Beware of crypto theft | Pentest7

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Cryptocurrency theft is on the rise. Christine Schönig, Regional Director Security Engineering CER, Office of the CTO at Check Point Software Technologies, shares four pieces of advice for protecting against cybercriminals in a guest article.

Hidden doesn’t mean safe. The world of cryptocurrencies has attracted a lot of interest from investors over the past two years. The attractiveness of Bitcoin and the like has increased enormously, among other things, because of the low transaction costs, use as inflation protection, confidentiality and decentralization. An attraction that also attracts hackers. For example, ransomware targeting cryptocurrencies has been implicated in thousands of incidents worldwide over the past few months – and the number is growing.

Those who know the dangers of buying cryptocurrencies are better equipped to protect themselves against criminals active on the platforms for this new market. Here are the four most important pieces of advice:

  • Wallet Diversification: A private digital wallet is the first step to buying and selling cryptocurrencies. An important aspect for security is to have at least two different wallets. The user should use one of them to save and store their purchases and the other to trade and exchange cryptocurrencies. In this way, his assets are better protected since only one wallet interacts with external web sites. If a cyber criminal manages to access the trading wallet by attacking the external web page connected to the wallet, the savings wallet is safe.
  • Ignore the ads: Often users search via Google by wallet platforms. At that moment, they can make one of the biggest mistakes: they click on one of the Google ads that appear in the first place. Cyber ​​criminals are often behind these links, creating malicious websites to steal currencies from wallets, as our security researchers even recently reported. It is therefore advisable to go to websites that appear further down in the search engine and do not place a Google Ads ad at the same time – or even visit them directly.
  • Test transactions: Before sending large amounts of crypto, you should first conduct a test transaction with a minimum amount. This way one can spot a scam in case one sends the funds to a fake wallet. That way you can keep the loss under control.
  • Double attention for more security: One of the best measures to protect against any type of IT attack is to enable two-factor authentication for the platforms on which you have an account. If an attacker tries to access one of these platforms, the user will receive a message to verify their authenticity, giving them a warning and preventing a criminal from gaining access. With two-factor authentication, not only is a password required for authentication, but the user has to enter a second piece of information – such as an SMS code – to log into an account, which significantly increases security.

The cryptocurrency market is enjoying a surge in popularity, and it’s not just for the top dog, Bitcoin. Transactions using this new form of payment are growing exponentially, which is why hackers are targeting them in growing style. It is important for all cryptocurrency users and holders to exercise basic caution. Safety precautions, such as two wallets for different activities or not having access via Google Ads, as well as test transactions, help to keep the purchased crypto coins instead of experiencing a big scare one day.

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