Twitter hackers had quite the day at the office recently, managing to walk away with $121,000 worth of Bitcoin. Whoever the perpetrators are, they now own those coins after receiving no less than 400 different Bitcoin payments from tweeters. The way they engineered the scam it is unknown to the common man, but in the Bitcoin world it’s no surprise, because these kind of hacks happen all the time.
Not only is the scale of this particular hack impressive, it’s rather influential as far as the Twitter accounts that were targeted. That is to say, these online criminals hacked the accounts of some of the most notable public figures in the world including Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and former US President Barack Obama. The account of current presidential candidate Joe Biden was also hacked along with nearly a dozen other influencers most people recognize.
The attack wasn’t just limited to individuals. The Twitter account of Apple computers was also hacked. With these kinds of hacks happening on a regular basis across cryptocurrency exchanges and social media accounts, even the most high-risk adrenaline seeking gamblers will want to do everything possible to protect their Bitcoin. Let’s take a moment to explore how to do just that.
Don’t Talk About Bitcoin on Social Media
While influencers can sometimes fall victim to hackers because hackers know their accounts get traffic and thus they can promote their Bitcoin addresses to a wide audience and hope that they can fool some people, regular every day users can also be taken advantage of and have crypto stolen thanks to social media. Even if you’re not famous. How is that possible?
Hackers can use something known as social engineering to gain access to your crypto. Many Bitcoin exchanges and gambling sites will allow you to use your phone to secure your account. Here’s where the challenge comes in. If a hacker knows you’re talking about Bitcoin a lot on social media and your name is on your social media profiles, they can look up your name. If they look hard enough, they just might be able to find your email address, home address and phone number. A lot of times with cell phone companies, a name email address, phone number and home address are the only things they require in order to make changes to your account.
So an anonymous hacker then takes the information, pretends to be you over the phone, calls the cell phone company and continues to call until he finds one customer service representative gullible enough to make changes to your account. They then switch out your Sim card for a new one which forwards your messages to their phone and not yours. Once they have access to your phone, they can change your passwords and steal your Bitcoin. This is known as social engineering.
Don’t Store Bitcoin Online
Most gamblers who are new to Bitcoin think that it’s safe to store digital currencies online because Bitcoin and the blockchain cannot be hacked. While it is true that both are un-hackable, websites that store Bitcoin’s and other cryptocurrencies are located on centralized servers. Those servers can indeed be hacked. This means if you’re storing cryptocurrency online, even if you own the website (in most cases you won’t on the website), those coins can be stolen.
The better solution is to buy a hardware USB key, otherwise known as a hardware wallet (Trezor and Ledger Nano S are the most popular brand names). Hardware wallets allow you to store your coins away from your computer and away from the Internet. The hardware wallet stores the cryptographic data related to your personal coins directly on the key, which means nobody can take it away from you, as long as you don’t share it. That brings us to our last tip.
If You Don’t Own Your Private Keys, You Don’t Own Your Bitcoins
The private cryptographic data stored on either a hardware wallet or connected to any of your Bitcoin wallets online act as the stamp that identifies your transactions on the blockchain, while also protecting your value and making it yours alone. Each private key is paired with a public key that you can share with others. That public key is generated in the wallet address that you actually used to send and receive Bitcoin between users on the Bitcoin network. By all means, share your public key wherever you like as long as you’re ready to transact and either send or receive coins.
Never ever share your private keys and less you want someone else to have access to your Bitcoin on your behalf.
Bitcoin allows you to be your own bank and take care of your own bankroll. That’s powerful stuff. Just keep in mind that with great power comes great responsibility.