and cybercriminals to get into the narrative through a “SIM swap.” Fraudsters call the wireless carrier, pretend to be the person they are impersonating, and convince the customer service agent to redirect one’s cell service to another device. Thus, the SIM card number associated with one’s account is changed.
When this transaction succeeds, hackers can receive all SMS messages and calls sent to the owner’s phone number, including the two-factor authentication codes. From this information, hackers will match those SMS 2FA codes with stolen passwords and attempt to log into one’s email account, cloud storage accounts, social media profiles, or financial accounts.
So, below are some simple steps to detect and stop SIM-swap ATOs with your accounts.
Use a password manager
Passwords should be unique, complex, and at least 16 characters for each account. This would be extremely challenging for a person to memorize all passwords. However, Dashlane and 1Password are some password managers that can be utilized to create and remember passwords.
Traders should follow the crypto exchange policy to secure their accounts using the right set of passwords. In addition, using well-known and reliable crypto exchange platforms like Binance and Kucoin with strong security infrastructure may help provide much-needed peace of mind. Other services and systems like Bitcoin Loophole can also help investors connect with reliable brokers in the market to ensure a safe trading experience.
In addition, users can also check their password if it has been exposed in a third-party breach. This can be done by checking the password in haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords.
Use 2-factor authentication (2FA)
A two-factor authentication (2FA) should be used in addition to strong passwords. It is best to utilize the most secure 2FA permissible within the platform, such as a Yubikey or a similar hardware security key.
If Yubikey is not permitted by the service provider, Duo Security or Google Authenticator are authentication apps that could be used instead of SMS-based 2FA.
If the platform only allows SMS-based 2FA, then a one-time 2FA code should be sent to the user’s device each time a login happens. Thus, hackers cannot gain access to one’s account if they have stolen the password. It is highly recommended not to use the service of that organization if it does not offer any of these options.
Be digitally vigilant
It is not enough to play defense using the appropriate security tools when protecting your accounts. It is also important to stay vigilant to avoid falling victim to the hands of cybercriminals and scammers. It’s important that you also do a background check for every platform, application, email, or website that reaches out to you with the promise of increasing your profits.
Keep information about your digital assets private
The other thing is that talking or sharing information about your cryptocurrency holdings online or on social media will get you a lot of attention which can lead to hackers and other preying eyes targeting your digital assets. This will also make it easy for hackers to track down your account and steal your funds.
Be wary of tricks used by scammers
Scammers sometimes pretend to be tech support and may ask for account credentials. Users should never give their PINs, 2FA codes, or passwords for remote computer access.
Check the URL
Hackers use fake sites similar to real crypto exchanges, aiming to steal accounts’ information. Users should check if these web addresses are legitimate before logging into their accounts or encoding their credentials.
Whenever you received an email with a hyperlink, even from a recognized person, make sure should first copy the link and paste the link into a text editor before pasting it into your browser to ensure the link is from an authentic source.
In closing, despite the security measures imposed by crypto exchanges to protect their clients from hackers and cybercriminals, make sure you do all your diligence to secure your digital assets. Following the aforementioned steps will bolster the security of your digital assets but they are by no means bulletproof.