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Cryptocurrency Thieves: How Do They Act, and How Can I Protect Myself?

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Cryptocurrencies are the rave of the moment, and you need to know how to beat hackers on the prowl. Bitcoin hacking and cryptocurrency thieves

Cryptocurrencies are the rave of the moment, and you need to know how to beat hackers on the prowl.

Over the last year, cryptocurrencies have taken the front when it comes to talking about the future of the economy. These currencies have grown into the mainstream, led partly by reports about them being the safest in the world.

However, ask anyone who’s been around for long and you’ll hear differing opinions. A quick search in Google will return dozens of news items speaking of cryptocurrency theft. Some of them will report millions of dollars in bitcoin vanishing into thin air.

These reports can make it difficult for people to know what to believe. If cryptocurrencies are as safe as they say, how come they keep getting stolen? How does one steal a supposedly safe crypto active in such a way that it’s impossible to get it back?

The answer to this question is simple. Blockchain, the system behind cryptocurrency trading, is about as safe as any system can be. It can’t be hacked, data can’t be edited without permission, and all changes are logged in its ledger. This is a core focus of crypto assets management.

What this means is, the safety problem isn’t in the blockchain. The safety issues around cryptocurrencies are entirely the users’ fault. In all cases of crypto being stolen, there’s been at least some degree of user input. And in the end, the best safety feature is to know what you’re doing and how it can affect you.

 

But, how do crypto wallets get hacked?

There are several methods that can be used to rob people of their hard-earned bitcoin and other crypto assets. As stated before, except for cases where exchange platforms have been hacked into, user input is usually part of the problem. And user input begins with the basics: passwords.

It might seem absurd to some people that in 2018 hackers are still simply guessing people’s passwords. However, this is one of the most common ways of crypto hacking or any kind of hacking. However, the rise of crypto leverage trading has brought with it a lure that criminals cannot resist.

 

How does social engineering work?

Simply put, social engineering passwords consist in figuring out what somebody’s using to access their accounts. It usually comes in the form of guessing usual password phrases, like birthdays or anniversaries. To avoid this, having secure passwords is extremely important.

In some other cases, thieves might coerce you or just convince you to share your access data with them. Usually, this is done with lots of finesse, to keep their target from noticing such info is being extracted. Either way, the moment you give somebody else access data to your finances or any accounts you’re at risk. So don’t.

Just as well, phishing emails and messages are a common way to obtain access data to your accounts. As a general rule, no institution will ever ask for your personal data via email. Particularly if this data includes social security numbers or usernames/passwords they should have no need for.

 

My access data is secure and I don’t share it. What else?

Once social engineering has been ruled out as a way to hack into an account, there are other methods. These are more invasive, but they’re straight to the point. The most common one, as it happens, is a clipboard hijacker. The best bitcoin wallets can give you a safeguard against this hack.

For cryptocurrency wallets, the addresses are usually long and almost impossible to remember. Therefore, most users keep their wallet information on a database such as KeePass or LastPass. These encrypted databases allow for quick access to data users would otherwise forget. When the user needs it, they ask the software for their wallet address, which is stored in the clipboard. Then they just have to paste it in the corresponding field and…

Then they get hacked because the clipboard hijacker detects this and replaces the user’s wallet address with the hacker’s. Since blockchain transactions are untraceable, once the user notices this it will be too late. The crypto actives will then be long gone.

To prevent these, simply refrain from installing any suspicious software on your computer. This kind of software more often than not comes bundled in completely unrelated packages, so be wary of anything. Back in the 2000s, one of the most common ways to distribute keyloggers was through fluff software such as SmileyCentral. The same can happen with clipboard hijackers.

It may sound silly that hacker would distribute software like this since most people don’t use cryptocurrencies. In truth, hackers don’t care about those. It might take thousands of installs to reach a mark, but once they do, the payout is big.

These programs eventually get reported as viruses, but it can take weeks or months for them to be detected. Over that time, no antivirus will find it, meaning the only way to be safe is by acting safely. Don’t install suspicious or unknown software, at all.

 

I don’t even use my PC much. What else is there?

Just as PC software can be problematic, so can smartphone apps. Specifically, smartphones can fall prey to both clipboard hijackers and fake apps.

