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Ledger Wins “Startup of the Year” Award In France

Apart from being one of the most renowned cold wallets manufacturers, Ledger is one of the most praised. The French startup has built a dedicated community of customers but it’s not only regular users that give kudos to Ledger, as even global businesses do.

The international accountancy heavyweight EY rewarded Ledger its annual Startup of the Year Award for the Ile-de-France region. EY annually runs a competition where France’s best performing new companies lead the race. There are three main categories that the Le Prix de l’Entrepreneur de l’Année includes – best entrepreneur, best social commitment, and best startup.

Surprisingly or not, in a year heavily dominated by cyber attacks, one cryptocurrency business won one of the EY’s awards. The accountancy firm has given the Startup of the Year Award for the Ile-de-France region to Ledger.

 

In the next round, Ledger will face eight other startups from various fields and only one of them will grab the major prize. According to Forbes, in 2017 the French company has sold over one million hardware wallets, thus netting close to $29 million in profit.

Why is Ledger any different?

It’s not that researchers have never found vulnerabilities in the Ledger devices. This has happened to virtually everyone in the business. Unlike other, Ledger is always quick to approach the issue and communicate and even co-work with its users.

Fortunately, when some security experts pointed to a possible Ledger Nano S hack, it turned out that the case is rather extraordinary (check the linked article for more info). In a real-life situation, when you purchase your Ledger device directly from the company or from pre-approved resellers, you can be sure your coins are safe.

 

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Cryptojacking Attacks Seem To Have No End

One can only imagine the scale of the latest cryptojacking attack. The trend to steal internet users’ computing power to mine cryptocurrencies shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it is quite the opposite, cryptojackers get smarter and more creative than expected.

A group of cybersecurity researchers has stumbled upon 3,700 routers that silently run cryptocurrency mining scripts. These particular routers have not been infected before but it looks like the internet cowboys have changed that. This brings the total number of corrupted devices to 280,000. What is more concerning is the fact that just three months ago this number was 200,000. Read between the lines babe, roughly 888 devices are being hacked every day. That makes 37 hacks per hour. Yet some dare to say, cryptojacking is unprofitable.

The recent discovery just proves that the attack that took place in Brazil one month ago is not over yet. Back then the culprits performed “zero-day attack” on MicroTik routers, successfully compromising 200,000 of them. Prior to the attack, no one was aware of the existing vulnerabilities. As always, CoinHive was the software that was injected in the routers, thus allowing the hackers to effectively mine Monero.

CoinHive is the most notorious piece of code on planet Earth in recent months. It is super popular among hackers as it is easy to use as well as effective. So far, the online criminals have infected AdSense banners, websites, Wi-Fi networks, and routers. Once an internet network (or a website) starts running CoinHive the script hijacks computing power from user’s devices and mines Monero.

One research even suggests that cryptojackers literally earn $250,000 per month. If you want to learn more about cryptojacking, click here.

Unfortunately, cryptojacking is not the only tool the bad guys rely on. We have to fear Android Banker as well. It is a Trojan Horse virus, which effectively circumvents two-factor authentication (2FA) and thus stealing usernames and passwords. Hackers primarily use it against banking apps and have already compromised 200 applications in 2018 alone.

Never ever download and trust applications from unknown sources. You will thank me later.

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What Makes A Strong Password?

In an age where an invasion of our online security might virtually erode our offline well-being, it is extremely important to protect the passwords we use. The last time we talked about PINs and how the majority of them could be cracked within seconds. Unfortunately, when speaking of passwords the statistics ain’t much better.

 How weak are weak passwords?

In short, they are as weak as the weakest PIN you can think of. Digging deeper, Keeper Security has discovered that the majority of internet users go for “123456”, “qwerty” and other combinations that are literally “unbreakable”. In fact, 17% of all 10,000,000 passwords scanned were “123456”. More interesting and disturbing facts – the top 25 most common passwords make up for 50% of all passwords examined by Keeper Security.

I know this might come as a surprise to you but even more complex patterns like “1q2w3e4r5t6y” fail miserably. Hackers know too damn well that they can easily feed an algorithm with strings of numbers and letters that are commonly used as passwords and brute force accounts. It will take the algorithm just minutes to compromise your account. Remember, hackers can read too, meaning research findings such as those by Keeper Security practically help them develop even better hacking tools.

Why should this not disturb you?

Because you are a human. Unlike machines, you think slower but you have something bots don’t have (at least for now) – imagination. Leveling up your security is just a matter of some creativity. Usually, there is one simple rule – the longer the password, the better. Rule #2 – use a variety of symbols AKA combine letters and numbers.

