How to Keep Your Crypto Safe
So, you’ve managed to buy Bitcoin – now what? Buying cryptocurrency is only half the battle. Once you’ve swapped cash for digital assets, you’ll need to make sure they’re safe and sound.
There are plenty of ways to store bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but not all of them are equally tough on security. Knowing which are the best methods for storing crypto isn’t always easy – unless you have a guide like ours in front of you.
Always use two-factor authentication (2FA)
As internet users, we’ve grown overly-accustomed to logging into our accounts using nothing but a username and password combination. The downside of using only those two credentials is that if a hacker gets ahold of them, there’s nothing standing between them and your account(s).
Now, if your Pinterest account is compromised, that’s no real sweat. But if it’s your crypto wallet? Sounds like a real bummer. That’s where 2FA security comes in.
2FA security is easy. You download an app like Google Authenticator or Authy, then link the app to your account using a QR code. From then on, any time you sign into the account, you’ll enter your usual username/password combo, then follow that up with a one-time 2FA code that changes every few seconds.
Even if your username and password are compromised, the hacker will also need to get ahold of your phone and enter the 2FA code. While not impossible, the odds of a hacker doing so are pretty low.
Using 2FA on all of your exchange accounts is especially recommended.
Keep your crypto in cold storage
The undisputed best way to store your crypto is to keep it offline. Internet-connected wallets are known as hot wallets. A sophisticated hacker can potentially enter and exit a hot wallet with your funds in hand. A misfortune such as that is easily avoided by keeping your crypto in cold storage using a hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets resemble USB drives. They keep an ongoing separation between your digital assets and any internet-connected devices. So, instead of having to worry about your BTC being compromised, you can keep everything safe and sound in cold storage.
Currently, there are two very well-regarded hardware wallets. Both the Ledger Nano S and Trezor One hardware wallets are excellent choices that have never been compromised.
Use a VPN
When buying or selling cryptocurrency on an exchange, you should never use a public network. Cafes, airports, bus stations, and public squares usually offer free wifi, but connecting to those networks puts your data at risk.
If you’re always on the move and need to access a cryptocurrency exchange or other financially-sensitive website, always do so from behind a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Essentially, a VPN masks your IP address, making it difficult to track you down. If you’re connected to a public network, a VPN acts as a shield between you and the rest of the system, helping to keep your data safe.