When it comes to bitcoin wallets, security is often at the top of every user’s list of priorities. After all, who would want their hard-earned bitcoin to be lost in the hands of a slimy hacker? Unfortunately, hackers have gotten crafty over the years, and passwords have gotten leaked. Whether it’s due to hackers manually guessing passwords or elaborate email server hacks, it’s a terrifying thing to think about. That’s why we, as holders and bitcoin enthusiasts, need to do everything in our power to make sure that these hackers do not gain unwanted access to our accounts (and bitcoin).
The first step to securing your account is to create a strong bitcoin wallet password.
Creating a strong password
Since the bitcoin wallet password serves as the first line of defense, you must make it as secure as possible. According to a report made by The Huffington Post in early 2017, “123456” and “password” were among the most common passwords in 2016. As responsible BTC holders, we have to be more vigilant than this.
Make it long and complex
The first step to making your password secure is to make it as long and complex as possible (within reason). Although manually typing a password as a means of hacking accounts seems a little rudimentary, we still have to be on the lookout. As a general rule, the longer and more complex your password is, the harder it will be for hackers to guess. Instead of making it overly complicated, try using random phrases. This way, it’ll be hard for hackers to guess, but easy for you to remember.
Avoid using personal information
However, remember never to use personal information. With the majority of the world on social media, using personal information (such as birthdays, anniversaries, addresses, pets’ names, etc.) can make it easier for hackers to guess your password. This rule also applies to the optional security questions that you choose when creating an account. Select security questions that aren’t easily searchable on your social media accounts. Also, don’t use characters that appear consecutively on the keyboard (such as “123456” or “qwerty”).
Steer clear of common words or phrases
In addition to that, make sure that your passwords don’t contain common words, phrases or combinations as there are hacks called “dictionary attacks” that plague accounts. These hacks are hacking algorithms that systematically enter each word (found in a dictionary) to try to determine a password. Apart from that, these can utilize a list of simple passwords.
Take advantage of alphanumeric characters
Another way for you to further secure your password is to use characters other than letters—symbols, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters. The more you jumble it, the harder it will be to guess. You could substitute zero’s (0) for the letter O, @ for the letter A, or $ for the letter S.
Ideally, a strong password will have 12+ characters, both upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, no easily guessed information, and no common words and phrases.
Additional ways to secure your account
There are other ways to enhance the security levels of your bitcoin wallet. Here’s how:
Take care of your password
Make sure that no one else knows it and make sure that no one’s around when you type it in. Be sure to always remember it—write it on a piece of paper and hide it somewhere only you would know. If you lose it, bear in mind that it’s hard to recover bitcoin wallet passwords.
Never reuse passwords
Large scale hacks have occurred on email servers in the past, compromising email addresses and passwords. If most of your accounts on various websites have the same email and password, hackers will have access to everything.
Consider using a password manager
Password managers are applications that keep track of all passwords on all your websites. All of these are kept in a single location, accessible to you via the master password. A lot of these services are free and come with additional services, such as syncing passwords across devices. Some services will even audit behaviors and make sure that you’re not using the same ones across many locations. This will help people that easily forget bitcoin wallet passwords.
Change your passwords
When it comes to sensitive information like bitcoin wallet password, updating it regularly can put hackers on their heels.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
Although 2FA isn’t directly related to the strength of your password, it can act as a line of defense against unwanted access to your account.
Use the right kind of wallet
Before anything else, it’s essential to use the correct type of wallet. Each wallet is designed for a different kind of trader. For example, hardware wallets are designed for people who are holding a significant amount of bitcoin. Web wallets are ideal for beginners in the bitcoin trading world. Do some research on the different types of wallets and make sure you’re using the right one.
The bitcoin world has often been referred to as “The Wild West,” and with all the risks that come with trading, understandably so. Fortunately, there are proven ways to minimize risks while trading, such as strengthening your password and enabling 2FA. However, the best way for a trader to stay safe in “The Wild West” is to stay informed. In the bitcoin world, knowledge is power. The more you know about how things work, the more the risks are minimized.