Top 10 Bitcoin Security Tips
You bought your coins and now you want to keep them as safe as possible. Read our Top 10 Bitcoin security tips to find out how.
Store Private Keys Offline
It should go without saying that your private key is absolutely private and should not be known to anyone except for you. For example, you can store them on a computer that has no internet connection in order to not fall prey to malware or hacker attacks. Also, private keys can be stored on a piece of paper or special hardware (“cold wallet”), similar to the USB key.
Use Dedicated Hardware
You can make use of a dedicated USB key in moving data from your online computer to your offline computer. This is to minimize its exposure to potential viruses or hackers. You can even use an offline computer for your offline wallet.
Make Use of Hardware Wallet
You may already know this, but using a hardware wallet is perhaps the safest way to store your Bitcoin. This wallet effectively makes use of a USB key that comes with an on board computer running in its own special operating system, which is dedicated to operating a Bitcoin wallet.
Secure Your PC
Always be aware of whether your antivirus software is up to date, as well as any other security options. It only takes just one security vulnerability to have your computer hacked - you must remain vigilant at all times.
This sounds slightly like what hackers in a bad movie would say, but it’s true: using the Linux operating system might be a good choice. Linux has the best record of resisting any USB based attacks so choose this as the USB drive for transferring Bitcoin related transactions from online to offline computers.
There’s a saying that goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This applies to keeping your Bitcoin safe and sound as well: kept in a secure place, a backup of your cryptocurrency wallet may save you from hardware failures and a lot of human slip ups. It will also let you restore your wallet in case your PC or phone gets stolen.
Protect Your Identity
As much as you can, do not divulge any piece of information which can be used to access your personal information - PINs, phone numbers, email addresses, passwords, etc. Not even your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet - those are common backup questions. Avoid suspicious transactions - if you do not have a good feeling about that transaction, do not be afraid to pull the plug.
Use an Escrow Service
When you need to buy or sell something and you aren’t sure who is on the other side, you can use an “escrow service.” In these cases, the person who needs to make the payment sends their Bitcoins to the escrow service while they wait to receive the item they are buying. Meanwhile, the seller knows their money is safe with the escrow service and sends the agreed item. When the buyer receives the merchandise, they notify the escrow service to finalize the payment. That way, both the buyer and seller remain safe.
Use Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
An additional layer of security is never bad. It may be tiring to constantly go through this authentication, but you are better off than losing your coins. 2FA includes a second layer of protection wherein after passwords the system sends in a verification code on trusted device so it becomes a bit difficult for hackers to invade this protection.
This is an additional step created mainly for corporate, but anyone can really use it. To complete the transaction, several people need to allow it (which created the name multiple signature, i.e. MultiSig) and the potential for misuse of funds is minimized.
And here are four bonus tips:
1. The smartest thing to do when it comes to your digital wealth is to keep your mouth shut about it. That means no bragging about how much you have made on your last trade on crypto trading Facebook groups, no telling people in bars after a few drinks that you bought bitcoin “years ago”, and no pictures of your bitcoin wallet to show off your wealth online. There is zero benefit to bragging about your crypto wealth. Only downsides. Potential violent attempts to access your wealth is one of these downsides.
2. You should not post any of your wallet addresses online. When you do that, criminals can see how much cryptocurrency you own and that could make you a target. Should you need to post a wallet address online for whatever reason, make sure you do not store a lot of wealth in it and only use it for the original purpose that you intend to post it online for (such as collecting donation or receiving a small payment).
3. Also, remember that transactions from these wallets into other wallets of yours can be publicly viewed (on most blockchain). Hence, if you are moving large amounts from wallets linked to your name, you may want to consider using an anonymous cryptocurrency or a coin mixer to make the transactions impossible to trace for criminals. Ideally, however, you do not want to be posting any wallet addresses online.
4. If you consider yourself a target, it may be wise to have a decoy wallet at hand that only contains a comparatively small amount in relation to your overall crypto wealth. That way, should it ever come to an armed robbery, you can use the funds in that wallet to send to the assailants in the hope that they will take that money and leave.