Crypto OPSEC Guide
As a cryptocurrency investor, trader, or user, staying vigilant on security best practices is critical. This crypto OPSEC guide will teach you how to reduce the danger of utilizing cryptocurrency websites, exchanges, and services.
If you are a public person dealing with bitcoin (BTC), it is even more vital that you follow good security measures. Consider yourself to be an active target for hackers. Numerous vloggers, bloggers, hedge fund managers, and other persons who have publicly talked or written about Bitcoin have had funds stolen, or attempted thefts. This is not an excuse to be negligent if you are not a prominent person; there are multiple methods for bad actors to identify crypto holders and select a mark; it is not limited to people in the spotlight.
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If you are related to cryptocurrency some way or the other, your accounts are susceptible to potential security concerns. Threat actors can collect your information from these accounts and make use of them to pose as you.
For instance, assume that you always use the username “a_crypto_trader” and you have hidden your email on your accounts that deal in cryptocurrencies. In this case also, the threat actors can search for your username on various other platforms that probably publicize users’ email addresses. They will locate yours as well. Once they have gathered your email address from a third party website like this that has lower security standards, they can use it to get into your accounts on various cryptocurrency exchanges.
Consider the following strategies in this crypto OPSEC guide for being as anonymous as possible when creating accounts on any website or platform:
Drop it, no matter how much you love it. Begin utilizing random usernames for accounts on websites, social media, and especially cryptocurrency-related sites. As previously said, if your username is everywhere on the web, it can be exploited as an attack vector, therefore make sure you use unique usernames for each website or service.
This should be self-evident. Passwords should not be reused across numerous websites. Database dumps including usernames, e-mail addresses, passwords, and personal information are often made accessible to hackers, occasionally from well-known sites such as Yahoo. Choose a lengthy password that includes digits, uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as punctuation. Password length is really crucial, therefore make them as lengthy as possible. A thirty-letter password would take far longer for a hacker to brute force than a five-letter password. Your password management should allow you to generate and save these passwords; more on password managers below.
E-Mail Addresses Dedicated To Cryptocurrency
Use an e-mail address dedicated to your cryptocurrency transactions. This makes it more difficult for attackers to find your email address through social media accounts, database dumps, and other techniques. Avoid using your name in your crypto e-mail address; anything generic is far more safe.
Keep Up To Date On Hacks And Dumps
Understanding whether your email, username, password, or personal data has been hacked can help you protect your online identity. Sign up with Have I Been Pwned to receive notifications when your data is included in a leak. Sign up with both your personal and crypto-specific email addresses.
2. Password Managers
Are you wondering how you're going to remember many odd, lengthy, and unique passwords? Password managers are here to help. A password manager allows you to check in with a single password and then use an encrypted database to automatically populate passwords on other websites. Below are some of the password managers that are currently available. The problem here is that you only have one password as a point of failure. If the password to your password manager is exposed, everything is vulnerable. To make your password manager even more safe, enable 2-factor authentication.
3. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is critical in today's atmosphere for keeping your accounts safe from hackers. It is one of the best OPSEC practices mentioned in this crypto OPSEC guide. When deciding which software to utilize for your 2FA requirements, you have two primary options:
The 2FA software is installed on a mobile device and may be obtained either from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store, depending on your handset. Never use a third-party website to download applications. At all costs, avoid using SMS as 2FA. Your telecom may unintentionally move your phone number to a hacker's SIM, allowing them to take control of your accounts. There will be more on this later in this crypto OPSEC guide.
Each of these two-factor authentication options has advantages and disadvantages. Google Authenticator is more secure out of the box, but Authy can be backed up to numerous devices, so you won't be locked out of accounts if you lose your primary cell. I'll show you how to protect Authy so that you may enjoy the benefits of multi-device backup while avoiding the security problems that can exist in particular installations. You will also want a backup device to install Authy on.
- Install the Authy app on your primary device.
- Authy allows you to add 2FA to your favorite websites.
- Allow multi-device access in your main handset's settings.
- Download and install the Authy app on your backup device.
- Make sure your accounts are linked across both devices.
- Turn off multi-device mode in your primary handset's settings.
- Create a PIN for the Authy app on both devices.
Both devices will now sync, however no other devices may be added to sync. This means that if an attacker obtains your cell number (which happens far more frequently than you may imagine), they will be unable to install Authy to their device and sync your accounts.
If you opt to utilize Google Authenticator, you must print and save backup codes for each website you add.
Protect Your Accounts
You must safeguard your accounts now that you have enabled 2FA. It is best to secure anything that permits it. Most reputable websites now allow 2FA, so activate it. Here's a list to get you started; it's critical that you secure all of the following:
- 2FA should be added to your password manager.
- Install two-factor authentication to your Google account (s)
- Configure 2FA for your email accounts.
- Install two-factor authentication to your cryptocurrency exchange accounts.
- Add 2FA whenever possible.
Your smartphone is a chink in your security armor. Hackers sometimes fool telecoms into transferring their victims' phone numbers to their SIM cards by just dialing in and acting foolish. They may have received personal information about you through a dump, hack, social network, or other source, which will give them an advantage while posing as you with your telecom. This is the fundamental reason why using SMS as a 2FA option is a terrible idea.
There are several actions you may take to safeguard your mobile account, however depending on your carrier, these choices may not always be available. To safeguard your account, perform as many of the following as possible:
- Create an account PIN number.
- Ensure that this PIN number is required whenever you speak with a representative or make any changes to your account.
- Remember your PIN.
- Inquire with your telco about what would happen if you forget your PIN and make sure it is safe.
- For your account, choose a telecom-specific email address (similar method as using a crypto-specific e-mail).
5. Consider Yourself A Nefarious Hacker
What lengths would you go if you were a career hacker whose salary was based on discovering and exploiting information about a person, email account, or phone number? The answer is probably "any," which is why you should put yourself in the shoes of a hacker to ensure your security.
Being security conscious is more of an attitude than a strategy, however the steps below should get you started thinking like a hacker:
- Doxx yourself by searching Google, social media, and other internet sites for your personal information.
- Do the same for names, addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and any other personal information that comes to mind.
There are several ways for a hacker to gain access to your online identity, and it's critical to keep in mind that it might and might happen to you.
I'll leave you with the most disturbing example in this crypto OPSEC guide:
EXIF data may be present in images on your mobile phone. This information includes the brand and model of your phone, the software version (hacker jackpot), the date and time the photo was taken, and the GPS coordinates of where it was taken (amongst other things). Yeah, you read it correctly: your uploaded images might provide a hacker or criminal with precise instructions to your home, bedroom, or business. Isn't it terrifying?
Fortunately, most big social networks remove this data from uploaded photographs, but there are several smaller sites, blogs, and businesses that do not. A simple action like uploading a photo might lead a hacker to your home location. If this doesn't emphasize the necessity of OPSEC and appropriate security measures, I'm not sure what would.
If you want to learn more about securing your crypto assets, get yourself a hardware wallet.
Feel free to discuss the approaches presented in this post in the comments section below. Please let me know if I missed anything.