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Top 6 Cryptocurrency Hacker Methods Used & How to Protect Wallets

How to Protect Wallets from the Six Tools Used by Crypto Hackers

The cryptocurrency industry is constantly facing challenges – and one of the most troublesome is hacking. The most recent incident occurred in July, where Bleeping Computer detected suspicious activity attempting to defraud 2.3 million bitcoin wallets. To perpetrate the attack, the hackers used malware, recognized as “clipboard hijackers.” This type of attack essentially operates in the clipboard and it can replace a copied wallet addressed with one that the attackers use.

Kaspersky Lab predicted this type of hacking this past year and it did not take long for hackers to put it into practice. It is also a widespread type of attack, as of late. Further, on July 12, Cointelegraph uploaded its Kaspersky Lab report, which identified that hackers are able to steal over $9 million in Ethereum by conducting social engineering schemes.

Overview of the Problem

According to Bleeping Computer, it is necessary to follow some basic rules for one to have an adequate level of protection. As the platform stated, “Most technical support problems lie not with the computer, but with the fact that the user does not know the ‘basic concepts’ that underlie all issues of computing. These concepts include hardware, files and folders, operating systems, internet and applications.”

Other cryptocurrency experts, such as Ouriel Ohayon, share the same sentiment. Ohayon mentioned in a Hackernoon blog, “Yes, you are in control of your own assets, but the price to pay is that you are in charge of your own security. And since most people are not security experts, they are very much often exposed – without knowing. I am always amazed to see around me how many people, even tech savvy ones, don’t take basic security measures.”

Further, Lex Sokolin, fintech strategy director at Autonomous Research, clone sites and ordinary phishing cause thousands of people to become victims. This indicates that crypto wallet attacks are due to vulnerability in the system, human inattention, and arrogance. The good news is that there are ways to protect one’s funds.

High Risk of Cryptocurrency Hacks

There is a high risk involved when it comes to cryptocurrency hacking. Hackermoon analyzed data concerning hacking attacks in 2017 and found that the hacks fell mainly into one of three segments:

  • Attacks on blockchains, exchanges, and ICOs
  • Distribution software for hidden mining
  • Users’ wallets

Here are some tips to avoiding hacks on various mediums concerning one of the above areas.

Google Play Store and App Store Apps

Those who use these types of mediums should avoid installing applications if they do not have much of a need for them. Further, it is always beneficial to have two-factor authentication in place for all applications that offer the service. Finally, check the application links on the website to ensure that the platform is authentic.

Those who are most widely impacted by hacking tend to be smartphone owners that have an Android operating system. The trouble with this operating system is that it does not have two-factor authentication. This type of authentication requires a password and username and a bit of information that the users would only know. Further, Google’s operating system is recognized for its vulnerability to viruses, making it less safe than iPhone’s system. When it comes to the former, hackers add applications on behalf of a crypto platform and when the application launches, users add sensitive information that hackers have access to.

A famous target of the above scenario is Poloniex, which downloaded mobile applications that hackers posted on Google Play. Hackers succeeded in presenting the platform as a mobile getaway for the popular exchange, when in fact, Poloinex had nothing to do with developing the application for Android and there were no links on the platform’s website to the false Android application. Over 5,500 traders were affected by the malware before Google Play removed the software.

Apple has taken strict precautions to protect its iOS users. For example, the company tightened its rules for admission of applications to its store. This suspends the distribution of malicious software.

Bots in Slack

When it comes to bots in slack, users should report slack-bots so that they are blocked, ignore the bot’s activity, and protect the slack-channel. Most slack bots work at stealing cryptocurrencies by scouring fast-growing messenger systems. Hackers create bots that notify users about issues involving a specific crypto. The person then clicks the link offered by the bot, enters a private key, and as a result, the bot is blocked.

The most recent hack concerning bots in slack had to do with Engima – whose name was used to host a presale round and to launch a slack bot. Accordingly, bots defrauded over $500,000 in Ethereum from credulous users.

