Hackers wreak havoc around the world as they go after people’s money and sensitive data. They have various tools at their disposal, including automated scripts, that enable them to attack your computer every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times a day. And if you are a cryptocurrency owner, then you’re giving cyber-criminals one more reason to target you as over two-thirds of breaches are financially motivated.
That’s why it’s essential that you adopt the best security practices, known as cybersecurity hygiene, and increase your chances of avoiding an online threat. Read on to explore steps you can take to protect your devices, online accounts, and digital coins.
“Hackers attack every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times a day. “ — University of Maryland
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1. Install reputable antivirus and malware software
Not having antivirus and anti-malware software means that you’re vulnerable even to well-known threats. Having quality software to monitor your devices for signs of suspicious behaviors is a vital part of cybersecurity hygiene. These tools will perform automatic scans, erase malicious codes, and prevent attackers from easily penetrating your device.
Also, using a network firewall is another step to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your websites, mail servers, and other sources of data. If you want to learn more about how antivirus software works, then click here.
2. Update software regularly
Many of your apps, software products, and operating systems will update themselves regularly. You’d do well not to delay these updates as developers might have found security vulnerabilities that require the system to apply urgent patches. Also, developers might not necessarily alert you when they implement a critical patch to avoid giving hackers the heads-up.
3. Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
Most people know reusing passwords is risky. They’re also aware that relying on simple passwords such as “123456” makes them vulnerable. And yet, they do these things anyway. Surveys show that two-thirds of people use the same password or a derivate across all their online accounts. This means that if hackers get hold of a person’s password, they’ll have access to his or her entire ‘digital kingdom’.
The obvious solution is to use complex and unique passwords for each online account you create. Password managers, such as Keepass, can make this job easier. They generate a unique password for every account and you only need to remember a master password. Also, cryptocurrency hardware wallets are well suited to operate as password managers and NGRAVE’s ZERO will have this capability in the near future.
Another option is to use multi-factor authentication (2FA), whenever possible. Ideally, you’d rely primarily on face recognition- and fingerprints-based 2FA systems as SMS-based ones only move security to your carrier, which might not always be reliable. But if you have to rely on SMS-based authentication, then consider using solutions like those offered by Efani that protect you from SIM hacking. And some apps and software systems even allow setting up multiple 2FAs for different use cases, such as logging-in, signing transactions, or sending money.
“Crypto hardware wallets such as NGRAVE’s ZERO can be used as true offline password managers.” — Ruben Merre, CEO NGRAVE
4. Encrypt and backup data
Another important cybersecurity hygiene practice is making sure that devices storing your sensitive data — whether it’s your laptop, tablet, smartphone, removable drive, backup tapes, or cloud storage — use data encryption. Many apps have data encryption set by default. And protect your wireless network, too. Use routers with WPA2 or WPA3 encryption and update their default name and password.
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It’s also recommended to keep your files backed up either on an external hard drive or in the cloud. This can protect you against data loss or when hackers encrypt your data and demand ransom to give you the decryption key. These ransomware attacks are growing in frequency and it’s estimated that they’ll inflict up to $20 billion in damages by 2021.
“Ransomware attacks are on the rise — and they’re estimated to cost global organizations $20 billion by 2021” — Cybersecurity Ventures 2020
5. Avoid phishing scams
As you go about your online life, scammers will try to trick you into giving out personal data such as your credit card numbers, passwords, and bank account details. Avoiding phishing scams requires constant vigor. To that end, there are many things you can do: access only secure (https) websites, don’t click or download suspicious-looking links or attachments in emails, use only secure Wi-Fi networks, and beware of what personal information you share online. There are also Chrome extensions, such as Metamask, that warn you of URLs that are known scams.
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Protect your crypto coins
As crypto coins grow in value, their owners are increasingly targeted by hackers. Tackling this threat requires practicing cybersecurity hygiene as well as protecting your privacy, identity, and investment details. If you happen to be a well-known crypto hodler, for instance, hackers are likely to target you.
Staying one step ahead of this threat also involves using the best wallet technology for safely storing and managing your coins. NGRAVE offers a series of products that ensure your crypto money, private keys, and seed data are all safely stored and protected. Transferring coins is safer, too. You can learn more about our technologies here and pre-order the NGRAVE ZERO hardware wallet via our online shop.
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How secure are you? Take the test!
The NGRAVE team recently created a test where you finally face yourself: how secure do you think you are versus how secure you really are. Not only versus yourself, but also in comparison with your peers and much more.
You can take the test here, all information is treated confidential and with respect to data privacy regulation.
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NGRAVE is a blockchain security provider offering a user-friendly end-to-end solution for the self-sovereign management of individuals’ and businesses’ digital assets and cryptocurrencies. The NGRAVE product suite consists of hardware wallet NGRAVE ZERO, backup solution NGRAVE GRAPHENE, and mobile application NGRAVE LIQUID. Developed with world leaders in nanoelectronics, hardware security and applied cryptography, NGRAVE ZERO’s advanced features make it the most secure and easy to use crypto hardware wallet in the world. NGRAVE will support over 20 coins in its first shipped devices including Bitcoin, Ethereum (and ERC20 tokens), Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, and many others.