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Safest crypto exchanges: How to assess platform security

03:38, 12 July 2022

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What You Need to Know

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Prices on an electronic exchange
Users need to asses risks when using crypto exchanges - photo Shutterstock

It is best to be cautious about prevalent scams and fraud when it comes to investing with a crypto exchange, an online platform where users buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies. 

Educate yourself on the exchanges, as reputation is the most valuable asset, beware of the security level, and fees and pairs. 

With a combined monthly trading volume of the largest crypto-exchanges exceeding hundreds of billions US dollars, exchanges become a target for cybercriminals, according to Kaspersky.

Hackers are interested in the exchanges as they are centralized systems with a single point of failure, the anti-virus software company added.

The greatest crypto exchange theft took place in 2018, where hackers managed to break into Coincheck, and steal crypto worth $534m. The exchange offers a wide range of cryptos from BTC, ETH to including The Sandbox’s SAND token.

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ETH to US dollar

What are the security risks of crypto exchanges?

A common form of hack is infiltrating private keys to the exchange’s hot (online) wallet, hence, hot wallets can be compromised while transferring funds for withdrawals. 

Meanwhile, it is difficult to verify whether cold (offline) wallet solutions are 100% offline as there is a lack of visibility on internal security processes and adherence to strict management protocols.

Crypto exchange’s web browser, desktop or mobile application presents itself as another form of risk when the user accesses it as they have some sort of vulnerable spots. 

Hackers will attack the link between the exchange and user using malware, phishing, keyloggers, DDoS attacks and more. 

BTC/USD

19,506.95 Price
-0.160% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0500%
Short position overnight fee 0.0140%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 60.00

DOGE/USD

0.06 Price
+0.580% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0500%
Short position overnight fee 0.0140%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0008755

BTS/BTC

0.00 Price
-1.820% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0500%
Short position overnight fee 0.0140%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.00000002

XRP/USD

0.49 Price
+1.740% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0500%
Short position overnight fee 0.0140%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.00600

Hackers use impersonation 

Social engineering is one way to get sensitive data by impersonating a trusted data source. 

It is done when the attacker sends a file infected with malware to the crypto exchange worker with relevant info and the name of a person with whom he previously communicated. 

Once the file is opened, the worker’s device will be affected by malware.

A social engineering campaign was waged against Coinbase in the first half of 2021 in an attempt to steal from around 6,000 of its accounts. Coinbase offers cryptos such as ADA, SOL, and DOGE.

DOGE to US dollar

Green flags for crypto exchange platforms 

A general online measure such as the two-factor authentication where you’ll have to verify your identity using an additional method other than just your username and password.

Some exchanges have insurance policies to protect the digital currencies users from hacking or fraud. 

For example, Coinbase, which has an insurance policy, protects its account holders if its reserves of any amount up to $255m were hacked and taken. 

A crypto exchange would also be more appealing if it has an anti-fraud department, as it shows users and shareholders that the exchange is serious about combatting fraudsters and thieves, which deters such acts. Of course, education is the most powerful weapon to equip yourself. 

What You Need to Know

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