Securing your crypto wallet: how to protect your cryptocurrency from hackers and exploits

Updated: Feb 4

Cryptocurrency is still very new, and like all new things, many of us take for granted that our assets are safe because we either put them in a wallet or hold them on a popular exchange. Nothing could be further from the truth. Scammers have been known to get away with hundreds of thousands if not millions from even experienced wallet owners. Below I walk you through several ways on how you can ensure your crypto assets are safe from scammers.

 

Securing your Internet

Even if you're on your own home network, it's good practice to use a VPN as this ensures your browsing activity is safe and private. Avoid using public wifi - these are rife with scammers. In the past I've had to deal with with a laptop that got exposed to a fake wifi service in an airport terminal; the user involved had their banking details exposed as well as their corporate identity. Fortunately they caught it in time, but for a moment there you can imagine how they were feeling!


A cold wallet?

No, we don't need to put our credit card in the freezer. This simply means a device that stores your crypto keys in an offline format. If you aren't busy trading or staking it, it should be in a cold wallet. Some cold wallets allow you to stake directly without needing to risk your assets: this is very handy, but also very limited. A cold wallet is also ideal if you plan to hodl (or Hold On for Dear Life), since it prevents accidental trading or loss due to hacks.


Your seed phrase

Every wallet comes with a recovery phrase called a seed phrase. This is typically 12 or 24 words that refer to your wallet and can be used to recover a lost wallet or to have a copy of the wallet on your phone (for example). The most common kind of scam I see out there asks you for your seed phrase. You might get a link that asks you for your seed phrase, or a kindly support tech reaches out over reddit or twitter (for example) after hearing about your issues with your wallet, and he says "we need your seed phrase to prove you own the wallet" or something similar.

Say it with me: "Nobody needs my seed phrase. If I hand out my seed phrase, I am giving away every asset in that wallet. I will treat my seed phrase as my golden ticket."


Elon Musk does not want to give you BitCoin!

There an increasing amount of sites and YouTube videos around that claim Elon Musk or Michael Saylor (or any other celeb out there) wants to gift you some Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other legit crypto. All you need to do is give them a half of what you want back. Here's an example:

Both people in the video clip are real: Anthony Pompliano is a genuine YouTuber that brings daily news shows with legit content; Michael Saylor is the CEO of MicroStrategy and very well known for his work on Bitcoin. But the offer is the scam: you won't get any eth or bitcoin back; you'll only lose whatever you send. Or worse: the website (covered here) may even require you to attach your wallet directly (see above for more details on that scam).


Wrapping up...

I hope these simple tips help you increase your crypto asset security. Be vigilant, and if you're in doubt, ask someone you trust.


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