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5 Tips to Protect Your Cryptoassets by Securing Your Browser

Wirrten by: Dmytro Volkov, CTO of the international cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO. He has over 15 years’ work experience in IT, including over 10 years in financial markets. Author of trainings on financial and tech topics. Speaker at industry-wide conferences.  2020 has been a year filled with threats for crypto owners, not the least of which were frauds and hacking […]

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Wirrten by: Dmytro Volkov, CTO of the international cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO. He has over 15 years’ work experience in IT, including over 10 years in financial markets. Author of trainings on financial and tech topics. Speaker at industry-wide conferences. 

2020 has been a year filled with threats for crypto owners, not the least of which were frauds and hacking attacks that exploited vulnerabilities of browsers.

When it comes to cryptocurrency theft attempts, criminals almost always focus on the browser most users use to access exchanges to buy or sell crypto assets.

The first and simplest method of attack is phishing. For example, at the end of last year hackers mounted a large-scale attack targeting large corporations, one that took $160 thousand to launch.

Scammers lead users to fake sites that look a lot like the original. They actively employ social engineering to convince the victim that they need to perform some action immediately.

For example, a user might receive a message supposedly from an exchange employee saying that the user’s account is about to be blocked unless the user makes some urgent money transfer.

And if the browser is not set to avoid working over unsecure protocols or checking for suspicious sites and security certificates, the risk of hacking increases several times over.

On top of that, the latest news indicates that this risk also applies to those who use the Tor browser, which is often used to achieve anonymity. An attack called “man-in-the-middle” allows criminals to intercept and read data being transferred, as well as tamper with the packets you send.

Ways to combat these attacks over the Internet have already existed a long time and have become standard. First among these is the HTTPS protocol, which encrypts data sent by users.

By connecting over HTTPS, users can be sure they have accessed the real site, not a fake. But what criminals often do is force users to connect over the unsecured HTTP protocol instead of the secure HTTPS protocol.

It is believed that users can only be forced over to the unsecured protocol when initially connecting, and only by the ISP, such as a home Internet service or public WiFi network. But with Tor, an unsecured connection can also be forced on the user by the exit node, the node where the user actually accesses the Internet.

Therefore, by controlling the exit node, a hacker has the same man-in-the-middle attack capabilities as the user’s Internet or VPN service provider.

The Tor network’s anonymity merely adds fuel to the fire: node owners can literally do whatever they want. While ISPs care about their reputations and work to prevent these attacks, with Tor no one is risking anything. And when a hacker joins the connection, they can not only steal data from your computer, but also switch out the wallet address where you send your money.

How Can You Protect Your Crypto Assets?

There are generally accepted security rules that can help you avoid getting hacked and losing your assets. Here’s what you need to do:

1) Maintain a healthy skepticism toward all sites and verify the validity of their certificate and the security of the connection

Since phishing is hackers’ primary tool in their attempts to steal crypto assets, you have to be suspicious of every site. Hackers love making fake sites that look a lot like the original, so don’t be fooled by seeing the usual forms and graphics and double-check everything. If you’re pressured to switch to an unsecure HTTP connection, don’t do it.

 2)  Don’t click on links in emails and messages

A search engine or your Favorites list won’t take you to a phishing site. But links in emails and messages could take you anywhere. So don’t rush to click the button right in the email, even if it looks like it’s customer support writing to you. Enter the URL you need manually or access the site by googling it.

 3)  Regularly update your browser and your computer’s security systems

When it comes to the security of your valuable data, you should always operate on the assumption that the system you are using to access the Internet is vulnerable. Before performing any transaction with your coin, update your antivirus and make sure your computer has all the latest patches and updated malware databases.

4) Work with platforms that adhere to all security standards and operate under the oversight of a recognized regulator

Exchanges and crypto wallets themselves can also be broken into, so you need to choose secure platforms to store your assets. Exchanges that adhere to regulatory standards are by definition more secure. Users on these platforms can use two-factor authentication and aggregate signatures.

5) Maintain several backups of all important data, including data pertaining to crypto wallets

Your data may be corrupted in a hacking attack, and even if the hacker doesn’t gain access to your wallet or online account, you can end up without access to your assets. In the crypto world, that is no different from losing your funds, so be sure to save encrypted keys and login information in several places.

Featured image via Unsplash.

Blockchain

How You Can Effectively Trade Cryptocurrency

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The emerging cryptocurrency market has generated increasing interest over the last few years, among investors of all varieties and backgrounds. Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrency trading is based on speculation of price fluctuations, instead of actually owning and selling an asset. The value of an investment is determined by the asset’s movement between trade entry and exit. Cryptocurrencies are unique in ways that distinguish them from other traditional commodities and trading markets. They’re virtual or digital commodities, which makes them intangible, and they’re unregulated and decentralized, so they’re not managed, monitored or governed by a central authority, such as a government or internationally recognized bank. This makes them intrinsically lucrative but also volatile.