Crypto Trading Add-Ons

To protect against crypto-trading add-ons, it is best to use a separate browser for operations involving cryptocurrencies, apply incognito mode, use a separate PC for smartphone or crypto trading, download antivirus software, and to not download any crypto add-ons.

Add-ons are able to view everything that one types when they use the interest. The extension allowing for this was invested by Javascript, thereby making users very vulnerable to attacks. Applying the above principles can prevent such attacks.

SMS Authentication

For authentication by SMS, it is best to turn off call forwarding to prevent access to data and to give up 2FA via SMS when password is send by text. Finally, use a two-factor identification software solution.

According to Positive Technologies, a cybersecurity company, it is easy to intercept SMS with a password confirmation that is transmitted worldwide by 7 (SS7) protocol. Text messages can be hijacked by using research tools that exploit cellular network weaknesses.

Public Wifi

Crypto transactions should never be performed by public WiFi. It is also important to regularly update the router’s firmware because hardware manufacturers are constantly releasing updates. An elementary KRACK attack was conducted on user’s devices that reconnect to the same Wi-Fi network that the hackers used. The hackers then downloaded the information or moved it through the network by a user available to the attackers. This was done through private keys from crypto wallet. The problem is especially pertinent for public WiFi networks.

Sites Clones and Phishing

Finally, it is imperative to use an HTPPS protocol when interacting with crypto-related sites. Also, when using Chrome, customize the extension and when receiving messages from crypto sources, copy the link into the browser.

Overall, there are many different methods that one can use to deter hacking. Although hacking has not decreased, users adopting safer practices can prevent their information from being compromised.


Most Popular Crypto Asset Wallets For Android Mobile Smartphones

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts know that it is very important to keep crypto assets far from exchanges unless they are traders. During the last year, the crypto world experienced very harmful hacks that hurt the whole community.

But there are better options to store virtual currencies, for example, a multi-asset wallet to control the portfolio and know that the funds are secure. But selecting a secure and functional wallet is not an easy task.

There are some important platforms that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and are used the most by Android users.

The first one is Coinbase. This important wallet and crypto platform allows users to store and exchange different assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).

It is a secure platform and wallet because it has not experienced any important hack or major attack, which is quite important. But the private keys are not held by the user, but instead, they are held by a third party.

It has different security layers, including two factor authentication, multisig wallets, and the funds are held in cold storage wallets. On Android, this application has been downloaded more than 5 million times.

Blockchain.info is the second most important crypto wallet available for Android users. Released in 2013, the Blockchain.info wallet allows users to store Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. At the same time, it has a built-in exchange that has been enabled by ShapeShift.

The application has more than 1 million installs and it is available in 37 different languages to include as many users as possible. Blockchain.info stores the user’s private keys and guarantees security with 2FA and multisig wallets.

Another known wallet is the so called Freewallet that is not only available for Android devices but also for iOS’ users. It has a wide range of cryptocurrencies supported, including: BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, XMR, ARDR, BCN, BNT, BTG, DASH, DCT, DOGE, EOS, FCN, GUP, IGNIS, LSK, NEO, NXT, PTOY, USDT, XDN, ZEM, XMO, ZEC.

As in the other wallets mentioned before, the private keys are held by a third party. It is available in 16 different languages and it has more than a million downloads in Android devices.

It is important to mention that the wallet offers different security layers for cryptocurrency users, including 2FA, transaction confirmation by email, and transaction limit control.

Coinomi is the fourth most downloaded Android wallet with more than 500,000 downloads. It is available in more than 25 languages from different countries and has a built-in exchange that is enabled by ShapeShift and Changelly.

This wallet has support for more than 150 different coins and tokens, which is quite impressive. Additionally, the private keys are held by the owner, something that is worth to mention.

The next wallet is called Jaxx and has been released to the market four years ago, in 2014. It has 69 coins and tokens supported, a good number compared to other wallets. Moreover, the keys are held by the owner.

It has also an exchange that has been enabled by ShapeShift and has more than 500,000 downloads. The wallet has been by Ethereum’s co-founder, Anthony Di Iorio. It is a good wallet for those individuals and investors that have a wide variety of ICO tokens.

