How To Keep Your Finances And Cryptocurrencies Secure From Cybercriminals

Gold coin with the Bitcoin logo on it leaning on a padlock. Represents secure cryptocurrency.

If there’s one thing that we’ve become more accustomed to since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s online shopping and banking. More people than ever are working remotely from their homes, a circumstance that has also given them the incentive to take care of their shopping and banking needs online. E-commerce sales are set to break into trillion-dollar numbers this year, which signals the convenience that the power of online shopping offers.

But with great power comes great responsibility, namely, the responsibility of users to protect their sensitive financial information in cyberspace. Despite the convenience that online shopping and banking provide, they also give cybercriminals different opportunities to compromise personal information such as usernames and passwords. So, whether you shop online or are a regular crypto user, it’s up to you to keep your finances and cryptocurrencies safe from malicious third parties.

How To Protect Your Username And Password From Phishing Scams

Among the most typical scams that cybercriminals execute to steal personal information are phishing attacks. Threat actors interested in quickly obtaining someone’s identity often send phishing links via text messages or emails to unwitting users to steal their bank account login information. Aside from banks, cybercriminals may also impersonate online retailers and even government agencies. 

The contents of the phishing texts or emails alert users of fraudulent charges and transactions on their accounts and direct victims who click on them toward believable (but fake) websites. Since these phishing links are sophisticated impersonations of legitimate retailers and banks, recipients often click on them in a state of panic and provide their usernames and passwords, eager to resolve their seemingly serious issue.

If you receive a dubious link through email, SMS, or social media, check the sender’s address for out-of-place characters that indicate ill intent. You can also visit the site (without providing your username or password, of course) to verify whether your browser displays an HTTPS logo. If you don’t see the HTTPS logo, the chances are good that the sender you’re receiving links from is ready and waiting to steal your login information and compromise your finances.

Phishing scammers don’t stop at merely stealing banking and online retailer account login info, either. Modern hackers seek to compromise users’ desktop computers and smart devices with trojan malware that tracks online shopping and banking activity. Cybercriminals disseminate banking trojan malware with the same phishing techniques we just discussed, which is why it’s so important that online shoppers and bankers maintain their digital hygiene whenever they access their accounts. Good digital hygiene should include the use of strong passwords that are unique to every account a user accesses online and a concerted focus to limit posting on social media that may contain sensitive user information.

How To Prevent Your Cryptocurrency From Being Stolen

Do you trade and invest in high-value cryptocurrencies? If yes, you’ll want to follow the security measures we’ll discuss here to safeguard your assets. Because cryptocurrency is decentralized, crypto holders need to be extra vigilant when it comes to their cyber hygiene and avoiding scammers and cybercriminal-led attacks. And considering that cybercriminals stole more than $7 billion in cryptocurrency in 2021, there don’t seem to be many signs of cryptocurrency-related theft slowing down any time soon.

So, how do you best safeguard your crypto assets? To start with, you need secure options for storing cryptocurrency, such as crypto wallets that support private keys. These keys offer the first layer of security and operate similarly to an online account password. Cryptocurrency wallets are available on different devices such as desktop computers and mobile devices, which means you can continue to buy and sell cryptocurrency both at home and on the go in a secure manner.

Before you choose a cryptocurrency wallet to use, it’s essential to understand that there are two “types” of wallets available – “hot” and “cold” cryptocurrency wallets. Wallets of the hot variety are perpetually connected to the internet with digital keys that let users purchase and trade cryptocurrencies. Hot wallets, while arguably more convenient to use than cold ones, do introduce a greater risk of data breaches because of their constant internet connectivity. Cold wallets, as you may have guessed, are always offline and rely on physical keys rather than digital public and private keys but must be plugged into your device before you can access them.

If you’re investing in and trading crypto, you may also be using a cryptocurrency exchange to manage your portfolio of high-value digital assets. While convenient and straightforward to use, these exchanges also present the risk of being targeted by malicious third parties. In addition to using strong and unique passwords and security safeguards such as multi-factor authentication, it’s highly recommended that crypto traders and investors use cryptocurrency VPNs to encrypt their internet connection when accessing their exchange of choice.

Wrapping Up

Online shopping and banking have undoubtedly made many people’s lives much easier. Unfortunately, they’ve also introduced the risk of fraud and cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals are constantly ready to steal usernames and passwords of people’s online shopping and bank accounts. That’s why it’s so important to maintain strong cyber hygiene that focuses on unique passwords, multi-factor authentication, and prudent posting to social media platforms.

Cryptocurrency users should also follow the same best practices that apply to online shopping and banking. Additionally, if you’re trading and investing in cryptocurrency to any extent, you need to double down on your cyber hygiene by using a cryptocurrency wallet and a VPN that’s specifically designed for cryptocurrency trading.

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