#1 Protect your Private Keys
Bitcoin addresses use a pair of public and private keys. The public key is a receiving address and the private key allows you to access your coins. Consider this similar to your email address and password to access your messages.
Anyone who accesses your private keys can take ownership of your coins. Never share them with anyone or save digital copies.
#2 Use 2 Factor Authentication on all Your Online Bitcoin Accounts
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an added layer of security to prevent your accounts from being hacked. If someone cracks your password they need to physically control your phone or device.
Your 2FA device will generate a new code every few minutes which acts as a second password to log into your account.
#3 Don’t Keep Coins on an Exchange Unless Actively Trading
Unless you are in an active trade it’s better to maintain control of your own coins. Many exchanges have been hacked and lost millions of dollars worth of coins.
If you are actively trading here’s a few things you can do to reduce risk exposure:
- Only trade with a percentage of your coins and not your entire holdings.
- Research the status of the exchange within the bitcoin community before sending coins. There are usually many warning signs before an exchange goes bust.
- Diversify your coins amongst several exchanges.
#4 Make Sure You Only Send Bitcoins to Trusted Parties (check urls.)
There are many phishing scams and fake websites so be careful. Bitcoin transactions are irreversible to make sure you send them to the right address.
Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting scammed:
- Check the url to make sure the spelling is correct.
- Only send payments to sites that are ssl protected. They have a green lock with https.
- Double check your bitcoin address to make sure you copied it properly.