Finally, we have the BRD wallet, released in 2016. One of the main features of this wallet is that it supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and more than 100 ERC-20 tokens! Yes, that’s very promising if the ICO market keeps growing. Users are able to store their coins safely in this wallet without having to use different platforms.

As the private keys are held by the users, it does not have any additional security features implemented. BRD allows its customers to purchase Bitcoin via bank account transfers. If this was not enough, the company decided to launch its own BRD token. The application has been downloaded from the Google Play Store more than 100,000 times.


New Bitcoin Users, Here's All The Types Of Crypto Wallets And How To Choose One To Safely Store Funds

One of the first problems that newcomers to crypto world need to face is how and where to properly store their coins. While this may seem like an obvious first step to experienced investors and traders, it is not as obvious for new ones.

The first thing to make clear is that you do not actually store cryptos themselves. Instead, you store the private key that can allow you to access your digital currencies, and manage them as you like. Without it, your coins are lost, which is why keeping the private key safe is a top priority.

When it comes to how to store your funds, there are three methods, all of which include a type of crypto wallet. Those are custodial wallets, hardware wallets, and software wallets. In addition to that, it should be noted that storage can be hot (online wallets) or cold (offline wallets). Now that we know this, let's take a closer look at each type of wallet and see which of them is the best choice.

Types Of Crypto Wallets And How To Choose One

1) Custodial Wallets

Custodial wallets are likely among the first ones that newcomers to crypto space tend to use. After you make an account on crypto exchanges, you will likely store your coins within the account itself. This is what means to be using custodial wallets. In other words, a "custodial wallet" is just another way of saying that your private keys are kept by a third party that serves as your custodian. In most cases, these are the wallets that are always online, which is what we call hot wallets.

Using custodial wallets does have benefits to it. For example, if users happen to forget their login details, custodians can ensure that their funds are safe. More often than not, custodians tend to be more diligent when it comes to security than individuals. However, this also means that users are never in full control over their funds. Moving said funds cannot be done without custodian's permission, which means that the power over these coins actually lies elsewhere.

Another big downside to this wallet is the fact that custodians tend to be targeted by hackers. Considering that they can store large amounts of crypto belonging to other users, such attacks usually result in massive thefts where the users lose their coins.

2) Software Wallets

The second option includes software wallets. These are often considered to be the most accessible forms of storage for digital currencies. The name pretty much explains everything about these wallets — they are just a piece of software that you can run on your own hardware, such as computers or smartphones.

Your private keys are protected by the software itself, and these wallets are typically also hot. However, they do require a bit of work, especially since they can be downloaded for free. This includes things such as setting them up and generating an address before you can actually start receiving and sending coins. However, this is usually an easy thing to do, and most wallets will have at least some type of guide that will lead you through the process.

The downside of these wallets is that they are online, or hot, as mentioned above. This means that they can be accessed or hacked into by a third party. Clearly, this means that they are not as secure as users would want them to be. While the level of security varies from one wallet to another, the fact that they are hot is enough for a wallet to never be 100% safe.

Furthermore, users should always be on a lookout for fake wallets, as there is never a lack of scammers, hackers, and similar threats.

3) Hardware Wallets

Finally, there are hardware wallets, which are usually considered to be the safest method of storing crypto. Most hardware wallets are cold storage, meaning that they don't always have a direct connection to the internet. As such, they are impossible to hack, which means that they are mostly safe from hackers as long as they are not physically stolen.

As the name suggests, hardware wallets are a piece of hardware. Usually, they are small devices such as USB flash drives, but with small screens, and a few buttons. The only time that they actually get connected to the internet is when their owners wish to make transactions. This is also the only time when hardware wallets are vulnerable to online attacks. Luckily, they usually do not stay connected for long.

The fact that they are usually not connected is also one of their downsides, as they are not constantly ready to be used. However, most investors consider this inconvenience to be a small price to pay for having a piece of mind.

