The security of our cryptocurrencies and exchange accounts is not something to be taken lightly, and that is why we at Atani want to help you improve them. With these 10 tips, you can not only improve the security of your accounts, but also protect your devices and be sure that they will not be especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks, giving you greater peace of mind when managing your portfolio.
10 tips to improve your security with cryptocurrencies and exchanges
Tip #01: Always have a backup copy on hand.
The first tip on our list is perhaps one of the least valued for those who come to the crypto world: to have our wallets and accounts backed up in a safe place. Today’s cryptocurrency wallets, especially non-custodial wallets, offer what is perhaps the best and safest form of backup we can have at our disposal: the seed phrase.
All you have to do is copy this set of 12, 18 or 24 words and store it in a secure physical location that only you have access to. That way, if your wallet is lost, stolen or damaged, you will be able to recover your coins quickly and easily using these words. Remember that with cryptocurrencies you are your own bank, and the security of your money is always in your hands if you use a non-custodial wallet.
In the case of Atani, our trading application also has a seed phrase, which serves to back up your account and to synchronize multiple devices quickly and easily. A really useful feature for traders who manage multiple accounts and want to access their portfolios anytime, anywhere.
Tip #02: Non-custodial service is always best
Cryptocurrency services are very varied, but we can quickly classify them into two types: custodian and non-custodian. Custodian services are those where the control of your cryptos is not actually in your hands, but in the hands of the service. It’s like banks, where your money is in the hands of the bank and they are the ones who handle it. This can be very useful, for example, if you prefer a service that offers some kind of insurance on your money (an insurance custodian, for example) or such a service is specialized (such as a centralized exchange). However, custodian services have two points that the crypto community openly considers negative:
- The money is not really yours (“They are not your keys, they are not your Bitcoins”).
- The service can be hacked, attacked or simply stop working, making it impossible for you to access your money.
In contrast, a non-custodial service eliminates all these disadvantages, because the money is controlled by you directly, and you and only you have that control. What if the server of the non-custodial wallet you use stopped working? No problem, take your seed phrase and go to another server, or better, simply create a raw transaction and send it over the network, in the end your money will always be in your control and it will not depend on a third party whether you can move your money or not. At Atani, our application is a non-custodial application so the control of your money is under your absolute control.
Tip #03: Encryption to protect your data
Always look for applications that apply good encryption to your data so that no one can access it by other means. A good cryptocurrency wallet will use at least AES-256 with SHA-256 to protect your keys from unauthorized access. In the case of our trading application Atani, we use AES-256 precisely in order to protect your API Keys from unauthorized access that may occur on your computer, since your API keys are never stored on our servers, as Atani is a non-custodial service.
Tip #04: If you have large crypto fortunes, use a hardware wallet or a well-protected full node.
If you are lucky enough to have a small fortune in crypto, then protect your money by using a hardware wallet or a full cryptocurrency node that is on a well-protected computer. Hardware wallets guarantee a level of security to your keys that is rivaled only by full nodes, so these two means are recommended for storing your small fortune.
Avoid using custodian wallets (based on web applications where others control access to the coins) or wallets that are on your smartphone (even if these wallets are non-custodial). In this case, if you want the highest security for your money remember this premise:
The less connected I am to the Internet, the safer my money is.
Something strange considering that the blockchain is available on the Internet, but it has a lot of logic: from the blockchain your keys will not come out, from those connected devices, they can come out.
Tip #05: Rotate your passwords and PINs, create new ones that are secure and use 2FA.
One of the most overlooked security measures is to rotate the passwords and PINs to access your accounts, wallet and more. Rotating passwords not only prevents an elaborate brute force attack from succeeding, but additionally, it will always keep you alert about the security of your accounts.
Another good practice in this regard is to use passwords and PINs that are difficult to break by third parties, for example:
- Create a PIN that is not related to data easily associated with you, such as ID number, date of birth, marriage, among others.
- Create PINs with at least an 8 number extension and passwords with at least 12 alphanumeric characters (numbers and letters, upper and lower case and if possible, special characters). A good example of a secure PIN would be: ##4L13n.LV471**.
These tips apply to Atani, remember to change the passwords and PINs of the application, to avoid that, for some reason, a third party with access to your PC or mobile, can access the application without your permission.
