5 simple ways to protect your cryptocurrencies

Although blockchain has a reputation for being a difficult technology to hack, cryptocurrency wallets and transactions are prime targets for hackers. There are several solutions to quickly secure your currencies.

Cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology and as a result have quickly gained a reputation as safe currencies. Paradoxically, hardly a week goes by without the media talking about the sometimes astronomical theft of virtual currencies. These breakups occur most often during transfers or simply by trapping owners. Because if the decentralization of the blockchain makes attacks difficult, it is always possible to attack the holders of these currencies.

If, like most cryptocurrency holders, you are using an online exchange, at the protocol level you are not really in possession of your coins. The platform contains your funds and the keys to transfer them. When you decide to withdraw the currency, you are asking the exchange to sign a transaction on your behalf.

However, all of these services are online and assume that at some point a third party can stop the transfer. You can transfer your cryptocurrencies to your hard drive or USB sticks specifically intended for this purpose. The last solution in terms of security is still the sheet of paper, but be careful not to tear it. Overview of simple methods to protect your cryptocurrencies.

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The hot wallet (warm wallet)

The most accessible way is to download an application to your smartphone. In general, the services offered are very easy to use and suitable for everyday use. For example, they allow you to scan an address in the form of a QR code to speed up the transfer. The apps on offer are often free, and those that specialize in security offer affordable plans.

The companies behind these apps use combinations of online and offline server storage to protect users’ wallets. In general, the new tenors of cryptocurrencies are also the ones offering the safest solutions.

However, you should be aware that an application’s wallets and keys are connected to the internet and therefore more vulnerable to attack. It is not recommended for large sums.

Some recommended apps: Coinbase, Binance, Zen Go, Trust Wallet, Exodus, Ku Coin, MetaMask.

The cold wallet (cold wallet)

A cold wallet is a physical, completely offline wallet for storing currencies. In most cases it is a USB stick. Unlike secure applications, these tools are unconnected and therefore less susceptible to attack. Currencies can stay hot on the key while there is panic on a platform. Additionally, some companies offer an encrypted wallet to provide even more security. This is the most recommended solution when the values ​​held are very high.

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Ledger and Trezor, the two market leaders. // Source: Unsplash

The Cold Wallet requires a signature for each transaction to certify that it actually owns the currencies it originates. Exchanges therefore take a little longer than apps. Count about one hundred euros for a key.

On the other hand, if you lose your device, you will never get your funds back. You are always at risk of your credentials being stolen, so you need to make sure you take proper precautions not to get them stolen.

Some recommended brands: Ledger, Trezor, Coolwallet.

The paper wallet (paper wallet)

The world of cryptocurrencies offers ways, still unimaginable until a few years ago, to store money. In fact, you can print an address to store your currencies. The QR Code drawn on the sheet is used to receive transactions. This wallet is obviously considered extremely secure, as it is not connected to the internet.

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A paper wallet can take this form. // Source: Wikimedia Commons

To make the famous wallet, you need to go to a site that creates a randomly generated key. The best known are bitcoinpaperwallet.com or adrizzobit.org. You then need to click on the “Generate New Address” or “Generate Key Wallets and Print Card” tab to create a new address.

To transfer your cryptocurrency again, you have to go through an application and thus potentially take a risk.

Use a strong password

The advice seems logical, but let’s forget that crypto wallets are among the elements most targeted by hackers. Cybercriminals have several tactics to recover your passcode. A brute force attack, for example, uses software to try as many combinations as possible until the right one is found. The length of the password is certainly the most decisive criterion. You can choose a phrase such as “Jaimelatartealapomme”. Then sprinkle numbers and signs and returns “JaIm3latartealap0mm%”. This is a password that hackers will have a hard time finding.

Enable two-factor authentication

When choosing a wallet, check that double authentication is part of the security measures. This adds an extra layer of identification to your funds by requiring verification before certain operations on your account such as login, withdrawals or remittances. You will be notified immediately if anyone attempts to access your wallet. Most online wallets offer double authentication. If you follow all these tips, your currencies are safe. However, it’s also up to you to be careful and not fall for hacker phishing emails.

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Bye bye bitcoin // Source: CC0 / Mohammed Hassan for Pxhere

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