How to protect your digital assets from hackers
Using a combination of tools to reduce the chances of hacking
On 2 August hackers exploited the Solana wallet, draining cryptocurrencies worth millions of dollars. They breached one of the wallet applications the blockchain uses namely Slope and Phantom. Preliminary investigations indicate that one of the wallet applications had a vulnerability that sent unencrypted seed phrases and private keys to a server which anyone who accessed it would see them all. As a result, the hackers compromised over 10 000 wallets and stole their cryptocurrencies. However, the hackers only breached hot wallets, as they did not exploit cold wallets. Now, experts are advising crypto holders to use hard wallets rather than web-based ones. Nevertheless, the users can take several measures to protect their cryptocurrencies and other essential data. In this article, we will explore ways in which you can reduce the possibility of phone and computer hacking.
Tools that reduce the chance of hacking
The truth is that you cannot eliminate the chances of your computer and phone security breaches. However, there are several tools you can use to reduce the possibility of your phone or computer system hacking. More importantly, these tools help to protect your digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens. Examples of the tools you can use are antiviruses, firewalls and antispyware.
An antivirus safeguards your computer by blocking and removing viruses that can corrupt your data files. Viruses can also slow your smartphone or computer. They can also cause the gadget to crash. Some antivirus programs have inbuilt firewalls which block unauthorized people from accessing your computer or smartphones. As such, they keep your crypto wallets secure. Nevertheless, you should keep updating your antiviruses to enable them to deal with new types of threats. Also, ensure that the antiviruses are always running when you connect your gadgets to the internet.
An anti-spyware is another important tool you need on your computer or phone to protect it from possible breaches. Oftentimes, hackers use spyware that accesses your phone or computer without your knowledge. Such software can steal your important data such as seed phrases, private keys and passwords. There are several ways you can tell that your phone or computer is not behaving as usual. It could be because of spyware. For example, your computer may take you to a website you have not anticipated visiting. One way of avoiding spyware is to download applications from reputable websites such as Apple App Store or Google Play. And of course, use reliable and verified anti-spyware.
Using Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication provides an additional defense mechanism to your wallet or cryptocurrencies. This is most important when using web-based wallets. There are different types of multi-factor authentication including SMS, 2 Factor authenticator or biometric means such as fingerprints. Multi-factor authentication helps if a hacker accesses one of your essential data such as a private key or password. When you have a multi-factor authentication system he/she cannot compromise your wallet. For example, if the hacker tries to use your password, he/she may fail to access your wallet as he/she will not have the authentication code. With some blockchain-based platforms, they can send you a notification through email of a potential wallet breach.
A firewall is a software that monitors the traffic that comes to the computer or phone. Firewalls block malicious data or files that may come to your computer from time to time. You can use either hardware or web-based firewalls to detect and block files that contain threats to the computer. They can also block traffic from suspicious websites from accessing your computer or phone. However, some operating systems have inbuilt firewalls.
Virtual private network (VPN)
A virtual private network (VPN) boosts the security of your system as it encrypts your data, making hackers unable to decipher its meaning. Most VPNs hide the IPs of the gadget you use, helping to stop hackers from tracking what you are doing. This can also assist when you are using a public network.
You can use an authenticator app when dealing with crypto exchanges or other DeFi platforms to add another protection layer. As a result, when you use an authenticator application such as Google Authenticator a hacker will not be able to get the required code. It is highly unlikely that he/she will get your phone or computer that has the authenticator app. As you note, the 2FA is a much better tool than using SMS.
Use a Password Manager
A password manager is another important tool you should use to protect your crypto wallets. The first function of the password manager is to generate strong passwords you can use on various crypto websites such as exchanges. Remember, you should use a very strong password, which is at least 8 characters long with special characters, capital letters, small letters and numbers. The fact is that it takes a lot of time for a hacker to crack your password. Secondly, the password manager keeps all your passwords. As a result, you cannot forget your passwords. This also helps you to avoid using the same password on different platforms. As a simple rule, use a password only on one platform.
The case of Solana wallet hacking has taught us a great lesson, to use hardwallets to secure our digital assets. A hard wallet, also called a cold wallet, is a device similar to a USB that stores your private keys. It is very difficult for hackers to breach hardware wallets since they store the private keys and seed phrases offline. You only connect to the WIFi when you are about to access your cryptocurrencies. In that case, the hard wallet generates a code or signature you can use.
We have discussed the various tools we can use to protect our crypto wallets and gadgets. Now, we will cover a few tips that can help you to secure your wallets.
Avoid using public WiFi: When you want to access your crypto wallets, exchanges or DeFi platforms, avoid using public WiFi. When you are using public WiFi your gadgets are more prone to security breaches than when you are using private WiFi.
Constantly update your operating system and tools: Make sure to update your operating systems and tools such as firewalls and antiviruses. This is because the latest updates are devised to protect your system from new threats, you may not yet know.
Separate your personal and work devices: It is not secure to access your crypto wallets and exchanges while using workplace gadgets that several people can use. After all, you may share the same network at the workplace which creates vulnerabilities in your wallets. This applies to your emails. It is wise to create a separate email you use when dealing with crypto-related issues. Ensure that it is different from the one you use for other personal uses such as communicating with friends and relatives.
Avoid visiting websites and apps you are not sure of: Hackers can create fake websites and applications in order to steal your personal details. For example, the attacker can create a website that looks like a crypto exchange or DeFi platform you usually visit. Such applications or websites may divert the cryptocurrency to their own wallets, even if you put the correct destination one.
In a nutshell, it is important to use a combination of tools to protect your gadgets such as computers and smartphones. The common tools include anti-spyware, antiviruses, firewalls and 2-factor authenticators. Apart from these, you should do things in certain ways. For instance, you should have an email to use only when handling crypto-related issues. Although, there is no one sure way to avoid security breaches of your wallets, being cautious can protect your digital assets.