Another point that is often underestimated is the issue of 2FA or Second Authentication Fact. The 2FA policy is a measure that will ask us for a special code either by SMS or by app (such as Google Authenticator, Authy or Microsoft Authenticator) so that with this code a session is enabled to access the service in question. In this way, we will have to enter our login data (email/user and password) and the 2FA factor that corresponds to the exact moment of our login, since, without this factor, the connection will never be made. This is certainly an excellent security measure for our accounts, and one that is now available for practically any Internet service.
Tip #06: Keep your PC and devices secure
If you want to keep your money safe, start by keeping your PC and devices safe. Keep an eye on what you install, where you browse and your computer and mobile browser sessions. For example, if you are going to install an application, watch where you downloaded it from, check it with an antivirus (even Windows Defender does an excellent job) and if something sends a warning: Don’t skip it! If you have a wallet or an application like Atani on your PC or mobile, the best thing to do is to check the security of that app and in case the warning continues, better not to install it, in the end the peace of mind of knowing that your devices are safe, far outweighs the risk of using a dubious app.
If you are one of those who like to surf the Internet for hours on end, keep an eye on your browser, especially when accessing web services. For example, if you are going to access an exchange via the web you could use a private mode window to do so, and never store the password for that service, or any other, in the browser’s built-in password manager. Instead use a third party key manager and keep it away from the browser. Also use ad blockers, tracker controllers and services that guarantee secure connections.
Does it sound complex? Not at all, in fact, here is a list of browser extensions and apps that can help you with this task.
- uBlockOrigin, the best ad blocker you can install in Chrome and Firefox.
- HTTPSEverywhere, make sure you always connect via HTTPS and have encrypted connections for everything. Let’s thank the EFF for this wonderful plugin.
- PrivacyBadger, controls cookies from websites, and if they track you, just block them. This is another tool that comes from the hands of the EFF.
In terms of antivirus, if you use Windows, having Windows Defender enabled, with its update up to date and with weekly checks to your computer, will be enough to cover this point. Contrary to popular belief, Windows Defender is one of the best antivirus solutions today, and will give you a good level of protection. Also create normal user accounts for your daily tasks and if possible, disable administrator access on these accounts to avoid certain attacks.
If you are on MacOS, also use an antivirus solution such as Bitdefender for Mac or Kapersky for Mac, or any other you can afford. In case you use GNU/Linux, keep your system updated, watch what you install on your PC, activate firewalls and stay away from the root (system administrator).
Tip #07: Don’t use unprotected free Wi-Fi
If you are one of those who use Wi-Fi at home, at work or in free spaces, always have a VPN connection at hand to encrypt your connection. Accessing services such as exchanges or wallets from free Wi-Fi carries a serious security risk, since the connection point can be tapped to the point of stealing your data, with all the implications that this entails. In such cases, having a VPN active on your computer will prevent them from accessing your data due to the additional encryption on your connection.
Tip #08: Discretion is your ally
Do you have cryptocurrencies? If you do, perhaps the best thing for you to do is: pretend you don’t have them. Being discreet with your cryptocurrency holdings will not only help maintain your privacy, but will prevent third parties from recognizing you as a target to go after. That also includes avoiding making your address, email or any other personal information public.
Tip #09: Nobody gives you free cryptocurrencies, don’t fall into that trap
A common trap for scammers is to see a tweet telling you: “Send €100 in BTC to this address, and I will return €200”. It is surprising to see that something that many easily identify as a scam, makes many fall for it. In any case, scams are common in the crypto world, as well as in the world of traditional finance, and to avoid falling into them it is good to always keep this premise in mind:
Nobody gives you money out of thin air: Nobody can multiply your investment in a short time, and if they tell you it’s possible, it’s a trap.
Crypto can certainly give you very good returns, but it is not magic, so you should be especially careful with these “offers” because in the end you may end up regretting it a lot.
Tip #10: Keep up to date with security news about your systems and services.
Keeping up to date with security news about your operating systems, devices and services is the best way to protect yourself. If a vulnerability is discovered and you may be affected, then take the necessary steps to reduce the risk. Proactivity is the best tool at your disposal for security, and staying on top of this news will give you a good head start.
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