Cybersecurity and Technology

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Tag: tech evolution

Pro Tips Chika Wonah

Pro Tips for Keeping Your Crypto Safe

Staying safe online is harder than ever, and the stakes are even higher when there’s money involved. Someone can easily make a fake Twitter account using your profile image and copied bio, and in the time it takes you to report the account, another person might have mistaken it as you and already transferred money to them. It’s an easy mistake to make if you’re not being vigilant, and unfortunately, as soon as you report one account, another can pop up in its place. To keep your cryptocurrency safely in your possession, these suggestions will help you do that:

Know the attack vectors.

You can’t protect yourself if you don’t know what you’re up against. Fake sites have gotten very good at mimicking their targets – so good that if you don’t double check the URL, you might not even know the difference.

Use strong passwords.

This might seem like a no-brainer for digital natives, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t use words like street names, birthdays, or song lyrics. But don’t randomly keyboard smash, either, because a) you’re not as random as a computer generator and b) you want to be able to keep track of your keystrokes, or else risk not being able to sign into your account anymore.

Use cold storage.

All “cold storage” means is offline and unattached or “air gapped,” which is to say, unconnected to your home network in any capacity. You can do this by removing the network card from your computer, or by buying a hardware wallet. If you’re feeling really cautious, you can cover your computer’s camera and microphone, and even remove all electronic devices from that room.

Test everything.

Make small transactions beforehand to make sure everything works. Never manually type in a url – it’s too easy to make a mistake that way, and could cost you a lot of money in errors. Copy/paste and QR codes are your best friends, though make sure your scanning app is reliable! Test your seed phrase on your hardware wallet; test the MD5 checksum before and after you load the SD card on your air gapped computer. Check everything. You can never been too careful.

Store your seed phrases in multiple places.

Your seed phrase is the string of 24 words that you can derive a private key from. You want to make sure your seed phrase stays secure at all times. For some, this means writing the seed phrase down on paper, in which case, it is recommended you make two copies and store them in separate places. SD cards are also an option, though they don’t tend to last more than five years and can be wiped by an EMP bomb. A combination of analog and digital methods is the best option. For the most cautious, they will split the seed phrase in parts and store those parts separately. If you do this, be sure to remember the order they go in, or else lose access to seed phrase altogether.

Plausible deniability.

Most simply, this means be able to keep some of the data hidden. Like in the physical world, you don’t want to advertise how much money is in your bank account, so don’t do it in the digital world, either. Also look into using multiple wallets rather than storing all of your currency in the same place.

Keep your environment safe.

Require two-factor authentication, and educate others on how to stay safe. Help the community at large by reporting fake sites and teaching the less tech-literate about why strong passwords are important. Not only are you keeping yourself protected, but you are also protecting others and paying that forward.


Is Blockchain the Face of the Next Google ChikaWonah

Is Blockchain the Face of the Next Google?

When we discuss blockchain, conversations usually surround the tech’s association with cryptocurrency, security and investing. In reality, this new tech is multifaceted and shows major implications for nearly every industry. When it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrency, news outlets can’t stop reporting on the potential promise. That being said, now people are asking big questions like could blockchain actually be the developments needed to create a search engine capable of overtaking google?

Google dictates much of our online searches with “nearly 80 percent of desktop and 95 percent of mobile searches” taking place on the program. That being said, a plethora of alternatives exist. The problem, of course, is that while some people use these tools, most cater to specific niche audiences, because Google has become a Goliath that many of the Davids of search engines aren’t ready to conquer. Enter blockchain. Given its clout in the tech field, many think it could be the answer to building a search engine capable of overcoming Google.

In terms of basic rising user trends, more people results in more reported problems, and Google users experience their fair share of flaws. Privacy remains the primary point of contention with centralized search engines. As BitClave describes, “With centralized search engines, your search data is recorded, your IP address is logged, and tracking cookies are used by centralized search engines to create a digital profile of you so they can target you with ads. Even worse, there’s no way to voluntarily opt out of this invasion of your privacy, and every time you type a keyword into a centralized search engine, you’re giving up information that puts you at risk.” Blockchain acts as the poster-child for privacy and discretion though. While heavily regulated given its infrastructure, the system manages to maintain a level of anonymity for its users.

Now the question becomes, how do we combine blockchain’s private network with a computing system that has the strength of Google? One program still in beta testing called Presearch, thinks they may have found the answer. As Shivdeep Dhaliwal explains, “Using Blockchain technology, Presearch plans to enable users to personalize their experience while staying in control of their data.” The company also incentivizes the switch, rewarding users who change from Google to their program with cryptocurrency coins based on their use. Of course, this still isn’t a perfect system. Questions have arisen about whether hackers may take advantage of the rewards and hack into other user profiles in order to gain more coins once they max out since users are limited to 8 coins a day.

The Presearch program focuses on decentralizing the search engine model, rewarding users for their contribution. As a result, they hope to build a more transparent and unbiased ranking, a problem that Google has made headlines for, for years. Of course, the idea of using blockchain to create a more effective model is one thing and actually doing it another thing.


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