Crypto Wallets: Potential Vulnerabilities In What’s On The Market – Opinion

Opinion | October 17, 2018 By:

 So it’s 2018, you’ve just bought some crypto (yay! or yay?) and now you need a secure place to store it while you HODL. The first option is to store your new shiny coins on the exchange where you so excitedly purchased it, but this option could inevitably leave you at the hands of hackers.

Since 2011, there have been 56 cyber attacks directed at cryptocurrency exchanges, initial coin offerings and other digital-currency platforms around the world, according to an analysis by Autonomous Research, bringing the total of hacking-related losses to $1.63 billion. If you’re looking for a better/safer option, perhaps a crypto wallet is a way to go.

Now, the safer option may be to look into crypto wallets — though that can’t always guarantee 100% protection from hackers. So, when choosing your wallet it’s important to make sure you do your research because vulnerabilities still exist.

What to look out for when choosing a software or hardware wallet:

  • Is their code open source?
  • How long has it been around?
  • Who is building the product? Are they anonymous or public faces in this ecosystem?
  • Has their product undergone a security audit?
  • Do they give you the ability to use their product with a hardware wallet or another offline mechanism?
  • Do they have positive reviews in multiple places? Do people recommend them across various forums, not just as testimonials their own website?
  • Have there been vulnerabilities in the past? How were they addressed by the team building the product?
  • Do they have someone dedicated to the security of the product on staff?
  • Do they have a bug bounty program in place?
  • When you email support, do you get a timely and helpful response?

While crypto wallets are definitely a step in the right direction in terms of security, banking cryptocurrencies, and overall ease, they do have a ways to go. Currently, there are almost 22 million bitcoin wallets in use, according to data compiled by Bitinfocharts.com, and 19 million crypto wallets with ethereum in them according to Ether Scan (that’s a lot of people with crypto wallets).

The key factors and recommendations we can pass on, from our very own trials and tribulations are to get educated and to take every precaution…. more specifically:

  • Invest in a USB Drive for backing up keys/information so it is NOT on your computer
  • Invest in a Ledger or Trezor Hardware Wallet
  • Reach out to your wallets customer service team immediately, so they can help you.
  • If you have an auto-upload screenshot app (e.g. Cloud App), get rid of it, uploading every screenshot you take, intentional or unintentional, to the web is senseless and puts your security in the security of a random, insecure, screenshot app.
  • If you have a remote viewer (e.g.Teamviewer), get rid of it. Putting in a door to your entire, unlocked computer is dangerous and puts everything you store, access, decrypt, encrypt, or otherwise have or sometimes have at risk.
  • Install a password manager (e.g. 1Password, LastPass)
  • Audit your Chrome Extensions
  • Use incognito mode more often than not (especially when accessing super-secure things like hosting/registrar/banking/crypto)
  • Encrypt your Computer / Laptop
  • Change your passwords to new, unique, strong passwords
  • Enable 2FA on all the things via Google Authenticator
  • Remove your phone number and email as a backup option
  • Remove any “Application Specific Passwords” that will bypass auth.

If you ever encounter a malicious crypto site that isn’t blocked, report it immediately to https://etherscamdb.info/ in order to help others avoid being compromised, and remember, the world is a dark place, and no one can be trusted.