These sorts of technologically advanced financial investment opportunities certainly carry their own appeal and the potential for unlimited profitability. But in the finance world, high returns are often proportionate to high risks. To minimize the risks and increase your chances of success, it’s essential to develop an adequate understanding of the theories and mechanisms behind these digital transactions. This will help you to improve your crypto trading strategy based on knowledge, instead of just hopes and prayers.

In the world of cryptocurrency, there are some industry-specific terms that you should become well familiarized with to understand how these markets operate. Here are some of the fundamentals:

Blockchain

Blockchain is the digital database underlying cryptocurrencies. It’s a digital ledger of recorded data, whereby all records are encrypted individually. Transactions are recorded in blocks, and blocks are added to the chain as transactions take place. This process is known as cryptocurrency mining.

Blockchain technology and its decentralized networks are built and sustained by mass collaboration on a global scale. They’re based on peer-to-peer exchanges and layers of trust, removing the need for a centralized authority to monitor transactions. This makes blockchain a trading anomaly that fascinates many investors and economists.

Types Of Cryptocurrencies

There are more than 1,600 cryptocurrencies currently being traded publicly, with a combined market value of more than $289 billion. The value of Bitcoins alone was estimated at $210 billion. And while there is a limit on the number of Bitcoins available for purchase, the appreciation of their value is seemingly limitless. This naturally heightens demand and speculative interest on trade and investment value, as it would with any tradable commodity.

Tokens

There are value tokens, security tokens and utility tokens. Value tokens like Bitcoins are created in an Initial win Bitcoin, such as by leveraging investment trading strategies or exchanging digital services for cryptocurrency.

Altcoins

An abbreviation for Alternative Cryptocurrency Coins, these are any coins besides Bitcoins. Although they’re all created on the same theory and foundation as Bitcoin, they’re all unique in the purposes and applications they serve, and are supported by different systems and protocols. The most well-known altcoins on the market are the following:

  • Peercoin
  • Litecoin
  • Namecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • Omni
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Libra
  • Monero (XMR)
  • Binance Bitcoin price analysis would greatly benefit your trade strategy. You’ll have to decide whether your strategy and position will be short or long. A solid risk management strategy should be built into any longer-term trade approach, so that there are limiting constraints to all losses.

    Day trading is an example of how you can profit from a short-term strategy. Bitcoin is traded 24/7 and is the most liquid of all cryptocurrencies, which means it can undergo quicker transactions and monetary conversions within a day—and with marginal impact on the market price. There are also many more trading opportunities in a 24-hour window, in larger loads with much less overhead. With day trading, consider optimizing your strategy in the following ways:

    • Diversify your trade currencies
    • Track and monitor trading times and trends
    • Stay vigilant and current on cryptocurrency news
    • Minimize trading costs by using a low-rate exchange
    • Utilize technical analysis tools and metrics

    Purchasing Cryptocurrency Through An Exchange:

    In this case, you’re taking ownership of the digital currency, and ideally the asset you purchase will appreciate in value. You’ll need a digital wallet to store your currency and an account through which to exchange it. Digital wallets need to be secure and protected from external cyber threats such as hackers.

    Ways To Buy Or Invest In Cryptocurrency

    If you’re wondering how to acquire cryptocurrency in the first place, there are a few options, such as exchange platforms and trade brokers. Bitcoin, for example, can be purchased from exchanges that’ll charge a percentage of the purchasing price. Each one charges different trade fees based on a tiered structure or schedule. The most well-known and widely used cryptocurrency exchanges are:

    • Coinbase
    • Binance
    • Gemini
    • Coinmama

    If you choose to go down a more traditional route with a stockbroker, here a few mainstream cryptocurrency trade brokers:

    • Robinhood
    • TradeStation
    • eToro

    There are other ways to purchase or invest in Bitcoin or Altcoins, such as Bitcoin ATMs, peer-to-peer transactions, and digital currency asset managers.

    Conclusion

    Before you embark on your cryptocurrency adventure, you should first take steps to educate yourself on the risks involved before jumping into high-level trading. Explore your options for trading or exchanging currencies, and the necessary steps for storage and investment management. Even if you’ve got significant experience in financial trading and investment strategies, cryptocurrency operates very differently from any other market in terms of volatility, liquidity and predictability of trends. So, it’s important to first get familiarized with this unique market. Understanding the nature of cryptocurrency will help to optimize your experience, and help set you up for potential success.

    Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/sponsored/how-you-can-effectively-trade-cryptocurrency/

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Bitcoin Price to Hit $36,000 in 2021: Kraken Crypto Sentiment Survey

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From what happened in the last couple of weeks, it appears that the crypto bull market is upon us. Bitcoin has been consistent with its volatility-induced rallies, and this is infusing confidence in investors.

So much, so that VIP clients in Kraken’s latest Crypto Sentiment Survey say that BTC will skyrocket to about $36,000 in 2021. They also feel that ETH could revisit its previous highs of $1500.

