Regardless of whether you’re learning about Bitcoin, buying some of it or just testing it out, at some point you’re going to want to know how to protect it. Learning how to protect your crypto is a very important step on your Bitcoin journey as it means you’re starting to take responsibility for your wealth and ensuring it’s protected well.
For decades staff at Athena Alpha have quite literally gotten up every day and read about, worked on and secured all things computers and networking. We’ve discovered and disclosed core data breaches for state level businesses. We’ve served real computer and networking clients for over a decade. We’ve completed degrees on the core infrastructure of the global Internet and configured, maintained and secured vital critical infrastructure for telecommunication networks.
We’re not stating this to brag, we’re stating this to make it clear: we are not generic main stream media journalists or randomly hired writers that most crypto exchanges use to publish their “security guides”. We are actual experts in these fields and bring all this expertise to our focus on Bitcoin. It’s why we have so many Privacy and Security guides!
From the $100 plastic WiFi router you got from your ISP to the random smart light bulb sitting in your lamp to your passwords. It all contributes to how secure (or not) your bitcoins are. So in this piece we’re going deep. Super deep. Not into Bitcoin, but instead into Cyber Security and how to protect your Bitcoin wallet.
This is a longer article because knowing how to protect your crypto wallet can take on many forms. So if you want just the tldr:
- Use A Hardware Wallet: Use a Hardware Wallet and ensure it’s bought anonymously
- Use A Self-Custody Wallet: Download and use your own, private wallet
- Back Up Your Seed Phrase: Use a strong password and write down your seed phrase
- Seed Phrases Never Touch Computers: Store it offline only, no pictures, no computers
- Separate Your Bitcoin: Have a cold storage stash as well as a hot wallet for day to day
- Know About Scams: Ensure you read up on the most common Bitcoin Scams
- Practice Excellent Cyber Security: Use a password manager, 2FA, keep software updated
- Security Through Anonymity: Don’t tell friends, family or social networks you own bitcoin
How Hackers Steal Crypto
Source: Lord Of The Rings
In order to protect your bitcoin we first need to understand how crypto wallets get hacked. At this point we’d also like to make the distinction between Bitcoin (the network) being hacked and your personal Bitcoin wallet being hacked.
The Bitcoin network is the largest, most secure digital network on the planet. Currently protected by an impenetrable wall that is backed by millions of Bitcoin miners. Attackers would have to somehow overcome around 350 Exahash per second to breach it (1 exahash = 1 quintillion hashes). It hasn’t happened. Ever. And Bitcoin the network has had a perfect, 100% up-time for over 10 years now.
Dive Deeper: What Is Bitcoin Mining?
How safe your personal Bitcoin wallet is from hackers is entirely different. Crypto wallets can absolutely be hacked and people and companies have lost billions and billions of value from these hacks. Thankfully, we can use what they did wrong as lessons to help you. The top ways crypto wallets are hacked include:
- Scams (phishing, SIM swaps, social engineering, blackmail, romance, ponzi etc)
- Hacking your centralised exchange account to steal your funds
- Hacking your cloud storage that contains your seed phrase
- Hacking your computer to install malware or to steal stored seed phrases on it
- Creating malicious “fake wallet apps” on the Google/Apple app stores that steal your funds
Our Bitcoin Scams piece goes into specifics on how all of these types of tricks and hacks work. We’d highly recommend reading it if you want to protect your funds as once you read and know about how most scams work, it will help throw up big red flags in your mind if you do ever come across them in real life.
How To Protect Your Crypto From Hackers
When it comes to protecting your bitcoin from hackers be mindful that it’s an ever evolving field. Bitcoin changes fast, so it’s wise to keep up to date with it, at least until Bitcoin in general matures more and things settle down.
This is why we have our Athena Alpha Pro membership which not only helps to support the site, but ensures people with funds they don’t want to lose have the best information available to protect their bitcoin from hackers for decades.
Use A Hardware Wallet / Cold Storage
Having a modern and well known Hardware Wallet that enables you to keep your bitcoins in cold storage is possibly the most important way to protect yourself and your crypto from hackers. We’ll say this again: If you have funds you don’t want to lose and want to secure your bitcoin wallet then get a Hardware Wallet!
Hardware Wallets work by taking your seed phrase off of your malware infested computer or phone and fully separating it onto a device professionally designed to protect it. They generate truly random Private Keys, store them securely, screen and prevent hacking and sign new transactions according to strict security guidelines. They’re the best way to store crypto hands down.
This means that if someone hacks your computer or you download some fake app on your phone they might be able to see your bitcoin wallet balance… but they crucially won’t be able to spend it. This is step 1 when creating a secure bitcoin wallet and gives users a huge, huge increase in security.
They come in many shapes and sizes with capabilities ranging from utter garbage to amazing so it’s important to not just buy the first shiny one you see that’s got ads plastered everywhere. In the future we’ll be publishing full reviews and guides on as many Hardware Wallets as possible including Airgap Wallets. If this is something you’d like to see again, please support us via a Pro membership.
Tip: Secure your cryptocurrency with a well known and proven Hardware Wallet
This post is for Athena Alpha Pro subscribers only