No, your street number and your dog’s name don’t make a strong pass. A quick check on social media will give the bad actors all the necessary information. However, your options are countless – combine a favorite quote (better choose a less popular one) with the last three digits of your best friend’s phone number.

Draw on your keyboard! Well, not literally. Here’s what I’m talking about – make up a password that will form a triangle, X, octagon, square (you get the idea) on the keyboard. Are you a musician? Great, you can easily use the opening chords (or notes) of the first song you’ve ever learned.

Your possibilities are endless. Your password should make sense to you. It should be hard to guess but easy to remember. You are human after all, not a machine.

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Do’s And Don’ts When Choosing A PIN

The cryptocurrency space is lucrative for both traders and hackers. And while the first are more likely your friends, the latter literally freak the whole community out. Many inexperienced traders underestimate the threat that cybercriminals pose. It’s just that they hack exchanges, they try to compromise everything connecting to the internet – servers, private computers, wallets of all kinds, and even whole blockchain networks.

How secure is your PIN?

Speaking of hackers and attacks, what about your PIN? Is it secure enough? I bet you think it is but the chances are it isn’t. Here’s what I’m talking about. When humans are up to the task of coming up with a PIN for their device, they tend to settle for hard to guess 4-digit strings such as “1234” or “0000”. I have to admit I have done it too. However, these combinations are not hard to guess at all. Even a fourth-grader can unlock your hardware wallet if you rely on the above-mentioned top-level security PINs.

The harsh reality is that roughly 11% of all 4-digit PINs are “1234”. No, I’m not making up the facts. DataGenetics did a research regarding the most secure and least secure PIN codes used by people. The mainly relied on data from stolen PINs and their findings are intriguing and disappointing at the same time. Disappointing because people seem to lack imagination when choosing their PIN.

The top 20 most used combinations make up for 26% of all PINs from the 3.4 million database. To put this straight, one out of ten PIN codes is “1234”. Yeah, it is that easy for someone to guess it.

How to improve your PIN?

The easiest thing to do is to add more characters to your PIN since 4-digit combinations are the easiest to guess. Your other options include the avoidance of sequential and repetitive patterns like “6789” or “2255”. Furthermore, you can simply combine random numbers that matter to you. However, avoid birth years. Period. This is self-explanatory I think.

Another proper strategy is to add a random character to a number you can easily remember. For instance, “201604” becomes “534937” by adding three to each character. If you find it too difficult, you can always let your hardware wallet do the trick and provide you with a random PIN.

Why don’t brute force attacks work on cold storages?

Every time you (or a bad actor) input incorrect PIN, the device starts a timer, which prevents you from typing another combination. The more you screw up, the longer you have to wait. This simple tactics effectively combat brute force attacks.

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Coinbase Rebrands Toshi Wallet To Coinbase Wallet

As you might have noticed, Coinbase recently rebranded the Toshi Wallet to Coinbase Wallet. The non-custodial wallet is soon to support not only Ethereum and ERC20 tokens but Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Bitcoin as well.

Why Coinbase Wallet matters?

First of all, the fact that the San Francisco-based exchange went on to rename that specific wallet product to Coinbase Wallet means just one thing – Coinbase is really trying to hold crypto traders in its platform. It’s not only that it offers a variety of crypto trading services, now that it offers Coinbase Wallet, promoting it as “the easiest and most secure crypto wallet, the business giant wants to level up its game.

However, it has been known for a long time that online wallets in general and specifically exchange wallets fail miserably when it comes to protecting your tokens. So why would Coinbase Wallet be any different?

Coelho-Prabhu says in a blog post:

“Toshi was developed by the Coinbase team a little over a year ago — When the product launched, it featured the world’s first mobile dapp browser — Later, we became the first wallet to launch crypto collectibles,” then adding, “And as part of our effort to be the most trusted brand in the space, we also set out to provide best-in-class secure storage. With Coinbase Wallet, your private keys are secured using your device’s Secure Enclave and biometric authentication technology.

Coinbase Wallet Features

Currently, you can use it to store your Ethereum and ERC20 tokens. However, unlike online wallets Coinbase Wallet allows you to store and trade collectible, non-fungible, tokens and receive airdrops. Furthermore, it really allows you to seamlessly interact with decentralized applications and platforms.

The team behind it has tried to secure it as users can create their own private seeds and recovery phrases. In fact, an additional security feature asks you to level up security by using your fingerprint as a biometric authentication.

