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In April of this year, the FBI warned of a spate of COVID-19 inspired cryptocurrency scams
. As seen in virtually every other industry and sector, threat actors are using the pandemic to profiteer from fear and uncertainty, and crypto is no different.
The decentralized and deregulated nature of cryptocurrencies that makes digital coins so attractive to investors is the very same thing that makes crypto vulnerable to attack. Unlike traditional funds, when digital currencies are lost or stolen, there is no recourse. But the potential to become the next Eddy Zillan, who invested a few thousand in Bitcoin and became a millionaire, is a powerful drawcard.
In general, trading and investing in cryptocurrency is safe. However, it pays to be extra careful when it comes to cybersecurity, particularly amidst the shifting threat landscape made worse by the pandemic. Taking the following steps mitigates the risk factors.
Use a VPN when trading
By the very definition of VPNs
, you boost both your privacy and security when you conduct coin transactions with the software switched on. VPNs provide encryption and shield your internet activity from any prying eyes. Once primarily thought of as privacy software, VPNs are now viewed as essential security tools.
Switch to a secure, encrypted email provider
In the crypto world and on crypto Twitter, debates over whether Telegram or Signal is the most secure end-to-end encrypted messenger continue (the latter requires a phone number and the former's code is not open-source). But perhaps the conversation could be advanced by considering a properly secured email provider such as ProtonMail.
Surveillance culture, and indeed surveillance capitalism, is rife in the digi-sphere. Switching to a properly encrypted email client keeps your private conversations about the latest trades and ICO as they should be - private.
Check the veracity of ICOs
You've probably seen these offers. Make a small investment with the chance of an exceptionally high ROI. There's reason to be suspicious here, and even more so if the offer seems to be targeting newer crypto traders. Check the veracity of any ICO before diving in because many are scams.
- Check the white paper carefully, look for reliable references, a sound implementation roadmap, and a properly considered financial model.
- Research the company. Double-check its team members, social accounts, and website. You'll quickly notice if this company is more sham than successful.
- Before handing over any coin, ask the company for samples or examples of the code, such as any uploaded to GitHub. Be very cautious if the company will not provide any evidence of actual development.
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