A Crypto wallet holds your private keys which are used to access your crypto assets stored on the blockchain. Learning how to protect your wallet from hackers should be of utmost priority especially if you are new to the space. It is very easy to compromise the security of your crypto wallet and therefore the security of your funds. Below are some healthy practices that you can adopt to help to reduce the chances of your wallet being hacked.
1. Show Preference For Non-Custodian Wallets
There are two types of crypto wallets- Custodian wallets, and Non-custodian wallets. Custodian wallets are wallets to which you do not have access to the Private keys of your wallets, they are in the custody of the wallet service provider. Examples include Coinbase Wallet and all centralized exchange wallets. They are managed by the creators of the wallet and the security of your funds is based on how well they are able to secure your funds and on their integrity. You really do not have control over your crypto assets.
Conversely, a Non-Custodian wallet gives you full access to your private key and you can move your funds anytime you want. The safety of your wallet is not dependent on the integrity or diligence of a third party. You should show a preference for using a nin-custodian wallet as it gives you better flexibility with your funds. There is more incentive for hackers to attempt an attack on custodian wallet service providers than on an individual wallet.
2. Never Store Your Private Keys Online
Try as much as possible to keep the private keys to your wallet offline. A common mistake is to store them in your email. Your email is not as secure as you think. Given incentives, hackers can deploy significant resources to hack your email. Anything that is online is prone to a hack. The best practice will be to store your private keys offline. You could write them in a notebook and securely keep the notebook under lock.
3. Get A Hardware Wallet
You should consider buying a hardware wallet for your crypto assets, especially if you hold a significant portfolio of crypto assets. Hardware wallets are specially designed with a lot of security features that can help keep your funds safe. Do ensure your buy from reputable sources so as not to buy one that is already compromised. Hardware wallets help you store your keys offline, and have features that make them durable and difficult to access unless by the owner of the hardware.
Some of the common hardware wallets are Trezor, Ledger X, SafePal S1, etc. You could get a hardware crypto wallet for as low as 40$ to a few hundred dollars.
4. Never Reveal Your Private Wallet Private Keys
You should never reveal the private keys of your wallet to anyone- online or offline. Not to any crypto wallet support group or as a condition to receive an airdrop. They are yours and your only to get. Anyone demanding your private keys online for whatever reason is a thief and should be ignored. Only your public key or address is required for you to receive any crypto.
5. Avoid Attaching Your Main Wallets Assets A Public Profile
There is no absolute security of any wallet, you should avoid being “too visible” to hackers. Do not attach a wallet with significant value to any of your public profiles such as Social Media accounts, cryptocurrency forums like bitcointalk.org, etc. Adding your main wallet address to your profile removes the privacy and anonymity you should enjoy with crypto and give hackers additional information to attempt an attack on your assets – directly or indirectly.
If you must attach an address to your wallet, do so with a fresh wallet to receive funds and empty such wallets as soon as it receives significant assets.
6. Do Not Connect Your Wallets to Phishing Sites
Phishing sites can introduce malware to your system and then compromise your wallet. You should never connect your wallets to such sites or any site that is untrusted. For some of the well-known wallets like metamask, and MyEtherwallet, you may get a warning message such as the one indicated above. You should discontinue the use of such websites as soon as you get such a warning message.
7. Do Not Click On Links From Unknown Sources
It is common to have links forwarded to you either through email, social media accounts, or through telegram or discord channels. They may be links that automatically download malware to your device and compromise your wallet security. A common malware of this nature is Clipboard malware. A Clipboard hijacker malware hijacks your clipboard whenever you copy a crypto wallet address, unbeknownst to you, copies the hacker’s wallet address instead and results in your assets being sent to the hacker’s address instead of the intended address. If you must click on an untrusted link, create a Virtual Machine on your system that will isolate such risks.
8. Do Not Use A Wallet Address More Than Once
Always generate a fresh crypto wallet address for each new transaction. It is a security feature for the safety of your crypto assets. There are wallets that do this automatically. If your wallet doesn’t do this, generate one fresh. A single private key can unlock more than one public wallet address. Do not worry, it is mathematically impossible to run out of wallet addresses.
9. Only Use Trusted Sources for Your Chain ID And Network IDs
Sometimes, you may need to set up a different EVM network or Blockchain in your wallet. Only IDs from trusted sources. Avoid trying out some random IDs on your wallets as it can jeopardize the safety of your wallet. A good source of configuration settings is on https://chainlist.org/. The codes are publicly available.
10. Use Different Wallets For Storage and For Payments
It is good practice to create a cold wallet for storage and another for making frequent transactions. ideally, your cold wallet should be a hardware wallet or a paper wallet and it should be kept offline. This is a way of managing your risk and at the same time enjoying the convenience of your online(hot) wallet.