Even so, their users need to remain vigilant, as this kind of wallet is also not completely immune to attacks. They can still be infected with malware that can trick users and have them send their digital currency to scammers. There is also a possibility of buying a wallet that was tampered with, which might allow the third party to steal coins or send them to another address as soon as they are loaded.

Types Of Crypto Wallets Conclusion

There is no clear answer when it comes to which of these wallets you should choose. There are different factors that may influence your decision, but in the end, it all comes down to your personal choice. Some users do not have the patience to use hardware wallets, despite the fact that they are safer, while others fear that their software wallet will be robbed.

In the end, it will make sense for each user to choose a wallet that corresponds with the way they use crypto. Users with a lot of coins may use a combination of software and hardware wallets, with the majority of their coins being kept safe offline, while they keep those needed for trading in a hot storage. Such combinations are possible as well, and the final decision is for you, as a user, to make.


How to Buy Bitcoin: Beginner's Guide to Wallets, Exchanges and Storage

After Bitcoin’s embedding as a household name during December 2017, the currency shed much of that speculative value going into 2018. It remains, however, the celebrity digital currency and has intrinsic value, a vastly improved price from a year ago and growing application on its side. A newcomer might find conflicting advice on whether or not to buy into bitcoin right now.

The two current camps are those who see recent movements as indicative of a surge in the price, with the other still short, saying support will only kick in between $3,000 and $4,000.

Leaving aside considerations of investment strategies and potential, there are a few basic considerations for anyone wanting to get to grips with the nuts and bolts of bitcoin, and own some of their own. Buying bitcoin - as with buying a fish tank or new puppy - is best done after some initial preparation. Following a logical, systematic approach results in maximum ease of use and makes for a good experience.

Sort Your Storage Before You Buy

Although big institutional investors have an issue with secure storage of digital coins, something that is keeping them out of the arena right now, for retail buyers it’s no different. Before a user thinks of getting online and making a purchase, storage options should be in place.

Storing cryptocurrency comes down to a standard list of wallet options, chosen on the back of personal needs and preferences. All are secure, and individuals need to evaluate options by thinking them through and ensuring all of their transaction and security needs will be met.

There are essentially five wallet categories:

  • Online wallets
  • Electronic Wallets
  • Mobile Wallets
  • Hardware Wallets
  • Paper Wallets

Online wallets are about convenience and broad appeal to any trader type. A user’s funds can be accessed from anywhere, and as long as you can get online, you can transact. Things get a bit blurry however, as these wallets also have desktop and mobile apps that act similarly to mobile wallets, although they are technically less secure.

With an online wallet, a user’s private keys are also stored online and this demands trust in the holding company as well as life online generally. A firewall is all that stands between a criminally targeted user and their digital funds. In the event of a successful online wallet hack, individual holdings can be cleaned out. Were the online wallet site to simply shut down, there is also the real prospect of waving funds goodbye forever.

Electronic wallets are simpler to use - or at least as simple - but come with additional value for some that they are downloaded onto a user’s desktop. Actual storage happens in the cloud or on a user’s computer hard drive. This option repeats what for many is untenable - a user is still allowing a third party to store highly sensitive information.

Being able to set a wallet up on the hard drive appeals more to many, but those users will then face familiar security issues of connectivity. Among them are attempted hacks of the drive or porous networks that aren’t wholly secured when transacting.

Mobile wallets are becoming massively popular, as popular as smartphones are, in fact. Mobile wallets come as a mobile-first build and feature simplicity and pleasing UX overall, basically being an app running on a user’s device. Mobile wallets are also favorable as they allow users to play with their funds while on the move, and enable the principal consideration of currency coins - being able to make a purchase at a merchant on walk-in.

Before anyone starts ululating for joy, however, mobile wallets typically also stash a user’s funds online. In a nutshell, while they have a better image, they are open to all of the weaknesses suffered by online wallets. In the final analysis, private keys are still stored by a remote third party.

Hardware wallets are rising in popularity, and much like an iPhone, many users consider them de rigeur right now. The main reason is simple: they don’t require a user to trust any third party. Users remain in complete control of their funds and crypto participation.

