How to Keep Your Cryptocurrencies Safe; VPN, Antivirus & Crypto Security Tips
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network is a technology which allows your computer to be hidden from view, when connected to the internet. It will hide your activity from any third parties and also your ISP (Internet Service Provider) which are viewing the traffic that goes across the network.
It essentially creates a ‘tunnel’ between yourself and the web address destination, securing your computers internet connection so that any information you send over a network is encrypted. Your IP address is also masked by the VPN so that your exact location cannot be identified or tracked.
This technology is particularly important if you log in from coffee shops and on public Wifi. Especially for those in the USA, now that the net neutrality laws have expired, it is particularly important that you use a VPN when using the internet if you want to be secure and value your privacy.
One thing you must check when searching for the right VPN for you, is that it does not store any data. A VPN which does not store any data will allow for total privacy, and not the ability to pass your data on to any third parties or authorities that request it. That is why the location of the VPN provider is important, as there may be legislation in place in certain areas of the world that require data to be stored on the servers.
Private Internet Access
The VPN we recommend is Private Internet Access. This is the VPN we use that allows you to choose the country which you can mask the IP address for (for example, you can make it look like you are in Switzerland, instead of London or USA). It is relatively cheap and provides an anonymous tunnel between yourself and the web addresses you wish to visit.
What does Antivirus do?
Antivirus work by preventing, detecting and removing computer viruses, malware as well as any other sort of malicious software.
An anti-virus program is a necessity for the cryptocurrency investor. Protecting your assets are very important because with cryptocurrencies, there is no insurance like you have with the banks (up to 80k). The one disadvantage of being your own bank, like with cryptocurrency, is the responsibility you hold for your own assets.
Especially with the number of people investing in cryptocurrencies increasing, hackers know that there are funds on many household computers now, so their efforts will increase.
Having a form of protection is not costly, but not having any protection could prove to be very costly.
Kaspersky Total Security
The antivirus we currently use is Kaspersky Total Security. It does not seem to impact our processing speed and always warns us when we visit a site that tries to download a malicious file, with an automatically blocking feature.
There is also a VPN feature which allows for 200 mb a day anonymous traffic, if you don’t have a VPN but need to input a password at a coffee shop or on a public wifi.
What is Phishing?
There is a strategy that hackers use called ‘phishing’; put simply, this is where a website tries to get you to click on a fake web address, looking identical to the website you want to access and stealing your passwords during the process of logging in to the clone site. Because these can look nearly identical to the official links, be careful to only click links that you need to, otherwise type the URL in the address bar at the top instead, when possible.
Exchanges and Two Factor Verification
Make sure to enable 2 Factor Verification on any exchanges you use if they have that option (they all should).
This is where you download the ‘Google Authenticator’ app off the Play Store or App Store, depending on the operating system you use. You will need to scan the code, save your key and/or write down your code.
Tip: For extra safety, save your key to an external hard drive if possible and write down the key in a book offline to keep it extra safe so if that you ever lose your phone, you can still regain access to the exchange.
Officials will NEVER ask for your private keys or your passwords. If someone does, most likely they want to steal your cryptos. Your private key should be kept safe at all times and never shared with anyone (not to be confused with your public key, which is how you can receive funds from other addresses).
'Free Eth' Scams
Also, just in case you haven’t seen them in action on Twitter, there are some very well thought out scams on social media these days.
After an official tweet, fake botted accounts are impersonating official accounts and replying to it with the promise to give out free crypto currency. Firstly, they require a small deposit to their addresses first.
The comments which follow from this post are from accounts which talk about their success from receiving the cryptocurrencies from the fake accounts and these comments usually have many fake likes. These are an elaborate scam and you will lose your cryptocurrency if you send any cryptos to these addresses.