Ever browsed the Google Play Store looking for any software? You’ll find the one you’re looking for, and dozens of copycats. Many of these do it just trying to get exposure, but some will come from disreputable sources. This happens with any software, crypto trading software included.

Specifically, copycat apps can look or act like the official ones. Only, instead of sending the cryptocurrencies where you want them, they are sent to the thief’s wallet. Just as with clipboard hijackers, these apps do get reported… but it can take days.

As with clipboard hijackers, these are simple to avoid. Always make sure your apps come from reputable sources, even if said apps are unrelated to crypto.

 

If no crypto apps, Now what?

Other two very common ways to hack into accounts are browser extensions and phishing websites. These are used not only for crypto hacking but for basically anything. Phishing websites are one of the most common ways of stealing from PayPal accounts. Turns out they’re just as useful for crypto.

In order to avoid phishing websites, always go directly to the website you want. Don’t follow hyperlinks or ads, just type it into your browser’s URL box. Just as well, make sure to type addresses correctly. Mistyped domain names can lead you to a fraudulent website.

As for browser extensions, once again only installing reputable ones is mandatory. On top of that, most browsers disable extensions when running in incognito/private mode. To avoid getting your crypto wallet hacked via an extension, you can try accessing it only via incognito mode.

 

Is that all?

There are always new methods of hacking. As long as there are valuables to be stolen there will be people looking to steal. However, the takeaway here is that even the most secure system in the world can fall prey to poor use.

The blockchain is an extremely safe technology, one that has never been hacked directly. Yet, using the methods above described, hackers managed to steal over $10M in Ethereum just last year. The fault here almost always lies with user input and poor user security.

After all, the most secure system in the world is worthless if it isn’t properly used. You could install all the best security measures at home, but that won’t keep thieves out if you leave the doors open and the systems off. The same happens with cryptocurrencies and online banking in general.

Some tools, like antiviruses, might help protect you from hackers. Yet in the end, the best security system will always be being wary of what you do on the internet.

 

References:

 

 

  • Suspicious wallets

 

http://uk.businessinsider.com/tether-updates-on-hack-wallets-terms-of-service-audit-and-redemptions-2017-12?IR=T

 

 

  • Lastpass

 

https://www.lastpass.com/

 

  • Email access fraud

https://money.cnn.com/2016/10/12/news/companies/pacnet-mail-fraud-mafia/index.html

 

 

  • SmileyCentral

 

http://goodbye.smileycentral.com/

 

Author Bio:

Denise Quirk is a Health Advisor and fascinated by Crypto, Blockchain Revolution. She is a believer in transforming complex information into simple, actionable content. She is keenly interested in finding the value of the crypto world. She writes for Coin Review, Bitcoin Warrior, Irish Tech News, etc. You can find her on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Cryptocurrency Thieves: How Do They Act, and How Can I Protect Myself? – The Coinage Times

  2. Pingback: Cryptocurrency Thieves: How Do They Act, and How Can I Protect Myself? - Satoshiuncle

  3. Sheena Arcamo

    October 9, 2018 at 8:25 am

    this is a very helpful article, thanks! we need more articles like this bc I have read at MyShield that scammers are getting sophisticated day by day and even investors who were in the market for so long still from these crypto schemes.

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#Bitcoin

Bitcoin institutional adoption rising: BTC price analysis

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Amidst the crypto winters which led to the price of bitcoin falling massively, institutional adoption is on a rise with many analysts predicting that the bear market was being manipulated by large institutional investors in order to buy bitcoin at the cheapest rates before the entering into the markets.

Greg Tusarm an ex Goldman Sachs executive is comparing the current situation in the cryptocurrency market as early days of equity trading according to Bloomberg. The ex Goldman Sachs executive sees a great future for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies ahead and believes that there are a lot of opportunities for businesses in the crypto space. Greg has also launched his own crypto brokerage called Tagomi Holdings which is backed by large investment firms such as Founders Fund.

Just a few days back, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle predicted that the price of bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies will be rising tremendously in the next 3 years.

