Despite the positives and great potential of both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the market has been marred by malware and hacks. Cryptocurrency scams, hacks, and malware attacks are still very common, and many people have fallen victim of this worldwide, which makes knowing how to protect your crypto even more critical.
It has been found that the relationship between cryptojacking, which is where hackers use malware to hijack the computing power of another person’s device to mine cryptocurrencies for themselves, is affected by the overall price of cryptocurrencies,. In 2019, this type of attack has been an enormous problem, with over 50 Million instances occurring in the year alone.
Furthermore, the total losses of revenue as a result of cryptocurrency-related attacks have ballooned to $4.5 Billion, which represents an increase in cryptocurrency crime of 160% when compared to the previous year. This presents a troubling picture highlighting both the increasing complexity of cryptocurrency crimes and a lax attitude towards security for many holders of cryptocurrencies.
Biggest Crypto Malware Attacks of 2020
Despite the massive increase in cryptojacking attacks during the year, there have still been several high profile hacks that have been more immediately damaging to organizations and individuals alike; these occasions show the importance of protecting your crypto from malware and shady actors.
During July of this year, a British-based cryptocurrency exchange named Cashaa fell victim to a devastating malware attack that resulted in 336 BTC theft. According to the valuation of Bitcoin at the time, this equates to a value of about £2.5 Million (British Pounds). The company deduced that the hacker might have installed malware inside their exchange transfer system, handling user withdrawals.
This was not enough to damage the exchange too much in the long-run, which managed to raise $5 Million to fuel expansion across the globe. Despite this, it is a stark warning that even exchanges in “cyber-secure” countries such as the UK can be targeted.
This is one of the attacks that shows that devastating cryptocurrency attacks do not only happen on exchanges, but they can also occur to individuals. On the 30th of August, 2020, a user on Github claimed that he had suffered from an attack that had drained 1,400 BTC from his Electrum Wallet. At the time of writing, there is no specific information on how the attack was perpetrated; however, the victim has stated that the attack occurred almost immediately after installing a new update for the Electrum Wallet.
As it stands, Binance has the most significant opportunity to identify the perpetrator of this crime. Despite this, it is still unlikely that the individual will be identified. Transactions on the platform connected to the wallet address from the initial transfer have been traced to St. Petersburg, Russia, however, it is unknown whether the perpetrator used a VPN to mask their true location.
Tips To Protect Your Crypto From The Latest Malware
Use a Secure Cryptocurrency Wallet
As evidenced by the Electrum Wallet hack that we previously mentioned, you must use a cryptocurrency wallet that is secure to protect your cryptos. It is well-known that hardware wallets are the most inherently secure forms of cryptocurrency wallets; however, a mobile wallet may be the best option for blending security and convenience.
It should be noted that a secure mobile cryptocurrency wallet should feature client-side encryption, log-in through secure pins, and will provide users with control over their private keys, never managing your private keys for you. It should also be noted that crypto wallets should not be used through public wifi connections, to diminish the risk.
This is one of those pieces of advice that seems obvious at first, yet so many people either forget to consider this or simply do not pay enough attention to it. To protect your cryptos from the latest malware attacks, you need to know what you are doing on the internet. It should also be noted that you should not hold all of your cryptos in the same wallet.
First and foremost, it should go without saying that you should never open any attachments or follow any links to a website that seems suspicious. This could be sent over email from someone that you have never spoken to or engaged with before. Secondly, it is important to make sure that you are using a password that isn’t easy to guess and is “strong”, which means that it includes various character types. This will make it a lot harder for any attackers to access your accounts.
Finally, it is also recommended that you invest in a high-quality anti-virus software on your devices, so that you can ensure that any upcoming threats can be detected and dealt with before they become a problem.
If You Do Get Attacked, Be Proactive In Learning
If at any point, you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to malware, affecting your cryptocurrency holdings, then this can be a useful opportunity for you to be reflective and think about what went wrong, and how you can make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. It is very unlikely that you will get your cryptos back if you lose them to a hacker, however, you may be able to check where your cryptos have gone by tracing the wallet address of the recipient if the cryptos are put on an exchange.
