The complex security needs of cryptocurrencyAugust 17, 2022
It’s hard to think of an aspect of our day-to-day lives that the internet hasn’t touched.
Everything from art to communication to education has been adapted to operate within a digital format, and even banking now exists in a primarily online world. And the more sensitive the data, the more protection is needed.
One of the latest and greatest uses of online banking is the cryptocurrency trade, a simple way to invest in stocks with various online currencies such as Bitcoin, Solana, and Polkadot. However, with this ease of trading comes the ease of hacking, and many scammers have done their fair share of online robbery.
How to protect your crypto and other digital assets
Since the initial emergence of cryptocurrency, basic security measures have become commonplace against such attacks. According to an article by blockchain-council.org, some standard ways to protect your money are to:
- Research the exchange you want to participate in to make sure it's a legitimate business
- Be wary of phishing emails
- Use a strong password containing a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters
- Keep the security key needed for transactions in a safe place
- Choose a secure digital “wallet” to store your money
Essentially, it is advisable to use the techniques needed for general internet safety when participating in crypto trading.
The problem with NFTs and Cyber Safety
Though basic crypto is a generally safe and easy game to play nowadays, new ideas are always developing, and with new ideas come new problems that require innovative solutions.
The newest venture in the world of cryptocurrency is the sale of and investment in non-fungible tokens, better known as NFTs. An article from hacken.io defines NFTs as “virtual assets trackable on blockchain [that have] a unique nature…NFTs can represent a painting, football player, meme, emoji, and, generally, whatever you want. Non-fungible tokens constitute the rapidly growing technology that can promote further tokenization of the economy.” Once one of these virtual assets is paid for, the purchaser is given a right of possession, the NFT acting as a sort of virtual receipt to prove ownership. While this transaction is not a convoluted one, nuances surrounding it pose similar security threats as general cryptocurrency.
Hacken.io states that scams, fake non-fungible tokens, and data hacks/mining all work against the NFT industry. There are many ways to fake the selling of NFTs, one popular method being “malicious actors [selling] photos of NFTs or mint NFT replicas. As a result, a user simply buys the right to use these NFTs rather than get the intellectual property rights.”
There are also some sellers that do not legally own the media they offer, taking art without the original creator’s permission in order to make a quick buck. Sometimes scammers sell off the link to the file only to revoke access to the NFT moments later. While all this white-collar robbery takes place, the main criticism and loophole regarding NFTs hangs in the air: Because the product is entirely online, anyone with a laptop or phone browsing the display of an NFT can simply screenshot the image, owning a replica that has dissimilarities or inherent less value to the original.
Both the safety and appeal of NFTs still have a long way to go, but perhaps with enough dedication to the problems they face, they can grow to be just as smart and valuable an investment as any cryptocurrency.
The value of cybersecurity education
Capitol Tech offers many opportunities in cyber and information security, where you can help develop security protocols and tools that may one day be useful in the realm of crypto trading. To learn more about these programs, visit captechu.edu and check out the various courses and degrees offered. Many courses are available both on campus and online.