A good way of understanding crypto-currency is to become familiar with how they are stolen. When you understand this and have a historical perspective on the incidents that have occurred you will have the tools to keep your money secure.  Keep in mind bitcoins are like real paper dollar bills or coins. If someone steals dollar bills from your wallet in the back of your pocket there is no way to get them back. A pick pocket is going to take your money and toss the wallet in a trashcan before there is any evidence that they are a thief.  With bitcoins they don’t even have to bother stealing the wallet to take your money.

Safest Option

Currently there are no public incidents of bitcoins or any other crypto being stolen from hardware wallets.  Hardware wallets kept in cold storage meaning they are not connected to the internet or attached to any electric current is the safest way to store crpyto. One of the most popular and liked hardware wallets is the Ledger Nano S Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet.  There are some with better reviews but cost more money.  This one runs about $100 so if you have a large amount of crypto it’s probably worth storing them in a good quality hardware wallet.  This would give you added security because you don’t store it online so it can’t be hacked.  It’s doesn’t need to be plugged into your computer so if someone gets access to your computer it’s still safe.  There is a duel chip so there is a backup on the device if it fails.  The secure element stores your pin code.  They also claim that it is malware proof because the configuration is done in a secure environment.  If all of that doesn’t make sense just know that you can still lose it and because it’s a tangible object it can still be stolen.  There are two buttons on the wallet that you need to press at the same time in order to execute a trade.

Risky Option

  1. There are tons of wallet options available.  If you pick the wrong wallet that is run by a  company without good security you can easily lose your money.  If a hacker steals the companies customers holdings and the company goes bankrupt, then you have no recourse.
  2. Remember the US election of 2016?  Someone working for Hillary Clinton clicked a link on an email which installed malware on the computer.  The hacker then got the email login and downloaded all of emails which ended up being published by wikileaks.  If you click on a link or go to a website thinking it’s your wallet and input in your password then you have just given access to a hacker.  If there is malware installed on your computer that records your keystrokes that can be shared with a hacker.
  3. You access your wallet or email on a public computer and the internet history isn’t cleared. Someone can gain access.
  4. You lose your phone and there is no password to access it then they can access your wallet from your phone.

Basically any hot wallet is not particularly secure.  Millions of people use them every day with no issues.  A good rule of thumb is to not keep a ton of money in any one place or leave it in a wallet that is connected to the internet.

Security Measures

1. If you don’t have a hardware wallet or find them to be inconvenient, then you should use a few separate wallets.  Don’t keep all your money in one place.  It’s very unlikely that you would get hacked more than once if even at all.

2. Be sure your passwords are safe.  Don’t lose them or forget them.

3. If you have a large amount of money in coins keep them on a hardware wallet.

4. Use a separate email for your bitcoin accounts.  Again you might not use it as much so don’t forget it.