Then you should contact an expert so that they can advise you on how the attacker managed to gain access to your cryptos and how you can better defend yourself against similar attacks.
This article has reviewed the increasing prevalence of cryptocurrency-based malware attacks and some of the most notable attacks of this year. Furthermore, we have provided you with the best tips for protecting your crypto from the latest malware- which essentially involves being smart on the internet, consistently learning about how to stay secure in the ever-changing digital world, and choosing a secure cryptocurrency wallet.
Crypto wallets are the foundations on which cryptocurrency transactions depend on, whether that be for receiving or sending funds to another cryptocurrency user. Cryptocurrency wallets have been around since the beginning of the market; when Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto developed the Satoshi client (later worked into Bitcoin Core) in 2009. The Satoshi client allowed users to create wallets and transfer Bitcoin between them.
Despite the success of the initial wallet generator, problems were common in the beginning.
Since the explosion of popularity of cryptocurrencies in 2017, the number of generated blockchain wallets has increased substantially from 17.2 Million in the third quarter of 2017 to 47.14 Million in the first quarter of 2020. In addition to this, with the bold predictions that the blockchain technology market will rise from $3 Billion in 2020 to $39.7 Billion in 2025, the number of cryptocurrency wallets that are generated is likely to continue to increase massively.
How Do Cryptocurrency Wallets Work?
One of the easiest ways to think about cryptocurrency wallets is to think of them as a safe. We use safes to store our most precious possessions and if you were to lose the key or code to your safe, you would end up losing access to those possessions.
Cryptocurrency wallets work in the same way, although the keys in this sense are digital rather than physical. These are known as private keys and they take the form hexadecimal codes.
Cryptocurrency wallets interact with various blockchains, providing the ability to send and receive cryptocurrencies.
For example, if someone was to send you some Bitcoin, they would be singing ownership of those coins over to your cryptocurrency wallet. To actually receive the funds, the private key in your wallet must match the public address that the wallet is assigned. When these keys match, the amount of cryptocurrency in your wallet will increase. The transaction is then recorded on the specific blockchain.
The hexadecimal code used by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakomoto’s Bitcoin wallet can be seen below.
In essence, private keys work in a similar sense to your password with your bank. If you are sending money across to another individual or are partaking in some other activity, your password will be needed. This key will be linked to your specific wallet, so if you use multiple wallets you will need to keep track of your private and public keys. The public key is akin to your bank number, which is used to identify you as a customer.
No physical product or asset is stored within this process. Transactions are completely facilitated by the blockchain, which acts as a distributed accounting ledger; also taking note of the balances of each wallet on the blockchain. This blockchain can not be retroactively changed, which reinforces the legitimacy of transactions on the blockchain.
Some cryptocurrency wallets allow the user to store a variety of different cryptocurrencies within that wallet, whereas others may offer a more limited or even singular option in terms of cryptocurrency compatibility. Generally, a large number of cryptocurrency are built on the ERC-20 token; which means that there is a greater chance of finding a cross-currency wallet built for ERC-20 tokens. It is always recommended that you research the compatibility of each wallet before using it.
Some cryptocurrency wallets come with additional security features which decrease the likelihood of an attack on your cryptocurrency holdings. For example, many wallets support two-factor-authentication usage with Google Authenticator, which means even if an attacker gained access to your private key, they wouldn’t be able to access the wallet without the code.
The success of cryptocurrency wallets as a digital storage for a valuable asset has led some to speculate that there exists a much wider application for the technology, which can be used to store the value of other assets, securities and services. This has been seen with the resurgence of digital gold.
How To Choose The Best Cryptocurrency Wallet For Your Needs?
Each type of cryptocurrency wallet that is available to the public has their own sets of advantages and disadvantages and the best wallet for your needs will depend on your transaction habits and other requirements that you may have.
If you are using cryptocurrencies on a daily basis and you need fast access to your cryptocurrencies, then a mobile wallet may be the best option for you. These types of wallets work from an app on your mobile device and will allow you to pay for items or send transactions directly from your phone. Despite the convenience, you will need to do your due diligence when using a mobile wallet and choose one with a history of good security and fair practices. There are some privacy concerns over the use of the internet, however the internal security on these apps temper this.
