Cryptocurrency exchanges and stakeholders including investors have felt the impact of everything from vulnerability exploit to social engineering scams over the years ever since cryptocurrency trading came into existence. It should not be surprising. The growing adoption of cryptocurrency and its contribution to the economy grabs the attention of fraudsters. The only option that remains is to secure your crypto account and stay alert.
Here are 10 proven security tips – some from the old school days and some from the contemporary tech world – that you can exercise to protect your cryptocurrency exchange account.
#1. Use hard-to-guess password
Your account password should not include easy-to-guess information like date of birth, address, phone number, etc. Make passwords using all the possible combinations of number, symbol (!@#$%^&*), and the alphabet. Hackers use sophisticated tools to try different permutations and combinations to gain access. In a few minutes of their exercise, they can experiment with multiple such combinations. You should not leave loopholes by using common info related to your personal life.
You might have a concern with memorizing the password. Take the help of any reliable password manager. It can help with storing passwords of many of your digital spaces, and all you need to remember is just one password that of the password manager.
#2. Do not keep the same passwords for multiple accounts
Most of the time, for the simplicity of remembrance, users keep the same or almost the same passwords for different accounts. It’s a risky take and you should avoid this practice. Do not keep a shared password from your email, social account, or even the one that you use with other crypto exchanges.
#3. Do not share account credentials
Being human we start trusting others. It’s a good habit to build relationships but when it comes to monetary matters, exercise some confidentiality. It would be good if you avoid sharing credentials with others. It serves two purposes. First, your account security remains intact, and second, you don’t clash with others. It’s a good thing not to sow the seed of conflict.
#4. SMS authentication can be risky
For years, SMS served as a popular means for financial institutions and other firms for the implementation of 2-factor authentication, where signing in into an account requires a password, as well as a verification code, sent through SMS, but with growing SIM abuse, it has become vulnerable too.
Hackers may gain access to your personal information and get issued a duplicate SIM for your phone number, thereby gaining access to your messaging app and the messages.
#5. Use open-source authentication app Instead
Verification code sent by your exchange to the authentication app changes every 30 seconds, thereby leaving less opportunity for exploiters to misuse it even if they manage to get access to your SIM where SMS abuse was possible. One-time passcodes are generated using open standards developed by the Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH).
Good authenticator apps include:
Android: Aegis Authenticator, and OTP
#6. Keep KYC information confidential
Limit your KYC information to the trading exchange or banking system. It has personal information like date of birth, address, contact number, email, etc., that you should try to keep confidential as far as possible.
#7. Secure your API keys when using exchange API
Your exchange API key deserves similar privacy as your exchange password. If you are new to the feature, let us tell you that the exchange APP key gives you access to your order history, your exchange wallet’s funds, and allows you to deposit and withdraw funds. If it falls into the wrong hands, there is a high probability of your account being compromised or misused. Even if you’re only using the API to track your funds, uncheck the withdraw and trade functions (as shown in the screenshot above), to stay safe in situations of API key theft.
#8. Use secure crypto wallets
A crypto wallet can be a software application or hardware device to store your public and private keys, and store, send and receive tokens. Hot wallets are linked to the Internet while cold wallets are offline wallets. Internet connectivity makes hot wallets more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In the hot wallet category, you can find both open source (free) and commercial (paid) software. Cold wallets are paid only. Read our previous post How to Secure Your Cryptocurrency? to know more about wallets and security tips. When it comes to buying a wallet, make sure you go through the pros and cons of the best that are available in the market.
#9. Keep your device free from viruses and malware
It sounds to be cliched advice for anyone using the internet, but this seriously needs attention. Operation system publishers from Apple to Microsoft to Google and Apache Linux – all try to counteract emerging viruses and malware by improving the OS security features and make them available with their latest releases. Do not postpone or overlook the latest OS updates. Reliable third-party free or paid Internet security software apps are also available in the market.
#10. Beware of phishing attempts
This has been one of the popular gateways for hackers to gain access to users’ exchange accounts. They lure them with irresistible offers and discounts through emails, text messages, or internet-based properties and make them visit phishing sites (sites impersonating the genuine trading site, wallet site, etc.), thereby making users submit their crypto exchange information or other personal information that can be used as an intermediate means to reach the exchange account.