A massive 400,000 transactions occur on a daily basis, indicating that Bitcoin is now more widespread than ever before. Although crypto fanatics have been trading Bitcoin since 2010, it can still be perplexing for prospective buyers. There is a lot of doubt and apprehension because of the abundant amount of fraudulent activity and the lack of trustworthy exchanges and services to be found on the internet.
For those unfamiliar with cryptocurrency: Bitcoin is a virtual asset commonly used for purchasing goods or services online and investing. No governmental body supports Bitcoin but rather it functions using a collaborative method. Those who live in that particular area can generate coins through “mining” or purchase them using the usual money.
If you’re looking to purchase or sell Bitcoin, you will require an internet virtual wallet that you can attach to the trading portal you plan to utilize. You can also use computer programs on your PC for your digital wallet. Some people prefer to safeguard their digital wallet by storing it on a physical storage device such as a hard drive, so it cannot be opened or accessed from their computer while not in use.
Guide yourself on the potential threats and discover how to protect yourself (and your virtual money) when browsing the web.
Top Internet Risks: What Are They & How Can You Protect Yourself
The utilization of the web carries a noteworthy danger to you and your digital currencies, particularly concerning the safety of the system you are interfacing with.
When you are using the internet at home, you can be sure that your information is safe since you have set up your own router with a secure password. This encryption helps to keep out any people attempting to break into your network or interfere with your cryptocurrency holdings. When you are away from home, your internet use is open to the public.
Not exercising caution when connecting to public WiFi could result in someone gaining access to the network and, subsequently, your device.
Beware of the example of the person in Austria who, while connected to a public Wi-Fi network in a restaurant, was robbed of more than a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin. It is recommended to wait until you are on your personal network when conducting any activities related to crypto for optimal security.
If you have to do something online while utilizing a public WiFi network, make sure you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect yourself.
This additional technology safeguards your web protocol (IP) address and keeps your browsing activities undetectable to the network provider, like a cafe or a hotel. Furthermore, it scrambles your data when connected to a public network so that hackers are unable to intercept and disturb.
Give close scrutiny to the VPN service that you choose. Less scrupulous companies may be selling browser data. Be sure to conduct a thorough investigation before you pay for a reliable VPN provider in order to remain secure.
If you restrict your crypto activities to the security of your home network, keep in mind that your security is only as strong as its weakest link. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become quite commonplace, which implies many kinds of “smart” house contraptions, such as refrigerators, doorbells, and thermostats, are linked to your system.
Hackers can gain access to your system through the use of IoT devices.
If a casino can be hacked through a fish-tank thermometer connected to the Internet of Things, then your own home may be vulnerable to the same type of intrusion by hackers.
Many routers give you the choice of setting up a separate “guest” network. Do the intelligent thing and group all of your IoT devices to one network, and create a separate, secure network exclusively for your laptop or phone. By doing this, you can have peace of mind knowing that anything you do with your cryptocurrency is separate from the other home networks.
Make sure to apply this concept to the software you use, not just the device you have. This means it is a sensible idea to have a separate web browser exclusively utilized for crypto transactions, and another one to do all other activities.
For example, you could choose Chrome as your go-to web browser, and use Firefox when handling anything associated with cryptocurrency. This guards you from running into any dangerous plugins that may exist.
If you want to take added precaution, you can buy extra firewall programing to guarantee that your gadgets cannot be used without authorization.
It is important to remember to frequently check for updates and install them onto your router’s firmware. Manufacturers will constantly update the software to patch vulnerabilities. It’s shocking how often this is overlooked. Be sure to keep your programs and operating systems current by always updating them, as this will guarantee your security by providing the most recent patches, and will help defend you against any prevailing flaws that hackers could exploit.
How to Stay Safe When Buying Bitcoin
It’s true that buying Bitcoin comes with certain risks. Many individuals have been deterred from investing in any type of cryptocurrency due to the abundance of scams and cyber-criminal activity that put novice and experienced investors at risk.
You can take certain precautions to guarantee that you are taking the necessary safety precautions when investing in Bitcoin. Let’s analyze what needs to be accomplished when beginning to use Bitcoin and the precautions necessary for keeping your money safe throughout the whole process.
Only use a Secure Device
No matter if you use a desktop computer, notebook, or phone, you have to guarantee it is secure. There are a few things you can do to ensure your device is protected:
- Catch up on the latest updates and security patches.
- Get a good antivirus program. Check out our top picks here.
- Create secure passwords and make sure to use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Use a VPN. You can find more information about this in step 4 below.
- Check URLs. You want to see a padlock and “https” in your browser when accessing Bitcoin or exchanges.
- Don’t click or download suspicious files or programs.
- Avoid public computers and Wi-Fi networks.
Find a Reputable Crypto Exchange
The initial step you must take when investigating Bitcoin is to identify an exchange with a sound standing.
It is prudent to examine only those exchanges which accommodate users who adhere to KYC and AML regulations. Know Your Customer is an abbreviation for KYC, and Anti-Money Laundering is denoted by AML. These criteria all work together to stop money laundering and terrorism financing. If the exchange abides by the given regulations, there is a strong likelihood that you are making an informed decision.
