The term “cryptocurrency” could easily be said to have been coined from two words – cryptography and currency. Cryptocurrencies, unlike standard fiat currencies, are digital entities, created and distributed electronically to its holders. It makes use of strong cryptographic techniques to record transactions, control the creation of new currency units, and to verify ownership of these entities.
Typical examples of these cryptocurrencies are the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, amongst others. Driven by all these is the Blockchain technology, which serves as a decentralized ledger containing all transactions made across the network. Some of the numerous benefits this technology has over the traditional system of exchange currently in existence are its increased transparency, immutable records, reduced costs of operation, and permanence of records.
The immutability property, among other things attributed to Blockchain technology, has made it famous for its stellar security. As with every network on the Internet, no system is impenetrable, and the whole concept of cryptocurrencies has its flaws.
Security Flaws Inherent in the Cryptocurrency Space
Explained below are a couple of security risks associated with cryptocurrencies:
- Unsafe Wallets: Just like physical wallets, there are e-wallets where cryptocurrency tokens are stored. These wallets have various degrees of sophistication and times without numbers, the loopholes discovered in their security architectures are exploited by hackers – carting away with millions of dollars’ worth of funds. Apart from the financial damage, this might cost the company and its customers, the reputation of the company usually experiences some downturn.
- Ransomware attacks: These forms of attacks are usually orchestrated when attackers have been able to get a way to sneak into a network successfully. They use a form of malicious program to hold this resource to ransom and then request a form of payment before the control of this resource is released back to the victim.
- ● Loss of sensitive account information: Unlike traditional setups where lost account details could be recovered by going to the bank or presenting some form of ID, some credentials, when lost, cannot be retrieved. Private keys for accessing ERC-20 wallets, when lost, cannot be gotten back, therefore locking the user out of their account permanently and their funds lost forever. Such security measures, although stringent, can be disastrous in some cases.
Keeping your Crypto Assets Protected
The disadvantages mentioned above and many more are risks associated with cryptocurrencies generally. However, several measures can be taken to stay on the safer side of things. Detailed below are some of the best ways to keep your Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies secure:
- Use a Password Manager: Many unauthorized account access occurs as a result of user password getting into the wrong hands. Often, these passwords are guessed, as a lot of people use a typical combination of passwords such as their birthday, month or year, their middle name, etc. Using a password manager generates random passwords for accounts and stores them in a vault for later use.
- Use a VPN: A VPN is a common security tool for crypto holders. Apart from masking IP addresses, VPNs help create a secure connection between a device and the server being communicated to. It encrypts the transported data, preventing it from being stolen by hackers or snoopers.
- Use Antivirus Software: Antivirus, just like antimalware works to eradicate malicious programs existing inside a system. Besides that, they also prevent these programs from getting into the system to corrupt it. There are several free antivirus software on the Internet that normal users can make use of. Getting a paid and enterprise solution would, however, be a better option.
- Backup your private information: The easiest and most trusted way of keeping such data safe is to write them down. In cases where these details are long strings of alphanumeric characters, a good option would be to store them on a USB flash drive and never use this drive on an Internet-connected computer.
In conclusion, cryptocurrencies can be said to be relatively safe but currency holders have to go the extra mile to ensure that their assets cannot be lost easily.