Two considerations arise when contemplating a hardware wallet device. Firstly, they can be lost just like any other mobile device, causing a user the expected trauma when this kind of thing happens. Secondly, users are advised to get crystal-clear assurance that the particular hardware wallet’s team can safeguard and/or restore a user’s funds in the event they lose their hardware device.

Paper wallets are the low-tech version of hardware wallets. They’re offline, simple and also need to be stored securely in the real world. They are essentially a user’s key or keys printed on a piece of paper. They are also the easiest to damage or lose, and need to stored securely.

Since anyone with your key can steal your funds, a wall safe or similar is recommended for safety. A paper wallet is the same as a leather wallet full of cash - it shouldn’t be left lying around.

There are other aspects to consider within these options, such as whether to opt for a hot wallet (permanently connected online), or a cold wallet (disconnected for super secure storage). The first step, however, is to pick an option that suits individual needs and imagined use. There are literally hundreds of wallet options, so users are spilt for choice.

Should You Be Buying Bitcoin Now?

If you’re adopting a medium-term view, the short answer is: it doesn’t really matter. Over the medium term, even the doomsayers point to a resurgence of bitcoin. More frequent traders and scalpers might watch what many predict to be the current final dip in bitcoin very carefully. Medium-term investors, however, can be assured that even if some more shedding occurs, by year’s end the coin should be well up on their initial investment.

Of course, that’s not good enough for many who are optimizing their investment far more proactively. There are broadly two opinions on bitcoin right now. The first says that the coin is a pariah and is still falling. Adopting a short position now is also risky, however, and they point to bitcoin’s massive historical volatility as reason enough to stay out of the moment.

Those currently pro buying bitcoin argue that the coin has hit its current low, it will rise, it has been rising recently and it will surely make a few more millionaires, following the historical logic of investor interest. It remains a personal decision, and technical and even fundamental analysis becomes convoluted with digital assets. On the whole, however, the best of both worlds dictates that users buy in soon enough, when the coin is sitting at around $7,500.

Where To Buy Bitcoin

A user’s simplest route to owning some bitcoin without incurring any expenses is to make others pay them in bitcoin. If that’s not feasible as an employee or otherwise, there are at least as many routes to buying bitcoin as there are supporting crypto wallets. Users are advised to Google search “buy bitcoin” or similar and spend some time familiarizing themselves with names and options.

Doing some homework beforehand is essential, as exchange fees differ and different routes to bitcoin carry different implications and prices. That said, there are two broad options available: P2P or exchange holdings. Many P2P exchanges (where a user sells their bitcoin to another user and pays a small fee to the exchange) are minimal on AML and KYC. They avoid any need to KNY due to their architecture and approach.

The other option available to users is to buy from an exchange. Most exchanges aren’t big on fiat, so a user needs to figure out what and how much they want to buy, how they’re going to pay for it and what are all the associated costs. A good example of a comprehensive digital exchange is Bitfinex and even Coinbase, the latter trying to simply the massive amount of verification required by the former. Good places for P2P buying and selling would be LocalBitcoins or Coin Direct. Users will, however, need a pre-loaded wallet to employ a P2P exchange.

KYC and AML legislation in home countries is pretty consistent, and these requirements are typically the ones that deflate enthusiasts who value their anonymity. As many others figure higher regulation means tighter security. The fact is that how one buys into bitcoin is very much a matter of personal preference, based on cash or the nature of other available funds. The only true determinant that defines the best route is the cost involved, and users should ensure they are clear about exchange charges. Exchanges that make their fees hard to find, are good ones to avoid.

Safety First

Once set up with a wallet and having made the bitcoin purchase, users can follow a few safe practices to ensure their address never makes bad headlines. Firstly and always, private keys need to be tightly guarded. If a key is known, the bitcoin is gone.

A private key is very much like a door key. It grants the same access with the same potential for wholesale loss. Hardware wallets need to be stored securely, and users should view site SSN certificates and note any other irregularities when using an online wallet.

Although rudimentary, paper wallets work for many without the need to become involved in further security layers. Multi-sig security features and unique user pass phrases and passwords on wallet options can also be extremely secure, depending on user behavior.