Hardware wallets are physical devices run electronically that will generate your public and private keys by using a random number generator. These devices are incredibly secure against online attacks, although security may be compromised if the firmware is not correctly implemented. These types of wallets are useful if you are storing your cryptocurrencies for a long time, as they are not incredibly user-friendly and the act of accessing your cryptos can be more difficult.
Paper wallets are the safest method of storing your cryptocurrencies from online attacks as your keys are simply written or printed onto a piece of paper and never interfaces with the internet. Despite this, there are still risks associated with paper cryptocurrency wallets as they can easily be destroyed or stolen if they are not stored safely and appropriately. They can also be more complicated to use than the other wallets.
Desktop wallets are software programs that you can store onto your computer to access your cryptos. The keys for your wallets are stored on your hard drive and among offline options, they are considered to be a very reliable form of cryptocurrency wallet. Despite this, there are still security risks associated with this wallet type and they are not as convenient as other forms of crypto wallets. If your keys are not stored with an encryption, they can be stolen and your IP address can be hacked.
Web wallets, also known as online wallets, are the least secure form of cryptocurrency wallet, due to the fact that they are always exposed to the internet. Despite this, web wallets are very utilitarian and convenient for storing small amounts of cryptocurrency. Additionally, these types of wallets are able to facilitate rapid transactions and can often manage a variety of different cryptocurrency types. You should always ensure that if you are choosing to use a web wallet, that you do your due diligence as the third party will be storing your cryptocurrencies for you, as opposed to you doing it.
After discussing the advent of crypto wallets and how they work, it is clear that cryptocurrency wallets are critical to the successful widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.
In line with this, it is estimated that the number of registered blockchain wallets will explode to new heights to cope with the growth of the market. Different individuals will have various trading habits and will benefit from some blockchain wallet types over others, depending on these requirements. From the discussion in this article, you should be able to identify the blockchain wallet type most suitable to you.
As a crypto user, a private key is what stands between you and your cryptocurrencies. It is the PIN that gives you access to your bank account. It allows access to your cryptocurrencies, enabling you to send and receive crypto coins to anyone across the globe.
Over the years, many people have either lost or misplaced their private keys resulting in costly losses with no recourse. For example,James Howells lost his Bitcoin private keys, and it cost him 7,500 Bitcoins (now worth millions of dollars). This is the kind of nightmare that haunts many crypto investors.
However, there is a solution. Using seed-phrase securityenables you torecover your funds in case you lose your private key.In this post, we define private keys, seed phrase-security, and the best ways to secure sensitive information.
What is a private key?
A private key is a series of alphanumeric characters that give you access and total control over your cryptocurrencies. A private key is used to sign transactions to allow you to spend and send your crypto coins to anyone in the world. The security make-up of the private key helps to secure your digital coins from unauthorized access and theft.
It is important that you keep your private key safe. If you lose your private key or it falls into the wrong hands it is the end of your funds. Without your private key, there is no way of accessing your digital coins. You can’t spend, withdraw, or transfer your cryptocurrencies
There are a number of ways you can securely store your private keys. You can store your private keys on paper wallets or a hardware wallet. You can also store your private keys on mobile wallets, desktop wallets, or web-based wallets.
What is a seed phrase?
The seed phrase is a list of random words (12 or 18 or 24 in number) used to recover your funds in case you lose your wallet’s password or the device where your wallet is installed. It also comes in handy when your wallet is not functional.
The seed phrase is also called recovery key, seed key, and recovery seed.
A seed phrase is usually generated when setting up yourcrypto wallet. Therefore, it is important you don’t skip this step. Backup systems always come in handy when looking to salvage a dire situation.
Once you have access to your seed phrase, taking a pen and a paper and physically writing it down is the next best step. Memorizing the phrase is not a viable option. Also, never store your seed phrase on platforms that can easily be hacked like Evernote or iOS Notes.
