Without a private key, you won’t be able to access your wallet. If anyone else has your public key, they can do whatever they want with your wallet. That means it’s important to keep it somewhere you’ll never lose it but also somewhere hidden and secure.
Keep your computer (or phone) secure
It doesn’t matter what kind of cryptocurrency, exchanges, or wallets you use, you should take the necessary security precautions on all the devices you use to access your crypto.
Even though it sounds like a platitude, make sure to:
- Have a good antivirus installed.
- Don’t download dodgy software.
- Don’t use unsecured public WiFi without a VPN.
- Use secure passwords.
This will not only keep your crypto safe but yourself as well.
Avoid scams like “pump and dumps”
A pump and dump is an illegal tactic used by scammers when trading conventionally or using cryptocurrencies.
It’s usually employed by influential people who get their followers to buy into a coin or investment package, causing its price to soar. When the price is massively inflated, they then “dump” their coins, selling it at a massive price and sending the value back into freefall.
This scam is very profitable for the people running it and those in the inner circle, but others stand to lose almost everything they invest.
Diversify your crypto portfolio
It may be a good idea to invest in multiple cryptocurrencies and to not hold all your crypto in a single exchange or a web-based wallet. Get a separate hardware wallet for each crypto that supports it. That way, if one gets compromised, your others will still be safe.
Backup, backup, backup
Security is not just about protection from other people. You can also lose any of your devices or access details at any time. If you own crypto on any physical device, make sure to backup it up using USB sticks, other computers, or hardware wallets. Designate one device as your ultimate backup that you never directly connect online or use in transactions.
Finally - be careful who and what you trust
With crypto being such a hot right now, there will always be some unscrupulous individuals trying to make a quick buck. Every day, new scams promise huge returns for investors or early adopters. Chances are if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There are also many underground elements operating in the crypto industry. While it might seem reasonable to conduct transactions outside of the usual channels, be careful when meeting someone in person or dealing over unregulated platforms.
And remember, it’s not the crypto technology that needs to change, because they are already safe enough, but we need to take responsibility for our own security.