Bitcoin And ETH To Trade At Average Prices Of $15K and $549 By 2020 End

The latest Kraken Crypto Sentiment Survey covers investor sentiment for the second half of 2020. The exchange had already conducted a similar survey back in March this year. But then investors were way more optimistic about BTC and ETH price growth by December.

Now, the same respondents have retracted their bullish calls for bitcoin and ether (ETH) this year. According to the latest numbers,

The average bitcoin price target among 309 responses fell -35% surveyover-survey to $14,866, well below February’s average of $22,866. The median price target also retraced -28% from $19,424 to $14,000, and the most commonly cited price target was $15,000, down -25% from $20,000.

With respect to ether (ETH), the average price target among 289 responses was $549, off -32% from the previous survey’s average of $810. The median price target was unchanged at $500 and the most frequently cited price target was $500, up +66% from $300.

At 72 percent, traders and investors (down from 81 percent when the survey was conducted in March) comprised a majority of the survey responses. 18 percent of responses came from Institutions (broker, custodian, family office, hedge fund, lender, market maker, private equity firm, proprietary trading firm, or venture capitalist).

And the rest 4 percent – from crypto service providers (ATM, exchange, lender, payment processor) and miners. As compared to March, the researchers at Kraken anticipated a lower price growth optimism from the said respondents since the year is so close to its end.

The Outlook For 2021 Remains Super Bullish

When asked about how they see bitcoin and ether prices in the next year, respondents didn’t shy away from expressing their mega bullish calls. Survey participants called for an average bitcoin price target of $36,602 in 2021. Some put the median bitcoin price target at $25,000, but a lot of folks (approximately 61 percent) felt if not anything else, BTC will at least hit $20,000.

A small section of respondents reported hopium-induced ultra bullish calls.

Approximately, 8% of respondents provided a price target greater-than-or-equal-to $100,000, roughly 20% of respondents reported a price target greater-than-or-equal-to $50,000…

Survey participants were very optimistic about ETH’s outlook as well in the next year. This sentiment came from the discussions around Ethereum’s network upgrade and the growing popularity of the DeFi ecosystem. Respondents think ETH will trade at an average price of $1454 in 2021. Also, at the same time:

Close to 59% believe that ether will, at least, hit $800. Additionally, 22% of respondents see ether surpassing its previous all-time high of $1,595 set in early-January 2018 and just under 92% see ether, at the very least, trading higher than current price in 2021.

What becomes evident from the aforementioned numbers is that participants in a price prediction survey tend to project bullish figures for a longer-term.

Will Bitcoin(BTC) and ether (ETH) hit the above price targets in 2021? That still remains to be seen.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-price-to-hit-36000-in-2021-kraken-crypto-sentiment-survey/

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Bluzelle Launches Second Swarm of Duty Validator Program as Mainnet Looms

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Distributed database service Bluzelle has released details of its second validator program, Swarm of Duty II. The sequel to the maiden testnet, which ran in July, will provide developers, token-holders, and validators the chance to put Bluzelle through its paces and see what the network is capable of.

“Kicking the tires” of blockchain networks has become something of an event in crypto circles, as the incentives for participating in testnet events are ramped up. Whereas in the past, early supporters would interact with a project’s testnet because they were tech-minded and passionate about seeing it succeed, today’s crypto communities can participate out of enthusiasm or for more mercenary reasons.

From Bluzelle’s perspective, its team wants to spur as much engagement as possible, to stress test the network before the mainnet launch occurs. As CryptoPotato reported earlier, the project has also managed to enter Polkadot’s ecosystem.

Calling All Validators

More than 200 validators participated in Bluzelle’s first Swarm of Duty event over the summer. Bluzelle has structured its testnet events like military exercises, pitting different army factions against one another. Each of the groups participating in the event has different duties to perform, which sometimes conflict with those of other units. This is deliberate to determine how the network performs under adversarial conditions.

At the top of the pecking order are Special Forces (Tier 3), reserved for hardcore Bluzelle DevOps and developers who know the protocol inside out and are heavily invested in its success. Then comes the Armory (Tier 2), made up of validators who are experienced at running blockchain nodes and in earning fees for maintaining the network’s consensus rules. Finally, there is the Infantry (Tier 1), comprising end-users who wish to run their own node using their own hardware or cloud servers.

An Almighty Battle With Prizes at Stake

Bluzelle has devised an array of tasks for each of the groups participating in Swarm of Duty II to complete. For example, its Special Forces have been tasked with providing oracle price feeds by connecting to external data sources via API.

Oracles are crucial in enabling blockchains to execute smart contracts based on the outcome of real-world events, ranging from sports results to the weather.

Ultimately, Bluzelle is seeking feedback and suggestions of all kinds from its community on matters ranging from technical infrastructure to UX. As a result, it’s created an open category for creative ideas that will help to improve the network in every conceivable way. Swarm of Duty II is expected to be the final incentivized testnet before Bluzelle releases its mainnet. At that point, its 10,000 TPS blockchain will be rolled out to dApp developers.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bluzelle-launches-second-swarm-of-duty-validator-program-as-mainnet-looms/

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