Remember that when signing up for an exchange service you usually have to supply personal details which include your complete name, email, phone number, and mailing address. This data assists in reinforcing the KYC standards to keep people out of harm’s way on the internet — however, this does mean that you have to sacrifice some of your anonymity for these demands.
Check out what others have said about the exchange by reading reviews both positive and negative. The key is to go through a variety of reviews to assess the advantages and disadvantages of possibly utilizing that platform for your Bitcoin trades. It is now possible to acquire Bitcoin using PayPal if you are looking to join the trend of digital currency!
Choose the Best Bitcoin Wallet
After you have chosen an exchange, it is necessary to locate a wallet to store your Bitcoin in once you have purchased it. The two main options are either a digital or non-digital wallet.
These wallets communicate with the blockchain technology that digital currencies operate on. Your wallet will have a single private key that you must keep closely guarded and you will also have a public address associated with it, which you can share with others publically.
Using a private key allows you to access your wallet in order to buy items, transfer funds to other people, or exchange it for a different type of currency. The public blockchain address allows you to receive transactions.
Depending on what you need, you can choose either a cold wallet or a hot wallet. It is important to bear in mind that Bitcoin does not provide a high level of privacy, and does not offer the same technology as many other private digital currencies, thus allowing for the tracking of your transactions.
Cold wallets are kept disconnected from the internet and are not linked to the web. These wallets are actual hardware: they look like USBs. It is thought that these are the safest and entail the smallest amount of risk. Investors who plan on maintaining their cryptocurrency investment for the long term and expect the value to rise over time are the ones most likely to benefit.
Consider cold wallets to be like secure boxes, vaults, or safety deposit containers. You can put many valuable items and a significant amount of money in them, and it is virtually impossible for someone to break into them. However, it may take some time and effort to access the stored items. To view a commonly used cold wallet, check out the Ledger Nano S Plus.
Hot wallets are recommended for those who are regularly involved in the crypto world, traders who complete exchanges on a regular basis, and those who make a large number of transactions. They are associated with the web and have been designed to simplify the process of initiating and activating your Bitcoin transactions quickly.
Currently, it is often advised to keep only the amount of money which you plan to actively use in a hot wallet and keep the balance in a cold wallet. If you’re looking for a hot wallet, you have different options:
- Desktop wallets: This is software you download onto your laptop or desktop. It’s encrypted (or certainly should be) and installed onto your device. Get a strong antivirus program if your device is connected to the internet. You can look at Exodus or Coinbase desktop wallets for some good examples.
- Mobile wallets: These are similar to desktop wallets, just for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. They’re generally more convenient and have QR code transactions for those that buy, sell and trade digital currency regularly (if you do this, be wary of QR code fraud). They’re still connected to the internet, so keep that in mind. Examples of a mobile wallet would be Edge and SoFi.
- Web-based wallets: These wallets are only accessible through the internet. While they are convenient, this makes them the most insecure for holding your Bitcoin. Websites can be targeted by DDOS and other kinds of cyberattacks. If the company underwent a data breach, your information would also be at risk.
A mobile wallet is useful for smaller everyday payments or trades, but an offline wallet is more suitable for putting away large sums of money. The main downside to owning multiple wallets is that it requires extra care to ensure that each one is properly looked after and kept safe. It could be beneficial to consider using a password manager in this situation.
It is important to choose a strong password for your wallet to help protect it against potential cyber attacks. Adding two-factor authentication to your online accounts is an extra measure of protection to ensure your investment remains safe.
Making a copy of your wallet is a vital action to protect yourself while investing in Bitcoin. You need to compose a set of distinct words creating a backup sentence. This is usually a necessity when creating a wallet. It serves as a way to get back your money if you cannot access your wallet.
Use a VPN When Making Transactions
When carrying out monetary exchanges, it is important to use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network will ensure that your private information is secure even when you’re moving funds.
It may be necessary to use your Bitcoin account or bank account while making use of a public Wi-Fi network in a location such as an airport or train station. A VPN of high quality guards you from man-in-the-middle assaults, which is when cybercriminals attempt to seize your information through insecure systems. A VPN’s 256-bit encryption protocols make it impossible for even the most sophisticated hacker to decipher the scrambled data, as it would take an infinite amount of time. In other words: you and your data are safe.
We can recommend NordVPN for security and encryption. This VPN supplier additionally as of late positioned highest on our rundown of VPNs with no logs passed on.
Don’t Invest Money You Can’t Afford to Lose
Once you have selected an exchange, your wallet has been established securely, and your device precautionary measures are in place, it is time to determine a spending limit for your investments. When considering a Bitcoin investment, make sure that you only use funds that you are willing to lose should the venture not turn out as planned.
When you first enter the cryptocurrency market, you should exercise caution and invest cautiously due to its volatility. As you gain increased knowledge on Bitcoin and understanding the investment strategies, you may choose to add more resources as necessary but it is suggested to start off small and play it safe.