The Coinbase Wallet is available for Android and iOS and we are really looking forward to how it turns out.

 

 

 

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MetaMask Adds Trezor Integration

MetaMask is perhaps the most popular Ethereum browser extension. It has long been bridging the gap between regular websites and the Ethereum network. In short, it allows ordinary people to interact with the Ethereum blockchain through their Chrome or Firefox browser.

The reason why we are talking about MetaMask here is that the team behind has added yet another fascinating feature – Trezor integration.

What does it mean for Trezor users?

Simply said, users are now able to check account balances for Ether and Ethereum-based tokens and confirm transactions through MetaMask. As usual, users can still manage their favorite decentralized apps and utilize smart contracts. The thing is, you instantly trade Ethereum and tokens built on the top of Ethereum without having to send them to MetaMask first.

This further secures your digital assets as you do not have to rely on MetaMask to keep your private keys safe. Trezor protects them because they never leave its cold storage.

It is extremely easy to utilize this new feature as you only have to connect your Trezor device with MetaMask. Your balances, transaction history, etc. will automatically appear. It really feels like using an ordinary account with the exception that every time you are about to conduct a transaction you will need to manually confirm it on your hardware device.

“All operations involving your keys, including signing, happens inside your Trezor device. Your keys are never exposed.

You can disconnect your Trezor after importing your account, and your transaction history will be remembered in MetaMask, as the app stores the public key to your connected account. To delete your history from the app, disconnect your account in MetaMask settings. Your account balance will remain intact,” Trezor notes.

MetaMask further adds:

“Another cool thing is that you don’t need to keep your TREZOR device connected all the time in order to see your different accounts and balances, but of course you can also opt to disconnect your device from MetaMask and link it again the next time you need to use it.”

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Monero GUI Wallet Now Offers Ledger Support

Most recently, the team behind Monero GUI wallet announced an update, which pleasantly surprised the Monero community. The new Version 0.12.3.0 offers Ledger support.

Monero has always stood out as privacy and security-oriented token but this time the development team really outdid itself. In fact, Monero has perhaps the most dedicated community and that dedication is often paid off. Without creating any unnecessary hype, the developing team silently builds a sustainable ecosystem.

These tactics over put Monero in the shadows and regular updates often go unnoticed. However, the last Monero GUI wallet release was difficult to miss. The most important update is definitely the one which allows for a native Ledger wallet support. The fact that the hardware wallet now integrates easily with Monero is a win-win situation. The cold wallet manufacturer adds a trusted token, while the Monero lovers get a chance to fully reap the benefits of Ledger’s hardware wallet.

GUI wallet users are now able to open Monero Ledger wallet within GUI itself. However, this is only possible if the user has connected a physical Ledger wallet to their computer. This further adds to the security offered by Ledger. Furthermore, this is not the only update GUI wallet comes with. The user interface is slightly adjusted as well as some minor bugs apparent in previous versions.

Unsurprisingly, one Redditor wrote:

“The professionalism and passion of this dev team continues to astound me. Well done!!!”

The price of Bitcoin may define the whole market and the unmatchable diversity of the Ethereum ecosystem may make or break the industry but it’s really projects like Monero that bring something special to the cryptocurrency world. It is fascinating to see how Monero evolves over time. We have to say that the team has really upped its game with the integrated Ledger wallet support.

More on Ledger, here.

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The Ultimate Guide To Cryptocurrency Wallets

For many newcomers, cryptocurrency trade is easier than the handling of their digital assets. There are various ways to store your tokens and each of them has its pros and cons. In this article we will try to outline each of them, leaving it up to you to decide what’s best for you.

It may be quite confusing for newbies to go straight for a single wallet, as the internet is flooded with controversial opinions. This only adds to the otherwise stressful world of crypto finance. Just think about it for a second, one really has to have balls to survive here – the market is extremely volatile, there is uncertainty regarding the regulation of the sector, every single day there are hacker’s attacks, and somehow we have to navigate our way through the ocean waves.

When it comes to storing cryptocurrencies, there are several methods to consider – what type of wallet should you choose, how secure it is, how can you level up its security. Some of the options are far easier to use, while others require more caution and dedication. The same goes for their protection – it may vary from very weak to super strong. So, without further ado, let’s kick off this guide.

Storing your tokens in an exchange

Perhaps, keeping your cryptocurrency coins in an exchange is the most convenient way to store them. We believe so because the only thing you have to do is open an account in an exchange, purchase the digital assets you like and keep them in your account. It is that simple. Of course, you can always relocate your coins to another wallet or add new tokens in a nick of time.