Employing the hardware or paper wallet option eliminates the possibility of an account hack almost entirely. In a moment of activity, however, many users find the remote but secure storage of their bitcoin ineffective, and opt for a split system. They will keep some funds in a hot wallet facility for the purposes of trading, while storing the bulk in a secure vault situation.


Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) Cryptocurrency Can Now Be Stored In ElectrumSV Wallets

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) Cryptocurrency Can Now Be Stored In Electrum SV wallets!

Bitcoin SV (BSV) is gaining more popularity by the day as more businesses chose to embrace the cryptocurrency. One of the main reasons why it has stood out is coin’s similarity in design to Satoshi’s BTC hence the same vision. Recently, its mother entity ‘bComm Association’ made an announcement of the newly available Electrum SV wallets.

If you have been a crypto enthusiast for a while, it is likely you’ve heard about the pioneer Electrum wallet originally created for BTC. This digital wallet is categorized among the best within the crypto arena owing to its fundamental value. The newly launched Electrum SV will even be better with more advanced features that include;

  • Desktop Compatibility
  • Account management features
  • Link with other hardware wallets such as Keepkey, Ledger & Bitbox.
  • Modern interface that enables private key transfer between Electrum SV & other digital wallets.
  • Conversion feature for BCH to BSV crypto coins.

This innovation was created by Neil Boom & Roger Taylor who earlier on had interacted with a digital wallet known as Electron built to serve Bitcoin Cash holders. The two stated that BSV was created following Bitcoin’s steps but with a keenness on the coin’s stability and practicality. It, therefore, follows that the Electrum SV digital wallet will enhance the coin’s efficiency in the future.

At the moment, Electrum SV is designed for desktop use and its developers have hinted that this may remain as is for a while. The explanation given was Electrum SV is a choice wallet for mostly developers hence the desktop approach. Furthermore, the team has already ventured into the mobile market as well through its products; Cashpay, PixelWallet, Centbee & Handcash.

BSV has seen quite a successful end of 2018 despite the bearish market. The coin was added as a pair on a couple coin exchanges and bundled as an investment asset by Circle Invest. In addition, the coin’s hard fork attracted a good number of payment service providers with the most recent pledging support earlier this week.

Booth and Taylor are optimistic that with consistent development they will create a wallet that will be favorable for consumer adoption with a top notch user experience. The two developers concur that it is time for BTC to move to the next level in terms of practicality and stability of the protocol used. According to Booth and Taylor, this will facilitate massive BSV adoption as a cryptocurrency in the second decade of digital assets existence. The goal for the Electrum SV wallet comes down to shifting interface design from being developer-oriented to simple wallets that anyone can use.

An interesting feature of Electrum SV wallet is the coin splitting tool which the two developers explained in an interview with CoinGeek;

“It works by combining coins received from a BSV-only faucet with the other coins in your wallet so that your coins become BSV-only coins from that point on. You can recover your ABC coins using Electron Cash in the usual way, but only after performing the coin splitting procedure.”

Booth also made a few comments on what to expect in future for the Electrum SV wallet. Ideally, the team targets to improve on the existing features such as the ecosystem to accommodate bigger wallets going forward. The GUI will also be enhanced to give a full user experience together with privacy features built on the multisig design.

The launch of Electrum SV was well accepted by bComm Association President, Jimmy Nguyen. He echoed positive sentiments about this move terming as possible legacy within crypto development;

“We are thrilled to help Roger and Neil bring the strong legacy of the Electrum wallet to Bitcoin SV. The ElectrumSV team understands that Bitcoin is for everyone, not just for developers. That is why their approach to upgrade Electrum into a more user-friendly wallet for BSV is critical to help achieve the Satoshi Vision – a world where billions of people globally use Bitcoin every day.”

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) remains the only cryptocurrency ecosystem that has stuck to Bitcoin’s pioneer goal. Its developments have been guided by Bitcoin’s legit whitepaper as intended by Satoshi. Basically, the crypto coin has much potential to deliver an efficient and effective P2P payment avenue.

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