On 26 September 2020, KuCoin detected a hack after noticing large withdrawals from its hot wallets. Before this, KuCoinconsidered itself as being the most secure cryptocurrency exchange worldwide. However, once they were aware of the unusual activity, the company performed a security audit, and this audit highlighted missing funds. The hacker managed to steal Bitcoin assets accumulating up to $150 million.
Since this disaster, many crypto owners should be aware of how they can improve their security when online. By doing this, their hot wallets can be a lot more difficult to hack. While it may sound extremely high-tech to try and protect your data online, adopting a few simple cybersecurity practices can go a long way to keeping you and your funds safe.
- Encryption using a VPN
One major issue when transacting crypto is that ISPs, criminals, and advertising companies can track your location using your IP address. This opens the door to malicious third parties who can identify your location and leverage it to figure out and follow your digital footprint. There are, however, ways to stop your digital footprint from being seen.
One solution is to use a VPN. This ensures online activity and messages are encrypted, shielding your IP address from others. If you are wondering how to hide my IP, try using a VPN. They can make your digital footprint much more secure.
- Ignore unusual emails
When an unusual email lands in your inbox, do not even click on the email to open it. Delete the email straight away. The reason for this is that even by opening and interacting with the email, you are offering the hacker a chance to hack you and gain access to your personal data. Remember that if an email is legitimate and important, the person will try and get hold of you another way.
You can identify a ‘spammy’ email by seeing whether the email is sent from a public email domain, whether the name is misspelled, and whether the message creates a sense of urgency. If you do happen to open the email, check the spelling and grammar. Never open any attachments or click on any links.
- Use two-factor authentication
While it is important to have a strong password, this can sometimes not be enough. By implementing a two-factor or multi-factor authentication, you add more layers to your security, making it much harder for hackers to gain access to your crypto wallet. While two-factor authentication is not infallible, it does make the hacker’s life harder. And if they find it too difficult, they are more likely to give up and move on.
- Keep up with updates
Software patches are rolled out for a reason – to keep users safe and to improve the useability of their products. Security flaws can appear within any company, so when a company offers an update, it is usually so that they can patch over a flaw. Check your wallet and set alerts and turn on notifications so that you know when the latest update is active. While you may find it irritating to start the download, it is the lesser of two evils.
- Connect securely
Never connect your smartphone, laptop, or tablet to an unsecured connection. By doing so, you are allowing hackers to gain easy access to your devices. You must only ever connect to private networks, especially when handling sensitive information. This means no more logging on via the free Wi-Fi network at your local coffee shop. You never know who’s waiting to hijack your unsecured connection.
- Information vulnerability (exposing your information to anyone and providing them easy access to your emails and login credentials).
- Malware distribution (allowing hackers to distribute malware to your devices).
If the KuCoin Hack taught us anything, it is that we need to be much more thoughtful when it comes to our online security. Crypto owners need to be much more aware of their hot wallets and practice basic online security strategies.
Be sure to take the above tips on board if you want to stay safe online, especially if you invest in crypto.