This method is great especially if you are a quick trader. Let’s say that you monitor certain tokens and you want to sell them or purchase more of them when their value reaches a certain price. You are virtually able to sell off hundreds of them right on the spot because they are already on your wallet within the exchange. This is a major advantage. In contrast, if you use different wallets you have to first relocate your coins to your account in the exchange and then sell them. This consumes time and you might miss the moment.

Unfortunately, exchanges have their drawbacks as well. Since not all of them have the resources to protect their databases, exchanges are prone to hackers’ attacks. This year, Coinrail, BitGrail, Coinsecure, Bithumb, and Coincheck collectively lost over $640 million worth of cryptocurrencies due to hacks.

That being said, leaving your wallets in a centralized exchange is a bit of a gamble. We know it sounds lucrative to use in-house wallets but please for the sake of your financial balance do not leave large sums in them.

Usually, when you buy tokens via an exchange, the system automatically creates a wallet for you. Regardless of the cryptocurrency you’ve just purchased, in-house wallets can store it. This is not the case with crypto-specific wallets. We are not discussing the security of different exchanges here because we have seen even the industry giants taking a blow. However, we have to note that decentralized exchanges are much more secure compared to their centralized counterparts.

Desktop wallets

I don’t know why but every time someone mentions the phrase “desktop wallet” I come to think of Ripple (Rippex) Desktop Wallet. Perhaps because it takes less than 10 minutes to set it up and perhaps because it looks like an official wallet. Unfortunately, the service was disabled at the beginning of April. So, in other words, don’t go for Rippex as it has no support.

You understand it is impossible to cover all desktop wallets in this article just because some wallets store only one cryptocurrency. Still, if you are new to the crypto world and need some help regarding Bitcoin wallets, here are some top-notch examples:

Exodus

Exodus has been around for almost two years now. It is gaining traction for two particular reasons – it is user-friendly and it is easy to navigate. These two features are crucial to newcomers. What we also like about it is that you can store over 85 altcoins in it. This is super convenient as you don’t have to install multiple wallets on your PC or laptop.

The downside is that it is not open-source. When it comes to cryptocurrencies you have to be careful about that. The space is not regulated and if the company behind Exodus decides to screw you up, nothing will stop it. The developers can just insert a malicious code and then stage a hacker’s attack. Boom! All tokens gone. For your own safety, refrain from storing large sums in it.

Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Electrum

Well, if you like fancy looks, you are definitely going to hate Electrum. It is ugly as…Windows 95, I guess. Anyways, it is a little bit complex and you got to have some experience in the crypto world to navigate your way through it. Despite that, it is one of the most trusted open-source desktop wallets out there. Since many independent developers regularly review its code, it is virtually impossible for the bad actors to sneak a malicious script in it. However, as any other wallet that stores information on your computer, it is not to be trusted for more than a couple of bucks. Plus, it was targeted by hackers earlier this year.

Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Green Address

Green Address insists that its watch-only mode is safe yet, something you would enjoy. Via username and passwords, it allows you to check your balance and review transaction even in public networks. The idea is that you don’t need to input your private keys to do that. Green Address supports multisig and 2FA (two-factor authentication), which is never a bad idea.

The problem with desktop wallets, in general, is their access to the internet. Unless you don’t have a desktop wallet installed on a separate computer you only connect to the internet when you trade, then hackers can compromise your device. It is a piece of cake for the experienced cybercriminals to sneak into ordinary people’s laptops. Once they do that, they can easily drain your wallet.

Mobile wallets

In many cases, renowned desktop wallets have trustworthy (to a certain extent) mobile versions as well. If you are to go for a wallet strictly designed for mobile devices then you might want to try Freewallet, Airbitz, Jaxx, and Infinito Wallet. Most of them run both on iOS and Android.

Now before you head for a mobile wallet consider this. Mobile devices offer even less security compared to PCs and laptops. There are several reasons for that. First of all, your wallet might not be compromised itself but other apps could be. If you download an app infected with a malware then you can say goodbye to your cryptocurrencies. Besides, what happens when you drop your smartphone in the underground? We all know the answer.

the ultimate guide to crypto wallets

Hardware wallets

A hardware wallet could be any device that is not connected to the internet. Virtually a hard drive could be used as a cold storage, too. The problem is, not every cold storage makes for an ultra-secure cryptocurrency wallet. On the other hand, there are hardware wallets that are specifically built to keep your tokens safe.

