For those who do not know, cryptocurrencies are digital financial assets that can be used just like real money for the exchange of goods and services. They are developed with cryptographic science to make their transactions secure, eliminate government regulations, exchange rate issues, and to have control over the creation of additional tokens of the currency. Ultimately, they are created with the sole purpose of disrupting the Fintech industry and return power to the hands of the people holding the currency.
Security Outfit of the Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology, upon which most of these cryptocurrencies are driven, is a network that is transparent, immutable, and secure. A blockchain contains several blocks which store data in hashes with their respective timestamps so they cannot be altered. Since the data cannot be manipulated, the blockchain network isn’t such an attractive target for cybercriminals.
In an article posted in The Washington Times, analysts say that The Pentagon could ultimately use blockchain as a cybersecurity defense for their network – preventing hacks and hijacks of their equipment, aircraft, and satellites. This technology is, however, not limited to highly technical use cases, as illustrated above, as it is also used in verifying identities such as passports and other digital IDs.
Cyber risks associated with Cryptocurrency
Despite the impeccable security backing of this technology, stakeholders in the cryptocurrency space still have to deal with constant cyberattacks. Explained below are some of the ways by which cybersecurity still poses an issue in the cryptocurrency space:
● Phishing: One of the many ways phishing is done to create websites or emails with homograph domains and reach out to users of the legitimate platform in a bid to retrieve their account – either by some account re-activation or promotion that needs them to “sign-in.” Once they fall for the trick of logging their details on the scam website, the hacker then proceeds to use these credentials on the original website and cart away with the victim’s cryptocurrencies.
● Compromised Trading Platforms: Even trading platforms can fall victim to cyberattacks, and both the company and its users run into losses. Hackers looted over 292 million US dollars and 500,000 units of customer data in the significant cryptocurrency hacks of 2019. In 2018, the biggest crypto hack was suffered by Coincheck, a Tokyo-based crypto exchange losing over half a billion US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrencies.
● Malware: Malicious software has always been at the forefront of causing losses to both individuals and corporations for a very long time. Although virtually all of them have their specific purposes, cryptocurrency-related malware has been responsible for mining cryptocurrency using victims’ computers without their awareness. In other cases, these software steal cryptocurrencies from victims’ wallets.
Keeping Crypto-assets Secure
As much as these cybersecurity risks seem grave, there are some surefire ways by which crypto traders and owners can keep their assets secure. Some of them are detailed below:
1.Use a dedicated device: This, more than any other solution, has been proven to be rather useful in staying safe from cyberattacks that could come as a result of personal errors. Using a dedicated device, browser, LAN, or Internet access and email address, which is not used for any other purpose asides trading and crypto transactions, will go a long way in keeping your assets secure.
2. Install Antivirus Software: Despite using a dedicated device, viruses and malware could still find their way into the device through some personal error. As a means of additional protection, it is advisable to install from any of the best, free antivirus software online to secure your device. The software will help prevent any form of malicious software trying to gain entry into the system. It will even scan and remove any infected file that might have been currently existing.
3. Enabling Two Factor Authentication (2FA): Beyond the use of a password that can be hacked, it is advisable to employ the use of a 2FA solution, which gives your accounts multi-level security. This helps prevent unauthorized access by sending a one-time password (OTP) to an email address or phone number registered to the trading or wallet account.
4.Use a VPN: A good rule of thumb for traders who are often on the move is to download a VPN for use when making transactions – especially on public networks. VPNs help add a layer of security on the data being transferred through the system to prevent data theft by hackers waiting to intercept sensitive information for their malicious uses. However secure, it is not advisable to perform confidential transactions on a public network.
5. Avoid Unsecure Websites: Most trading platforms and wallets make use of HTTPS protocol to ensure secure communication over the Internet. It is advisable to always look out for this prefix in the URL string the browser before even logging in. For emails purported to be sent from trading websites regarding account issues, it is advisable to look out for the security protocol and correct sender information in the email details to ensure it is from a secure source.