Just like your private key, your seed phrase can give anyone who has it access and control over your funds. That said, your seed-phrase security is as important as private key security. So, how do you keep them safe?
How to secure a seed phrase and private key
There are several ways you can store your seed phrase and private key. You can:
Use a paper wallet
While paper is relatively destructible, it is arguably one of the best ways to store your seed phrase and private key. Physically write down your seed phrase and private key on a piece of paper and store it in a safe and secure location where no one but you has access. You can even laminate the piece of paper to resist water damage and possible tear and wear.
Besides paper, you can have your seed phrase and private key engraved on steel plates or other durable metals for enhanced safety. Metals come with more durability when compared to paper wallets.
For example,Cryptosteel is a device that allows you to back up your private key and seed phrase in a fireproof, shockproof, and waterproof manner.
Use a hardware wallet
Hardware wallets like Trezor, Ledger, and Keepkey are in existence to help you securely store your seed phrase and private key. The hardware wallets provide a safer option to store your sensitive data offline. Hackers have no way of accessing your data.
Create extra copies
You can write more than one copy of your seed phrase and private key and store them in different places. In case anything happens like say one copy gets destroyed due to natural disasters, you still have a way of accessing your funds. All is not lost.
Divide your seed phrase into 2-3 parts
You can write the first 4 words on a piece of paper and another 4 words on another piece of paper and keep going till you complete the whole phrase. Each paper can be stored separately such that access to the whole phrase is hard for anyone but you. Remember to number the pieces of paper to avoid altering the sequence.
Avoid storing a digital copy of your seed phrase or private key
Anything stored online can easily be accessed. The online world is not as safe as many people think. Don’t take a picture, print, or save your seed phrase or private key on a digital platform. A hacker can easily hack your system and access sensitive information.
By now, it is clear that your private key plays an important role when it comes to the safety of your digital coins. Therefore, the information must always be safe and away from everyone else but you. You already have some ideas of how you can safely store your private keys.
In case you do lose the private key (and mistakes do happen) thanks to seed phrase security, you have an option for easy recovery of your funds. Just remember not to skip the option of requesting for a seed phrase when creating your digital wallet.
Hey everyone, the team has been working hard on-boarding exchanges all over the world. This release will help more people, in more ways, onboard safely and easily into crypto.
We have two new options for CoinSpace users. For users in the we’ve integrated MoonPay which allows users in select countries to buy crypto-assets like BTC, BAT, BCH, BNB, DAI, EOS, ETH, LTS, TrueUSD, USDC, XLM, and XRP with ApplePay and some credit cards.
“We are very excited to partner with Moonpay to offer our users a simple way to purchase cryptocurrencies with fiat money. Coin Wallet is dedicated to making it easier for newbies in the industry to get started, so making crypto available via fiat was a logical next step towards achieving our mission,” commented Jonathan Speigner, Founder & COO of the Coin.Space Wallet.
By partnering with Moonpay, Coin Wallet is advancing in its mission of making cryptocurrencies more accessible. This was also highlighted by Moonpay co-founder and CTO Victor Faramond who commented: “At Moonpay we believe a user-friendly onboarding experience is essential to make cryptocurrencies accessible to everyone. We’re thrilled to partner with CoinSpace to help users top-up their accounts instantly.”
Going forward, CoinSpace will collaborate to continuously improve the fiat-crypto onboarding experience for users. In the near future, CoinSpace are also planning to add support in more countries.
List of supported countries
United States of America (see supported states below)
List of supported US states
District of Columbia
The options for buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seem to increase on a daily basis. There are digital brokers, peer-to-peer marketplaces and a quickly growing amount of cryptocurrency ATMs.
According to Coin ATM Radar, there are now over 6330 cryptocurrency ATMs globally, spanning 72 different countries. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading continues to see a state of flux through 2019 with wild trading volume and price swings.
That seems quite extraordinary considering the growth of Bitcoin still flatters to deceive. With such a stunning growth of cryptocurrency ATMs, surely people must be using them, and if so, who?
The way in which ATMs are used appears to vary from location to location. In wealthier countries users almost solely use them as a means of buying crypto while economic turmoil results in a helpful way to cash out funds.