Paypal Co-founder launches Tagomi Holdings Inc

Peter Thiel, the head of ‘Paypal Mafia’ which is a group of former Paypal employees and founders who have since founded and developed companies such as Tesla motors, Linkedin, Youtube etc. has successfully launched an electronic brokerage startup Tagomi Holdings Inc. The company will help to overcome operational challenges in relation to trading digital assets such as bitcoin. The launch was announced by the company in a press release. Peter had also claimed that Bitcoin can be a hedge against economic downturns. The Founders Fund led by Peter has made huge a massive fund allocation in cryptocurrency startups all around the world.

Bitcoin Price Analysis:

BTCUSD Bitfinex 24 hour chart

BTCUSD Bitfinex 24 hour chart

After being bearish for a over a month, bitcoin started a bull run yesterday rising over $200 in just a matter of minutes. Though time volumes are quite low in comparison to last year’s trading volumes, the current volumes are quite higher than the last few months. Since yesterday Bitcoin is continuing its bullish pattern currently trading around $3641 on Bitfinex (at the time of writing). The price is expected to rise further as a major bullish pattern is formed with the new key support at $3550 (In accordance to Bitfinex Chart). The major bullish pattern line formed will most likely push bitcoin price above $4000 in short term.

 

Bears turning bullish

Market analysts who were earlier predicting bitcoin to fall below $3000 have now started to make bullish predictions stating that the price of bitcoin can soon reach its original position above $6000 where it was trading earlier before the start of the bearish trend in November this year. More and more institutional investors are buying cryptocurrencies at the current price which is the lowest price for bitcoin for more than a year. Diar has reported that more and more institutional investors are shifting to large over the counter trades for buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies lately. The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has risen more than $12 billion in 2 days. On Monday, the total market cap was around $103 billion which today stands at around $115 billion.

 

The following article is not financial advice. The readers are advised to do their own research and analysis before making any investment decisions in the cryptocurrency markets. The following are the viewpoints of the writer and not Coinnounce.

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#Bitcoin

Seven Popular Ways to Earn Bitcoin

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Here we have enlisted some popular ways to start earning Bitcoin with the least possibilities of risks. You will discover some amazing opportunities

It has always been hard to believe that the blockchain-driven cryptocurrency is yielding a real-time value. The crypto-world is blurring the lines between the real and the virtual, therefore, now is the right time to join this virtual league of crypto-users and earn some Bitcoin. Even if you are fascinated by the idea, you must be troubled with the means to begin your journey with Bitcoin. Solving this issue, here we have enlisted some popular ways to start earning Bitcoin with the least possibilities of risks. You will discover some amazing opportunities to capitalize on the cryptocurrency trend and earn some extra bucks while coping-up with your regular jobs.

 

1. Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin Mining is one most conventional way of earning Bitcoin. Mining is the process of solving mathematical operations using a set of computer hardware and software to create Bitcoin. It is not an easy job; Bitcoin Miners need to be ultra-skilled to be successful at this job. Since a lot of miners have entered the market, it is easily noticeable that the difficulty of this job is increasing exorbitantly. Though, taking the support of external devices with better processing ability can be a relieving factor.

 

2. Micro Tasks for Bitcoin

For those looking for small-scale means, you can go for some micro-tasks that pay in terms of Bitcoin. Cumbersome efforts are not required to do these micro-jobs. They are small, easy and less time-consuming jobs which may include watching an advertisement, posting on social media, filling a survey etc. This is similar to the ordinary micro-jobs; the only difference is the pay. The payment is done in the form of Bitcoin. The pay is low but apt in terms of the time invested and the low risks involved.

 

3. Invest in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Derivatives

It is the most recent development in the bitcoin world. It is a popular investment asset providing lucrative means of making money with Bitcoin. The most common way is to buy Bitcoin and sell them after a point when the price is increased enough to turn a profit. Using this method, people have turned millionaires after the record-breaking hike in the value of Bitcoin in 2017.
Investing in Bitcoin is a new yet extremely profitable source of investment. Before selecting one of the ways, opt for a rational approach. There is an infinite potential to earn in this market but being a beginner, begin with tiny steps. It requires heavy investments to earn heavy amounts which are not usually affordable. Bitcoin Investments can be fairly profitable but nobody can take charge of the reliability. They are risk-prone investments which tend to fluctuate all the time. One mindful suggestion could be to invest while considering your personal level of risk tolerance.

