Security within Crypto: Hard Wallets

ProtocolX
9 min readDec 12, 2022

A cryptocurrency hard wallet is a physical device that is used to store and manage digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies. Unlike a software wallet, which is stored on a computer or mobile device, a hard wallet is a dedicated device that is specifically designed for the secure storage of cryptocurrencies.
Hardware wallets are stored offline, which makes them less vulnerable to hacking and other forms of cybercrime. A hard wallet typically includes a secure microcontroller, a screen for displaying information, and one or more inputs, such as buttons or a keyboard, for entering data and interacting with the device.
Some hard wallets also include additional security measures, such as a backup system or a secure element, to protect against unauthorized access or hardware failures.
Overall, a hard wallet is a safe and convenient way to store and manage cryptocurrencies.

Why should a person buy a cryptocurrency hard wallet?

There are several reasons a person might consider buying a cryptocurrency hard wallet. Here are a few potential benefits:

  1. Security: One of the main advantages of a cryptocurrency hard wallet is that it provides a high level of security for your digital assets. Because a hard wallet is a physical device that is not connected to the internet, it is much less vulnerable to hacking or other forms of cyberattack. In addition, many hard wallets include additional security measures, such as password protection or secure elements, to protect against unauthorized access.

2. Convenience: A cryptocurrency hard wallet can also be convenient to use. Because it is a physical device, you can easily carry it with you and use it to manage your cryptocurrencies whenever and wherever you need to. Many hard wallets also have user-friendly interfaces and features, such as backup systems or the ability to manage multiple cryptocurrencies, that can make it easier to use your digital assets.

3. Support for multiple cryptocurrencies: Many hardware wallets support multiple cryptocurrencies, allowing you to store and manage multiple types of cryptocurrencies with a single device.

4. Portability: Hardware wallets are typically small and portable, making it easy to take them with you wherever you go.

Overall, a cryptocurrency hardware wallet can be a good investment for anyone who wants to keep their cryptocurrencies safe and secure.

At ProtocolX, with our combined experience in DeFi, it is no stranger to the mass amount of scammers and hackers online let alone cryptocurrency in itself.

My Experience

I (Adam) — have been subject to two cybercrime attacks on my cryptocurrency wallets in the past year alone which have resulted in several thousands of dollars stolen from my wallet when it was unprotected, this was done whilst my computer was switched off in sleep mode, my wallet was logged out, and the scammer got to work on my device unbeknownst to me whilst I slept — later waking up to a completely empty wallet in January 2022.
From this experience, I upped my security game. I completely wiped my PC of all files and pictures, you name it. I stored no passwords, or recovery phrases on my desktop and I bought premium anti-virus. Multiple anti-virus programs, because I wanted the best.
This worked great from January, until we fast forward to recently, 30th October. I had my anti-virus, and I had my wallets signed out again. I had all my accounts locked down. But… it happened again. I got hacked, for the second time this year. Luckily for me, they were mildly unsuccessful, didn’t manage to access my google accounts this time (phew) but they did still compromise my MetaMask wallet. I rushed home and managed to save the rest of my funds (80%) and got them out to a fresh wallet. This time, I decided to buy a hard wallet and never look back again. (I personally opted for a Safepal S1 wallet which has been fantastic!)

SafePal S1 Hardware wallet, roughly $50.

https://www.safepal.com/

My computer had a simple virus, but it was enough to gain access to my device and control my wallets, crypto accounts, and bank accounts without even requiring passwords or 2-FA to login into those. I later discovered that browser cookies are used to gain access to your personal information.

Browser cookies are small pieces of data that are stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit a website. They are typically used to store information like your preferences and login credentials, which can make it easier for you to use a website. However, because cookies are stored on your device, they can also be accessed by hackers if your device is compromised.

Ways that your devices can be hacked easily

There are many different ways that a computer can be hacked. Some common methods include:

  1. Malware: Malware is short for malicious software, and it refers to any program that is designed to cause harm to a computer. This can include viruses, ransomware, and spyware, which can infect a computer and allow hackers to gain access to sensitive information.

2. Phishing: Phishing is a type of scam in which hackers send fake emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate companies or individuals. These messages often contain links or attachments that, when clicked or downloaded, can infect a computer with malware.

3. Brute force attacks: A brute force attack is a type of cyberattack in which a hacker uses automated software to try to guess a person’s login credentials by trying many different combinations of username and password. This can be a slow and tedious process, but if the hacker is able to guess the correct combination, they can gain access to the person’s accounts.

4. Social engineering: Social engineering is a type of attack that relies on human interaction to trick people into revealing sensitive information or giving the hacker access to a computer. This can include tactics like phishing, baiting (offering something enticing in exchange for information), and pretexting (creating a fake identity or scenario to gain trust).

