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US English

Safest crypto exchanges: How to assess platform security

By Carine Lee

03:38, 12 July 2022

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. 


3,163.84 Price
-6.330% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 6.00


0.62 Price
-1.840% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168


0.12 Price
-5.020% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0012872


65,093.90 Price
-1.520% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00

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. 

Markets in this article

Bitcoin / USD
65093.90 USD
-1005.45 -1.520%
Ethereum / USD
3163.84 USD
-213.66 -6.330%
0.31457 USD
-0.01976 -6.090%
Cardano / USD
0.39638 USD
-0.02128 -5.130%
DogeCoin / USD
0.1248494 USD
-0.0065634 -5.020%

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Related reading

The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
Capital Com is an execution-only service provider. The material provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be understood as investment advice. Any opinion that may be provided on this page does not constitute a recommendation by Capital Com or its agents and has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote investment research independence. While the information in this communication, or on which this communication is based, has been obtained from sources that believes to be reliable and accurate, it has not undergone independent verification. No representation or warranty, whether expressed or implied, is made as to the accuracy or completeness of any information obtained from third parties. If you rely on the information on this page, then you do so entirely at your own risk.

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