 

4. Bitcoin Games and Gambling

There are abundant games available online that payout in Bitcoin. The payments are equivalent to the amounts one would get by doing the micro-tasks. They are fun and enjoyable, something that micro-tasks can never be. If you are a gaming fanatic, look out for such games and get yourself rewarded.
Casinos and in the virtual realm are called the digital casinos, same goes for betting and Sportsbet is an extension of the same concept. It uses Bitcoin as currency while the rest of the elements remain the same. However, it’s not a reliable source of money. Indulge in bitcoin gambling and betting only if you don’t mind losing your money.

 

5. Become a Freelancer and take payments in Bitcoin

Freelancing is a profession almost everyone is aware of. There are multiple platforms that help buyers and sellers to trade services. The services range from making a graphic art to creating a computer algorithm. The buyers pay these freelancers for their bit of work.
A delightful twist in the process is the introduction of Bitcoin Payments. Only a handful of sites have introduced this feature. If you have a skill that you think you can sell, join such site today!
Freelancing is a good option for various reasons. First of all, unlike mining or investing, there are no initial costs. You just have to log in, create a profile and start making gigs. Second, you can earn decent amounts. You will be paid for a skilled job, unlike the micro jobs. Third, you will get better at your work and get recognized for your work. Freelancing is a reasonable way to earn bitcoin without investing a large amount of money.

 

6. Bitcoin Blogging monetized with Bitcoin-based Advertisements

Bloggers earn through their content on their websites. They place ads in between the content and the more clicks they get, the more money they make. If you wish to earn Bitcoin by content creation, you can sign-up Bitcoin-based ad network. These networks pay in terms of Bitcoin.
The ads on the blogs match the context of the content. That is why it is always a good idea to create content that revolves around cryptocurrency. This method allows you to diversify your income stream into two. You can earn Bitcoin and Dollars simultaneously from one website.

 

7. Lend your Bitcoin

Lending is a very traditional way of earning a passive income and the now the same proposition holds true with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. ‘Peer-to-peer lending’ is an emerging form of lending which is done via online portals. It has eradicated the roles of the bank and other financial institutions. You can earn Bitcoin through loans by using one of these lending platforms. Remember that you need to have some initial Bitcoin in the first place, to begin with, this practice. Also, the default is a possibility in the lending process. Make sure that the person taking the loan is reliable enough to return your Bitcoin along with interest.

 

We thank Davey Cross for this guest post.

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Bitcoin Whale Alert: 5351 BTC transferred to Bitfinex

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Just a few hours ago, around 5351 Bitcoin was transferred from unknown wallets to Bitfinex exchange probably for selling when the bulls show up.

Bitcoin showed quite a bullish momentum today rising around $200 in just a couple of hours. Bitcoin is currently trading around $3397 (at the time of writing) according to CoinGecko. The current price is a bonus for the bitcoin whales who were waiting for the best moment to sell their holdings in the midst of crypto winters. Though bitcoin showed bullish pattern today, the market trend still seems to be bearish as market analysts are predicting that the current bounce is just an illusion which is soon going to turn into a disaster for the price of bitcoin. Seeking the best opportunity, big bitcoin whales were already ready to sell their holdings in order to gain profits when the market crashes again.


 

Just a few hours ago, around 5351 BTC were transferred from unknown wallets to Bitfinex exchange probably for selling when the short term bulls show up. Here are the details for the transactions:

 

Transaction 1: 1909 BTC

https://www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/622ddee30e9b5bbac2053ef4042d37e8ba6b2728ccdcedc85f5aac4c8a3fa9a3

 

Transaction 2: 1721 BTC

https://www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/39616ab5255bf9c58875f66431e06b4c57b4825bebb912e246585b290a8440b9

 

Transaction 3: 1721 BTC

https://www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/a9ed866dcb578155cefa2d8bce16a1b22f4ff016584f8ff131437a944025316b

 

The crypto market trend is quite bearish at the moment with the price of bitcoin crashing down from above $6500 to around $3200 in just a month of time. The small-time investors should be quite cautious while trading in such a market situation as the large whales maybe waiting for the best time to make a profit out of your anxiety.

 

The following article is not financial advice and readers are advised to do a thorough research and analysis before making any investment decisions in the crypto market which is quite volatile.

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