Despite this growth, the facilities are still few and far between for most people. In many innovative cities, you’re still likely to find people using them as a novelty ‘trying it out’ rather than for regular exchanges. Malls and shopping centers have also been installing ATMs in the hope to attract the wealthy, rather than a focus on selling Bitcoin.
America leads the way with over 4300 of 6300 worldwide locations, some way ahead of any other countries. Canada offers around 750 while the UK even fewer at about 300.
Reasons for visiting a cryptocurrency ATM vary from place to place explains Matias Goldenhörn to Coindesk.
“In the U.S., clients predominantly use machines to buy bitcoin. In Colombia for example, it’s the other way around, people use the ATM to withdraw cash.”
With inflation rates skyrocketing in both Venezuela and Argentina in recent years, locals are quickly seeing the value of decentralized currency free from government manipulation.
Potential issues with Crypto ATMs
In theory, Cryptocurrency ATMs are quite simple, you put money in and receive coins to your wallet. Or vice versa.
Unfortunately, users have found a number of problems with this method of buying Bitcoin, particularly due to an assortment of scams.
Discussions on Reddit flag up issues with modern ATMs. It seems that integral regulation is turning many people off using these growing numbers of physical exchanges. Once a place for anonymity, a demand of many users, now cryptocurrency ATMs must conduct due diligence on transactions. These regulations are helpful for authorities in stopping illicit activities such as money laundering. Identification and even fingerprints are often required to make a transaction.
As you can imagine, all sorts of scams exist to try and swindle people out of their cryptocurrency. Some are clever, others all too simple. ATMs are a particular focus for criminals as users tend to be uneducated in the world of cryptocurrency, particularly if they are just ‘trying it out’.
Two scams, in particular, have become common, the first is unsuspecting people being tricked into believing they owe money or have missed a bill. Victims are then instructed to use a Bitcoin ATM to quickly pay their debt, sending money to the fraudsters cryptocurrency wallet. Scammers pose as companies looking to settle bills quickly.
In Canada, an even more simple technique has been used with a simple ‘out of order sign’ directing users to deposit funds to the printed QR code instead of their own wallet due to a software upgrade.
Elsewhere, discussions on Reddit flag up some other issues with modern ATMs. It seems that regulation is turning many people off using these growing numbers of physical exchanges. Once a place for anonymity, a demand of many users, now cryptocurrency ATMs must conduct due diligence on transactions. Identification and even fingerprints are often required to make a transaction, destroying any previous anonymity.
The taxman is especially vigilant of compliance as these facilities fall under the same Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering rules as online exchanges.
ATMs have become a particular problem, as anyone, anywhere, can put cash in and get Bitcoin out which creates massive potential for illicit activity.
“If you can walk in, put cash in and get Bitcoin out, obviously we’re interested potentially in the person using the kiosk and what the source of funds is.” discusses IRS Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort.
Using a cryptocurrency ATM safely
It is important to understand how you receive coins from an ATM. It happens in two ways, either you receive them directly to your mobile wallet or printed on a paper wallet directly from the ATM.
As discussed with the scams above, there are some important factors to be vigilant when buying cryptocurrency.
The number 1 rule – only ever send funds to your personal wallet/QR code. If asked to scan another QR code outside of your wallet (e.g. a note stuck to a machine or to pay a bill) it is a scam. There is no reason to ever send coins to a 3rd party wallet or pay a bill, no reputable organization forces customers to pay bills via a cryptocurrency ATM.
If you are processing a large transaction you’ll be required to input your ID, telephone and even fingerprints to verify your identity. Double-check the provider of the service is legitimate, even ask the shop or mall for more information before submitting sensitive data.
Cryptocurrency ATMs make it really quite convenient to buy or sell cryptocurrency. As we’ve discussed in South America, they could be vital to the continued growth of digital assets. Not only can you buy coins using cash but users can also cash out their coins on the go. Of course, where money exists scammers and criminals will look to benefit, so if you are using cryptocurrency ATMs then you should take just as much care as you would with a traditional bank.