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



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.





  • Suspicious wallets



  • Lastpass


  • Email access fraud



  • SmileyCentral


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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  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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Can Cryptocurrencies be the solution for the 2020 predicted US Recession?



JPMorgan Chase has predicted a 60 percent chance for the next US recession to happen by 2020. Can crypto be a viable solution to existing stores of value?

JPMorgan Chase has predicted a 60 percent chance for the next US recession to happen by 2020. In a global market crash, can crypto be a viable solution to existing stores of value?

“The probability of a U.S. recession inside one year is right around 28 percent, and rises to more than 60 percent over the next two years, researchers wrote in a note this week. Over the next three years, the odds are higher than 80 percent, as indicated by the note,” Bloomberg reported.


Why Do Experts predict a Recession?

As indicated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, there exists a mere 14.5 percent chance of a recession happening before the end of 2019.

Stephen Stanley, the chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, suggested that 2020 could be considered as a premature period for the next US recession to happen yet he echoed a comparative sentiment to JPMorgan in that while the US economy remains solid with low unemployment rate and a bull market, the danger of a recession in the years to come exists.

Generally, the larger part of economists in the US forecast a recession to happen in the next a few years. David Altig, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta research director and NABE’s survey chair, disclosed that 66% of business economists in the US expect the market to crash before the end of 2020, for the most part, due to trade issues.

“Trade issues are clearly influencing panelists’ views,” Altig stated, expressing that trade issues and high-interest rates imposed by the Fed leave US markets vulnerable to a mid-term crash.


Is Crypto the solution?

Amid a period in which numerous economists forecast a market crash and a noteworthy recession in the next two years, the demand for crypto has increased quickly.

While not portrayed by the prices of significant cryptocurrencies, financial institutions, for example, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup have established the infrastructure to target institutional investors intending to invest in the advanced asset market.

Banks and investment firms have prevented from establishing businesses in the cryptocurrency sector due to the absence of regulatory certainty in the market. Experts have stated that the suddenly emerging trend of major financial institutions entering the crypto market suggests the demand for crypto from investors in the traditional finance sector has increased quickly in the previous several months.

As Jim Hamel, portfolio manager at Craftsman Global Opportunities Fund explained, the computerized payments industry has experienced exponential development in recent years, which could normally lead investors to cryptocurrencies.

“There are a number of tailwinds adding to this trend. In the first place, we’re seeing fast development in e-commerce, which requires that customers be able to make secure advanced payments. The development in cross-border transactions and the general effect of an increasingly globalized marketplace are helping accelerate this trend.”

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Bitcoin Core Client Controvercy, BitMEX vs Bitcoin Core Client



The Bitcoin Core client has always been in the news for its controversies or bottlenecks. Therefore, it is a fantastic step taken by Bitmex.

Why do we need updates concerning Bitcoin clients?

Bitcoin has many controversies revolving around it, and so does Bitcoin Core Client. However, history has been evident that the one which is the most valuable is also the most controversial one. To keep up with the changing times, many upgradations have been done to the Bitcoin skeleton. Many updates regarding the Bitcoin transactions. size of the Bitcoin blocks etc, to keep the Bitcoin network viable enough to be used.


What is Bitcoin Core client?

A Bitcoin client is a node which is required by every user who wishes to join the Bitcoin network. He or she is enabled to initiate transactions on the network as the client provides a Bitcoin wallet. There are various versions of Bitcoin clients which have been developed until now, and Bitcoin Core is the third in the list. Initially designed by Wladimir van der Laan, it requires the availability of the entire Bitcoin ledger to use its services which approximately accounts to 155 GB. However, this particular Bitcoin client has been under constant controversies for various reasons, since its inception.


Hardships faced by the Bitcoin Core client

Bitcoin core client was initially known as just Bitcoin. To avoid confusion, its developer decided to rename it as Bitcoin Core, but he faced a lot of criticism as people believed that this was against the idea of decentralization. Nevertheless, many Bitcoin enthusiasts supported the idea. Although Bitcoin Core governs the consensus rules of the Bitcoin network, it is not as powerful as it seems. One can very quickly shift to other Bitcoin repositories if the client becomes inefficient. This was evident when many Bitcoin enthusiasts, slipped from Bitcoin Core to Bitcoin UASF, in 2017 during the block size war.


Bitcoin Bitmex Research to dethrone Bitcoin core client

Bitmex has come up with a unique idea of initiating a dedicated Bitcoin client to compete with the Bitcoin Core. In their official blog post, the company also explicitly mentioned that it was solely doing it to eradicate the belief from the minds of people that Bitcoin Core controls the Bitcoin network. Specifically, it is a soft fork of the Bitcoin Core implementation. Therefore, the users need not worry about, the Bitcoin Core getting tampered, as subsequent improvements can be initiated with the new Bitcoin Bitmex research. Bitcoin Core client was considered as an excellent influencing authority which controls the market price of Bitcoin, but it is the end users to manage the Bitcoin network as designed by Satoshi Nakamoto.  


Lethargic attitude of developers of the Bitcoin Core client

The Bitcoin Core client is highly inefficient as the network requires the synchronization of the entire blockchain, which is enormous. Therefore, many users have been complaining in this particular regard, as it took some of them, days together to complete the process. More recently in September 2018, the Bitcoin Core client was once again in the LimeLight for it’s a critical bug which was discovered two years back, in November 2016. The problem was so delicate that would have led to a complete crash of a particular node if left unchanged. The developers took the matter seriously only now, and have updated the version by fixing the bug, from versions 0.14 to 0.16.3.


Bitcoin Bitmex research would be there to serve people

The Bitcoin Core client has always been in the news for its controversies or bottlenecks. Therefore, it is a fantastic step taken by Bitmex which has recently announced to release a dedicated client, Bitcoin Bitmex Research. This would be a great sigh of relief, as the customers would be less vulnerable to illicit activities that happen in the Crypto space leading to the losses of funds. Therefore, for the people who are looking forward to the Bitcoin Bitmex research client, some amount of patience is inevitable, as developers are still in the process of developing it.  

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Bitcoin: Long Term Trading Signals 22 Oct



Bitcoin is in consolidation and trading between $6700 in the upper supply area and at $6250 in the lower demand area of the range.

LONG-TERM Trading Signals for BTC/USD

Bias for Bitcoin (BTC) – Ranging

Resistance Levels- $6800, $6900, $7000

Support Level-$6100, $6000. $5900


Bitcoin is still in a range-bound market on the long-term outlook. The struggle for the market control between the bulls and bears remains obvious. The bulls progressive movement that started on 12th October after the spinning top saw BTCUSD at $7788 in the supply area on 15th October. This led to the break of the upper resistance area and the 200-EMA.  

The bears’ pressure forced the candle to close at $6742 within the range and below the 200-EMA. BTCUSD was down to $6511 in the support area on 20th October due to the sustained bearish pressure.


BTCUSD chart

BTCUSD chart


The formation of a bullish railroad on 20th October indicates the bulls gradual return.  Should the daily candle of 21st October close bullish, it will suggest the bullish pressure within the range will be stronger as price sits above the 34 EMA

Bitcoin is in consolidation and trading between $6700 in the upper supply area and at $6250 in the lower demand area of the range. A breakout at the upper supply area or breakdown at the lower demand area is imperative. To flow with the trend, traders should be patient to allow this to take place before taking a position.

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