Cryptocurrencies have become one of the most polarizing investment subjects over the last couple of years. In 2017, the cryptocurrency market experienced its biggest bull run and many people made fortunes by investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins. 2018 has shaped up to be the most frustrating bear market for cryptocurrencies as the value of popular cryptocurrencies and altcoins continue to tank.
As 2018 ends, some people who have lost money on cryptocurrencies might be tempted to care less about their investments with an air of resigned disinterest. However, if cryptocurrencies return to bullish ways and you discover that you’ve lost your coins, you’ll be wishing that you were more proactive about securing them. This piece provides insight into 5 usually overlooked strategies that might help you keep your cryptocurrencies secure.
Free antivirus is not an antivirus
Many people whose online activities do not extend beyond social media, web browsing, and checking emails might be content to use a free antivirus on their computer; however, a free antivirus is not the smartest choice if have cryptocurrencies to protect.
For one, an anti-virus program needs to be constantly updated by a dedicated team of professionals who ensure that it doesn’t become obsolete as new malware surfaces every day. In most cases, its either the free antivirus doesn’t have a dedicated team committed to updating it or the antivirus company is selling your data to cover their expenses.
A mobile wallet unnecessarily transforms your phone into a bank
Mobile wallets sound interestingly cool because you don’t have to buy new hardware before you can take personal responsibility for the security of your coins. The problem however is that a $300 smartphone automatically transforms into a mobile bank that is essentially worth the value of your cryptocurrency.
Transforming your smartphone into a bank means that you can’t afford to leave it lying around carelessly, you can’t afford to misplace it, and you can’t afford to have it stolen. If you must keep cryptocurrencies in a mobile wallet, don’t keep the bulk of your portfolio on your mobile wallet.
Wallets won’t always be compatible with new technology
Cryptocurrency traders and investors need wallets for storing their coins offline when buying and holding for the long term. However, before you choose a wallet for cold storage,you need to be sure that the wallet company is in for the long haul, that the company will stay in business, and that there’s a guarantee that the file format of your wallet will always compatible with the latest version of the core wallet of your coins.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all yardstick for finding the best cryptocurrency wallet, you’ll need to make a choice based on your preferred operating system, level of anonymity required, integration with exchange, user friendliness, and price among other things.
Don’t underestimate 2-factor authentication
Many cryptocurrency security professionals always preach against keeping your cryptocurrencies on an exchange because you won’t have the private keys, and the exchange can be hacked or simply disappear overnight with your coins.
However, if you are actively trading cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to keep your cryptocurrencies on an exchange. The simple two-factor authenticator can protect your coins from being stolen even if someone manages to get your password.
Google Authenticator or Authy are good tools to ensuring that your cryptocurrencies are not withdrawn from an exchange without your knowledge or consent.
Backups are worth their weight in gold
When storing the private keys of your cryptocurrencies or any other data of importance such as passwords, you can never underestimate the importance of having backup files. You should ideally have backups both onsite and offsite.
Bad things do happen in life — you could lose your laptop, your smartphone could get stolen, fire could raze down your house. You can always replace the hardware and software, but data when lost is practically irreplaceable.
A couple of external hard drives or a pack of USB sticks can be a simple way to backup your sensitive data to prevent avoidable loss. You may also want to go the extra mile to encrypt your sensitive data before you commit them to storage.