How to stay safe and keep your Bitcoin secure in a public world

In today's world, everything is shared. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to Reddit, millennials do one thing really good - they share details about their life daily online with complete strangers, giving anyone a direct view into their personal lives, habits, and even their financials. There is an old saying that dates back ages, "never tell anyone how much money you make." This saying came about for several reasons, such as people may begin to judge you and also, because of personal security. If strangers know your wealth, you instantly become a target. When it comes to Bitcoin, the heightened level of security becomes even more paramount because although Bitcoin is extremely secure, the way you store them can be vulnerable to attackers if security precautions are not taken seriously.

Mum's the word

If you go around telling people on social media that you invested in Bitcoin a few years ago and now the price has doubled or tripled, people will know you have made a lot of money and will want to target you. If you share a lot of personal details about yourself online, they can begin to piece together information and target you physically, digitally or both. It's one thing to say you are invested in Bitcoin generally speaking, it's another to divulge how much exactly, when, and how much you have gained. This opens you up to all kinds of scrutiny which makes you a target to really bad people out there. Using common sense is probably your best tool in this new sharing-world. Privacy is important. Just like the old saying goes, the same applies in today's world of social media and digital cash.

How to stay safe in this public world

It's highly recommended that you keep your Bitcoin in two different kinds of wallets. A spending "hot" wallet and a savings "cold" storage wallet. The premise behind a hot wallet is that it's used for spending only. Think of it as walk around money that is used as cash. You keep small-to-medium sized amounts of Bitcoin in your hot wallet. Typically hot wallets are held on your mobile device and used daily for spending. For a hot spending wallet, download the Wallet to get started today. It's safe, secure, and is the go-to wallet for millions of people around the world. For a cold wallet, also called a cold storage wallet, the premise is to keep your Bitcoin savings there which won't be used daily, but used occasionally (for example to refill your hot wallet when you are low on funds). Cold wallets can be stored completely offline, for example with paper wallets that you can create yourself, which is a super cost effective and safe way to store your coins offline. Read our guide on how to setup a cold storage wallet. Another method is to use a hardware wallet. These are safe wallets made with security in mind and have many more features than a paper wallet to keep your coins secure but give you added feature sets such as signing keys offline and defense against malware and other types of attack that a simple paper wallet won't provide. Hardware wallets are physical devices that are sold by manufacturers.

Other helpful Bitcoin security tips

Staying secure doesn't have to be hard if you follow basic security practices. Here are 10 tips to help keep you safe:

  1. Never share your password with anyone.
  2. Use a password manager so you aren't reusing passwords.
  3. Never share your Bitcoin backup passphrase (recovery seed) with anyone.
  4. Never share your Bitcoin private key with anyone.
  5. Do not reuse Bitcoin addresses (most modern wallets don't do this anymore).
  6. Don't post your email address, home address or phone number on social media.
  7. Always keep your computer anti-virus up to date so you don't download malware.
  8. Always backup your wallet and do it periodically.
  9. For cold storage wallets and backup wallet passphrases at home, store them in a fireproof safe.
  10. Use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere.

Just like how you want to avoid fraud online, you don't want to make yourself an easy target online to scammers and hackers. Use these tips above to stay safe and keep your Bitcoin secure.

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