How to keep your bitcoin safe? Crypto expert shares top tips to avoid being hacked

How to keep your bitcoin safe? Crypto expert shares top tips to avoid being hacked

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Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency were stolen last week when 660,000 BlackWallet accounts fell victim to an unexpected cyber attack.

The hackers behind the theft got away with approximately $400,000 worth of Stellar Lumen (XLM) coins after they took control of BlackWallet’s servers. 

In December, Seoul-based Youbit exchange in South Korea, filed for bankruptcy after a vicious cyber attack stole a fifth of its clients crypto holdings.

And most infamous of all is the bitcoin exchange Mt. Got which was forced to file for bankruptcy after being crippled by a series of cyber attacks between 2011 and 2014. 

With these cryptocurrency attacks in mind, it would seem as though it may be difficult to keep your safe.  

But BadBitcoin, a self-appointed group of crypto enthusiasts exposing bitcoin scams and fraudulent exchanges, argue that keeping your bitcoin safe is actually “very, very easy”.

BadBitcoin’s project leader ViK, who asked for anonymity to due to concern for his safety, has shared some of his top tips with Express.co.uk.

The first step is to secure a bitcoin wallet, whether it is a physical hardware device or an online one. This serves as your de facto bitcoin bank account and us your first line of defence.

Bitcoin safety tipsGETTY

Bitcoin safety: As the popularity of crypto tokens grows, so does the threat of cyber theft

Hardware wallets are little devices, often indistinguishable from USB drives, which act as physical stores for your tokens. Many models often come paired with built in LCD screens to keep you informed about their tokens.

ViK said: “Hardware wallets are extremely safe and popular. The Ledger Nano has just sold its millions unit and the Trezor Hardware Wallet many times that.

“Opendime is a low cost hardware wallet that is often used as a way to physically give bitcoin or litecoin to a recipient. You buy Opendime in packs of three.”

Hardware wallets come paired with a private key – a password-like line of code that decrypts your wallet and grants you access to its contents. 

Without it, ViK said your bitcoin are inaccessible.

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Bitcoin wallets are essential to keeping your tokens secure – you can buy physical ones like these

You will also receive a public key which acts as your wallet address. It is an essential part of making and receiving transactions.


Hardware wallets are extremely safe and popular. The Ledger Nano has just sold its millions unit and the Trezor Hardware Wallet many times that

ViK, BadBitcoin


He explained: “It works like escrow. You glibly send bitcoin broadcasting your public key, but your private key is the only way to unlock the box with any bitcoin received and stored in it.

“In actuality, your bitcoin never moves anywhere, or ever leaves the blockchain. You effectively transfer ownership of it.

“Inaccessible bitcoin is still on the blockchain and is auditable.”

If you would rather opt out of hardware wallets due to the risk of losing one, then ViK advises you look into secure online ones such as Blockchain.info.

He said: “An online wallet like Blockchain.info is a safe wallet, where you have your private key, and if you lose it, they cannot get your bitcoin back either.

“Other online wallets are not so safe. One we came across today, Bitaddress.info, sends a copy of your private key, generated when you create a wallet, to themselves. 

“They own any bitcoin you place in that wallet.”

But all of this will be irrelevant if you do not keep your wallet’s private key safe and secure.

You can always transfer your wallet to a hardware or software one, but if you ever lose your key, then your bitcoin are as good as gone.

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Never share your wallet’s private key or you could lose all of your digital money

There are several ways in which you can do this, ranging from keeping your key’s on a piece of paper in your actually wallet or having it engraved on a keychain. However ViK said that some wallet owners get very creative with their keys.

He said: “Some store this private key engraved on steel or on paper in a safe, and even encrypted into music files or graphic files. I have even seen a tattoo.”

Another method of keeping your bitcoin safe involves running desktop wallets on your computers, but these run the risk of falling prey to computer viruses.

One final piece of advise is to never keep your bitcoin stored on a crypto exchange. When you purchase your tokens from an exchange, it might be tempting to leave them there just for convenience.

But given the number of hackers targeting exchanges shows, this is never a safe option because you are effectively relying on the exchange’s security measures to remain failsafe.

Immediately transferring your tokens to your wallet also ensures that you have direct ownership over them, rather than having them held by the exchange on an “I owe you” basis.

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