Cold wallets do not just store your funds offline. They offer way more than just being a convenient hard drive. They have additional security layers such as PIN, passwords, and recovery seeds. Cold wallets take crypto security to a whole new level because you have to approve manually each and every transaction by pushing a physical button. You don’t press the button on the device and the transaction is never settled. Plus, even if you lose your device, there is a way to recover your funds. Check how here.

Trezor

Trezor was one of the first hardware wallets on the market. And we have to say it is still one of the community favorites. And you know the crypto community has high standards. In short, it works in temperatures from way below zero to tropical heats. Learn more about Trezor.

Ledger

The company behind these extraordinary wallets emerged in 2014 and during its short lifespan, it proved over and over again that it takes crypto and blockchain security very seriously. Both Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue are out of this world. More detailed info, here.

KeepKey

KeepKey may not be as popular as Ledger and Trezor but it is just as badass. In fact, what we really like about it is its metal body. And be metal we mean real solid metal. It integrates just perfect with other crypto applications such as Electrum and MultiBit HD as well as with its own KeepKey Chrome app. See more.

Bonus

If you really really really want to add even more to your cryptocurrency security, then you might like Crypto Key Stack. It is a stainless steel cold storage that is virtually indestructible. A full guide on how to use it properly is available right here.

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Secure Your Recovery Seeds With Crypto Key Stack

Last time we discussed how important recovery seeds really are. Earlier this year we also outlined the best practices when it comes to storing your recovery seed. Since everybody knows that the best way to store such confidential information is to put it offline, we’ve decided to show you one of the best products on the market that can help you do just that.

Of course, you can always write your seed on a piece of paper and lock it somewhere safe but water, fire, and even sunlight can destroy the paper, leaving you with empty hands. What I’m talking about is – Crypto Key Stack.

Crypto Key Stack is the perfect cold storage for your cryptocurrencies. Simply said, you get a stainless steel plate that can store up to 24-word mnemonic phrases. Ideal for backing up you hardware wallet or MetaMask. Since the team behind this revolutionary stack take security very seriously, they ask you to engrave your back up phrase by hand. When you purchase Crypto Key Stack you get one, three or ten stainless steel plates plus personal electric engraver. This way you can safely write your recovery seed at the comfort of your home, without having to worry that you might expose your backup phrase to someone else.

Why Crypto Key Stack?

Because it is manufactured out of black anodized stainless steel. Or simply said the black finish offers enhanced visibility once you engrave your precious words. Additionally, stainless steel is so durable that neither water nor fire can damage it. First of all, even fire above 2100o F (1150oC) cannot destroy it. This temperature is two times higher than the average temperature of house fires. Even if you store Crypto Key Stack in your wet basement it won’t get rusty and unusable because it’s made out of stainless steel, remember?

You can personalize your stack by purchasing additional plates (up to ten in one stack) or get plates featuring the logos of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

GET YOUR INDESTRUCTIBLE CRYPTO KEY STACK NOW!

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MyCrypto Adds Hardware Wallets Support

There are numerous reasons why people refrain from cryptocurrencies and obviously one of them is security. Hackers’ attacks happen on a daily basis and many novice traders are afraid of losing their money. What’s more, people refuse to accept that it is up to them to protect their tokens. Needless to say, leaving them in an exchange is the easiest thing. Unfortunately, it is the riskiest decision as well.

This is why experienced traders prefer to invest in a hardware wallet. However, cold wallets not always provide the smoothest user experience on planet Earth. They can often be accessed only through official browser extensions, which is sometimes a pain. The other option is to visit MyEtherWallet but hey, MyCrypto has come up with a better idea.

Hardware wallets support

MyCrypto has just added support for both Ledger and Trezor. Why am I telling you this? Because now you can connect your cold storage with the native MyCrypto app and manage your cryptocurrency portfolio. Instead of using two different browser extensions for each of your hardware wallets, you can just stick to MyCrypto. This key feature takes crypto management to a whole new level.

The cybersecurity firm Cure53 has reviewed the app update, which makes us think that it is trustworthy. The MyCrypto app will definitely change the game but pay attention that the website does not support private keys, mnemonics, and keystores anymore. This is always a wise decision, especially when it’s made by a platform pretending to make cryptocurrency protection easier and smarter.

Nevertheless, I have to say that after everything that is happening in the crypto world perhaps not everyone is going for the new MyCrypto app. With all these scams and hacks plaguing the space, one might expect the new MyCrypto features are not going viral overnight.