Due to the increase in the hacking of Cryptocurrencies, it’s necessary for crypto users to use encryption tools.

By Susan Alexandra, Contributing Writer, None

It’s been two years since cryptocurrency entered the mainstream, and ever since then, the cryptocurrency platform has become somewhat of a niche again. Why? Well, it may be the increasing costs of crypto-ready hardware, the volatile nature of crypto’s value, or it could be the security risks.

Yes, not even cryptocurrency is safe from security issues nor a lecture about security. With cryptocurrencies basing their value off anonymity, some privacy/security issues are bound to arise. But what could you possibly have to worry about? Will Bitcoin leak my IP address? Will Dogecoin make me look like a fool?

What are the Security Risks of Cryptocurrency?

Shortly after Facebook announced their plans for an original cryptocurrency—dubbed Libra—the U.S government fired back, claiming cryptocurrency is a “national security issue”. Is there merit to this claim, though?

To an extent, yes. Cryptocurrency can be a good source of income, granted you have the electricity and hardware for it, but it is not free of security issues; some minor, some major.

For starters, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been used for many illegal activities on ‘Dark Markets’, stores and marketplaces on the Dark Web. Due to crypto’s inherent anonymity, cybercriminals use it to pay for services or products that are illegal (drugs, weapons, etc.).

However, when it comes to the user, AKA you, there are real risks you need to be aware of. Take crypto “wallets”, for instance. You need a place to store your cryptocurrency, so why not an encrypted wallet?

These wallets exist in software and hardware form, the latter being akin to a USB stick. However, both are vulnerable to specific attacks; certain malware can be used to nab data during the transfer process between the wallet and target device. Remember, just because a product says it’s encrypted doesn’t mean it’s secure: a lesson you can take with you everywhere.

Malware and scamming is a huge risk in cryptocurrency as well, though hacking is much more likely. Wait, really? People can hack your cryptocurrency?

Hacking is a real risk in today’s cryptocurrency environment. While that sounds obvious, many aren’t aware of how much damage they can truly do. If you need an example, look at Mt. Gox, a once-popular bitcoin exchange. In 2014, the exchange was hacked, casualties of the hack translating to 850,000 Bitcoins—$7.2 billion dollars.

This attack put Mt. Gox out of business, so ask yourself this: if hackers can put a whole company out of business, what can they do to you?

Perhaps a better question is what can you do to avoid these situations? Is there even a way to stay safe while mining for cryptocurrency? Fortunately yes, and the answer to the question is a VPN.

Why Should You Use a VPN When Working With Cryptocurrencies?

A VPN does one job and does it well: anonymize your activity on a network. See, cryptocurrency does a good job keeping you and your activity anonymous, but only on their side; anyone on your network can still snoop on your transactions and nab your data.

However, with a VPN, this won’t be possible due to a VPN’s ability to hide your IP address, effectively hiding any and all activity.

VPNs also add a bit of extra security, protecting you from other threats that may threaten you and your safety, such as phishing attacks or malware. Remember, nothing is invulnerable to good ole human scams, and cryptocurrency is no exception; I’m sure there have been quite a few people scammed out of their crypto wallets through an email phishing scam.

All in all, if you’re paranoid about your safety—or your Bitcoin wallet’s safety—there’s no reason not to use a VPN. So go ahead! Boot up your computer and install a reputable Windows VPN on it and get to mining with a newfound sense of security!

About the Author

Susan Alexandra is an independent contributing author at SecurityToday and Tripwire. She is a small business owner, traveler, and investor in cryptocurrencies.