Published 9 months ago
Crypto has often been described as the wild west of the digital world. Everywhere you turn, there are reports of scams, crashes, and nefarious activity. 👀
The crypto community has grown at an exponential rate and it is reported that the number of users now totals over 300 million in 2022. Many of these users are new, attracted by bull cycle excitement and the promise of ‘getting rich quick’, making them easy targets for cybercriminals and scammers if they don’t follow proper safety measures.
So how do you protect yourself in crypto?
Here are our top tips to stay safe:
1. Not your keys, not your crypto
There is a well-known phrase among crypto enthusiasts — “Not your keys, not your crypto”.
Essentially, it boils down to the fact that you’re abdicating control over your coins when you allow someone else to hold and keep them secure for you.
Enter self-custody wallets. Arguably the safest way to keep your crypto safe.
Many crypto exchanges provide custodial wallets, meaning they’re responsible for safeguarding your keys. Whenever you initiate a crypto transaction, the exchange will digitally sign it using your private key. It’s incredibly easy and requires little intervention from the user.
Self-custody wallets, on the other hand, do not give third parties or exchanges access to your private keys. However, the trade-off is that the wallet security becomes their sole responsibility and has a learning curve to it. For example, a lost password with a custodial wallet can easily be recovered, but a lost recovery phrase with a self-custody wallet might mean the loss of access to your funds forever.
Many in the crypto community believe that unless you’re self-custodying your own private keys, you don’t actually ‘own’ your crypto.
The recent collapse of FTX is a stark illustration of the security threat custodial wallets may carry, where many unfortunate users lost their funds entrusted to a third party. The news of its dramatic fall has sparked discussions for self-custody wallets to the frontlines in the crypto industry.
2. Choose an exchange you can trust
There are many factors to consider when choosing a crypto exchange such as user-friendliness, low fees, reliable customer support, and a wide selection of cryptocurrencies. However, one factor that many fail to overlook is the security.
No exchange is immune to cyberattacks and security breaches, however, a good place to start is to take a look at how seriously an exchange pays attention to its safety protocols.
For example, a good exchange will offer two-factor authentication (more on that below), biometric login, and strictly enforce their Know Your Customer (KYC) standards. They should also have multi-layered security that is regularly updated to deal with the latest threats and attacks, and full transparency of their location, and the people who run the company.
Some exchanges even operate Bug Bounty Programs where ethical hackers are hired to search for security holes and vulnerabilities in the software.
Always do your own research and exercise common sense to avoid putting money into crypto exchanges with a significant history of cyberattacks or thefts. Regulated exchanges also tend to have a higher level of accountability
3. Bulletproof your passwords
With everything being online these days, many of us struggle to come up with and memorise unique passwords for each and every one of them. So what happens? Many end up using the same password on multiple accounts, even though 91% of us know that it’s bad.
If you’ve been guilty of doing this, let us reiterate that using the same password on multiple accounts is a huge security risk.
The first point of entry for a hacker is almost always your password. If you reuse your password on multiple sites, a data breach on one site will often result in your account being compromised on others too. The fact that 81% of hacking-related breaches are caused by compromised passwords speaks a lot for itself.
Consider using a secure password manager. It’s a powerful tool that automatically generates and stores complex passwords in an encrypted vault for each and every single one of your accounts to keep them protected.
If you’d rather not use one, make sure you follow all the recommended guidelines for creating strong unique passwords and consider writing them down in a physical book which you can hide in your home.
4. Enable two-factor authentication
Setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple but highly effective step that can save you a lot of tears from having your crypto account hacked.
It is a security process that requires the user to enter their username and password as the first factor, and then provide an additional, separate piece of information as the second factor. This could be something like a biometric scan, security question, or one-time password (OTP).
Even if your password gets stolen, the chances of your account getting hacked are lower with two-factor authentication. That’s because a password alone isn’t enough to pass the authentication check.
So do yourself a favour and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible!
5. Avoid falling for scams
Crypto scams are like any other financial scam, except the scammer steals your crypto instead of your cash.
The exponential growth of crypto in the past decade has created plenty of opportunities for fraud, especially towards new and eager users who do not follow proper safety protocols.
To avoid falling for these scams, remaining vigilant is always the answer. You need to do your own research so you know what to look out for.
Common crypto-related scams include fake giveaways, pump-and-dump, phishing, blackmail, trading bot scams, fake brokers, fake celebrity endorsements, and more.
Follow some basic rules such as never sharing your personal information with anyone, don’t click on unfamiliar links, double checking URLs, don’t download suspicious files, installing antivirus software, don’t use public WiFi, and never send crypto to strangers who promise to send more back in return.
Although it may seem daunting, taking a few measured steps to protect your crypto assets can make a huge difference.
As always, be vigilant, do your research, and only invest what you can afford to lose.
If you’re wondering how to buy crypto in Singapore, check out our comprehensive guide here. However, keep in mind that very few places accept crypto as a form of payment in Singapore.
Here’s where we come in — Just top up your BigPay account with crypto to turn it into SGD and spend it through your BigPay card.
It’s accepted by more than 64 million merchants worldwide, so you can spend your crypto everywhere you go.
At the moment, the cryptocurrencies accepted for top-up are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETC), USD Coin (USDC), and Tether (USDT), with plans to expand to more accepted currencies shortly.
Here’s how to top up your BigPay with crypto:
Step 1: Open the BigPay app
Step 2: Tap ‘+’ next to your wallet balance
Step 3: Key in the amount you want to top up
Step 4: Under ‘Top up sources’, tap ‘Cryptocurrency’
Go try it out for yourself now. 🤓
This document has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or to sell any securities, products or services by BIGPAY. Although the information contained in this document has been compiled and obtained in good faith, it has not been independently verified and no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made and no responsibility is or will be accepted as to or in relation to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any such information. Any information and opinions expressed herein may be subject to change without prior notice. BIGPAY will not be responsible for any consequences resulting from the use of this document as well as the reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or for any omission. This document is confidential and may not be reproduced (in whole or in part) nor summarised or distributed without the prior written permission of BIGPAY. BIGPAY. All rights reserved
I’m Sabrina, a versatile writer with 7+ years of experience and I’ve been published by household names such as Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, Mindvalley, and Cosme Japan.