Cryptocurrencies are probably the most popular trading assets of the 21st century. They may not be the most traded, but pretty much everybody is talking about them. Thanks to their “work-in-progress” nature, there is always news and speculation about specific cryptos. However, all of this attention from potential investors is not the only type of attention that cryptos get. Regarding the fact that they are completely digital, makes them susceptible to hack attacks, which have been quite a serious issue for the industry in recent years.
Many traders have lost their livelihoods from crypto hackers and have sometimes endured even worse conditions. However, there are ways you can avoid these crypto hackers. The exchanges where you trade the coins are indeed working on solutions to prevent the hackings, but they’re just a temporary barrier.
How crypto exchanges enhance security
In most cases, the measures crypto exchanges take are like a complication for the hackers. This means that they aren’t just putting a strong filter on hack attacks, they’re just making it so hard that the hackers won’t even bother. For example, in order to break the newest security protocols found on the most popular exchanges, it would take a hacker several hundred years, even if he was using the whole computing power available in the world.
However, there can always be a lucky one, who finds a sequence on the first try (although it is highly unlikely). So let’s find out how hackers access accounts and devices, and how you can protect yourself.
Device hacks in South Africa
Recently, there was news surfacing about hack attacks in South Africa. The main target of the hackers were the victims’ mobile devices. However, they didn’t hack into the accounts, but merely used the Phone’s computing power to mine cryptocurrencies for themselves. Needless to say, this is a very taxing process for a phone, which could ruin it completely. But there are countermeasures that have already been implemented by some traditional financial companies.
For example, if you check the reviews of SA brokers here, you’ll find out that most of these brokers are encouraging their clients to install special browser extensions on their mobile phones. The reason is quite simple. In order to mine cryptocurrencies, the phone needs to connect to the internet, which is easiest to do via a browser. Installing the “Mine Blocker” extension will prevent any unauthorized mining software to influence the phone, therefore, protecting it.
The reason brokers took it upon themselves to warn the public was simple. Alongside the phone, some broker applications were being hacked as well, causing terrible technical issues for some traders, which was then blamed on the brokers themselves. Inadvertently, these financial companies ousted a whole network of hackers.
Protecting your Gmail account
In most cases, the verification emails you get from the exchange will be directed to Gmail. Therefore it is imperative that you keep it safe no matter what. One of the ways hackers access user Gmail accounts is through their mobile phone numbers. Meaning they can take over the phone, request a password reset and still receive the credentials.
The best way to combat this is to de-sync your Gmail account with your phone. This prevents hackers from accessing the platform through the phone, and just trying to hack a Google supported platform is virtually impossible. However, the de-sync can be quite inconvenient, therefore you can opt for another solution.
Get a new phone, that will never be connected to the internet. Set it as a primary source of authentication on your Gmail account. Meaning that every time you try to access the account you will be sent an SMS verification code on that phone. Thanks to the fact that it won’t ever be connected to the internet, it simply doesn’t exist for the hacker, they can’t see it or access it.
In addition to these measures, it’s imperative that you disable the password autofill on all of your financial accounts as well, even on social media if you have matching passwords. This is a very small counter-measure but still an effective one. If you have too many passwords and can’t keep track. Just write them down on a piece of paper and carry it with you at all times.
Switch your wallet
If you have an online crypto wallet, in most cases it is fine, but it is always best to be extra careful. Better safe than sorry. The safest option here is to have your assets on your hardware wallet, which is always protected by 2 keys which are owned by you and you only. Whenever you want to trade, you can simply transfer the coins to your exchange account. Thanks to the fact that the hardware wallet is rarely connected to the internet, it’s harder to track and virtually impossible to hack.