Overall, there are many different ways that a computer can be hacked, and it is important to take steps to protect your computer from these types of attacks. This can include installing antivirus software, being careful about the emails and messages you open and the links you click on, and using strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts.

Which hard wallet should I choose?

Last Updated: December 9, 2022

Crypto hardware wallets are considered one of the best methods of storing cryptocurrencies. This is because they allow users to store private keys offline away from the Internet or ordinary computers where they could be stolen after hacking.

Best Hardware Wallets in 2022 going forwards

#1 ELLIPAL Titan

https://www.ellipal.com/?rfsn=6997212.b42834

Best for: Trading and Storing NFTs and 1000s of Crypto Coins.

ELLIPAL Titan Image

Features:

  • Completely Metal Sealed
  • Multi-coin account
  • Support 48 coins and more than 1000 tokens
  • Unlimited coin store memory

Price: $139 on official website

#2 NGRAVE

https://www.ngrave.io/?sca_ref=2950506.RxattpYjyo

Best for: Custom Operating System.

NGRAVE

Features:

  • 4 Inch touchscreen
  • Anti-tamper display
  • EAL-7 certified
  • Biometric and Light sensor

Price: Starts at 398 euros

#3 BitBox02

https://shiftcrypto.ch/bitbox02/?ref=2elMJiVWqv

Best for: Simple backup and restore mechanism.

BitBox02

Features:

  • OLED Display
  • USB-C Compatible
  • Integrated Secure Chip
  • Universal Second Factor Authentication

Price: $149 on Amazon

#4 Ledger Nano S

https://www.ledger.com/

Best for: storing, trading, and transferring huge amounts of crypto, especially BTC, ETH, and LTC.

  • Features:
  • 3 blank seed recovery sheets.
  • It can be synced with Ledger Live, a desktop app for Ledger devices.
  • A keychain, key lace, and a key ring.
  • Uses T31H320 (protection) and STM32F042 (OS) chips as two protection layers. These help sign crypto transactions as separate pieces of hardware.
  • Support for a few wallets due to space limitations means you keep uninstalling and reinstalling wallets if you are a very diversified investor and trader.
  • EAL5+ secured against penetration attacks.

Price: $59 on Amazon.

#5 Trezor Model One

https://trezor.io/

Best for multi-crypto traders and holders.

Trezor Model One

Features:

  • Android, OSX, Windows, and Linux support.
  • The ability for customization of the device on the website.
  • Address creation at will to avoid the use of an address multiple times.
  • Set fee at the normal, high, economy, low, or custom level.
  • 3rd-party wallet integration support.
  • EAL5+ secured against penetration attacks.

Price: $59 on Amazon with free shipping only in the U.S.

#6 SafePal S1 (Adams personal hard wallet brand)

https://www.safepal.com/

Best for Binance and ERC token users.

SafePal S1

SafePal S1 is backed by Binance right from the Binance Labs kitchen and comes with PIN and private keys isolated to make it harder to hack. Introduced in 2021, the main idea was to have a hardware wallet that is more affordable than Trezor and Ledger Nano S.

It syncs with the SafePal mobile app. You sign transactions offline using QR code scanning via an inbuilt camera when, for instance, making crypto payments. It also comes with a mnemonic card where you can store the mnemonic seed codes and private keys, and USB cable cord, and brand stickers. It has a control button, and a display screen to help confirm transactions offline.

It is a multi-crypto hardware wallet that supports Bitcoin, Binance Coin, BEP2 Tokens, ERC-20 compatible coins, and Ethereum.

How to use the SafePal:

  • Charge and power on the device using the power button. Install the SafePal App.
  • Select, create a new wallet or restore one from a backup passphrase.
  • Add favourite coins to the wallet from the Coin Management setting. Follow the information to add.

Features:

  • No Wi-Fi, NFC, or Bluetooth connections.
  • Activates self-destructive mechanism if a virus or malware is detected, so be sure to save the passphrase offline and properly.
  • Management of portfolio via the iOS and Android SafePal App.
  • EAL5+ secured against penetration attacks.

Pricing: $40.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you can never be too careful when it comes down to the security of your cryptocurrencies. Just like you would store money in a safe, your safe with crypto is a hard wallet. Whether you get robbed (god forbid) — even if the robber has your hard wallet and seed phrase, they still can’t get access due to the unlock pin. And, of course — if they have the device without the seed phrase or knowing the entry pin, well. The device is useless anyway. You can just buy another hard wallet and import your seed phrase back to it, and all your funds are imported.

After being hacked myself in one year alone, I was naive to think anti-virus could save me. There are so many brutal phishing attacks, malicious websites and trickery on the internet, especially around finances and crypto, you never truly know what you are connecting to.
At least, with a hard wallet, you are saved by the physical device confirmation in your own hands, even if your wallet is compromised, those funds are locked without your permission.

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ProtocolX

Protocol X is the first SEM Auto-Compounding BSC project here to change the future of DeFi.