Cybersecurity and Crypto in Times of Pandemic
During 2020, we understood the scope of activities that can be carried out entirely through the web. An unprecedented number of people of all ages had to accelerate their learning curve after finding themselves communicating, working, buying, and selling every day online to fight the punches thrown by a year that felt 56 months long.
But how can we be sure we are safe living our lives online? Nowadays, most people only use passwords, and we may say not very good ones, to secure their online activity, despite the growing consensus that their use needs to be reduced or even completely eliminated. The problem with using only passwords to safeguard your data is that any attacker can crack them by using brute force software to try every possible combination. But guessing is not the only threat when it comes to passwords. There is also a common practice among attackers called phishing, which consists in introducing a fake service –malware– to make the user enter their password to steal it.
Once you know that these and other dangers await you whenever you log in, it’s easy to understand why literacy in cybersecurity is critical these days. Now more than ever, we need to cope with the diversification of online financial and bureaucratic procedures available and the correspondent increment in cyberattacks, identity thefts and financial fraud. Knowing the risks involved when handling most of your finances online is necessary, but taking active measures and getting acquainted with the resources available to protect yourself better will put your mind at ease.
A brief overview of 2-factor authentication
One method of fighting cyber insecurity –don’t think all its versions are bulletproof, though– is using a 2-factor authentication app (2FA). Two-factor authentication has been around for quite a while, but if you’ve only just acquired your techy moves during the lockdown, you may not be totally up to date when it comes to cyber-attack protection. 2FA is a method that requires verifying the user’s identity by using a second method, other than your password, before logging in. The second factor could be a code sent through SMS, a Time-based One-time Password, or a biometric hardware check. Even though using SMS based 2FA is better than not using it at all, going for the SMS method is less secure and has its beaching possibilities.
Some of the 2FA apps available
The app Authy is safer than using an SMS authentication method since it generates secure TOTPs in your device without using any network, so you can even use it while offline or in airplane mode. The app has the option of making backups to encrypt your data if you lose your phone, and it supports different digital platforms, social media, and digital wallets.
Google authenticator is one of the older 2FA apps available and is also TOTP based. You can use it to enhance your Google account’s security but it is also compatible with other websites like Amazon, Facebook, Github and Hotmail.
Besides 2FA apps, many sites support the use of security keys as a complementary form of identification. A security key is a hardware device the size of a flash drive, or even smaller in the case of nano keys, that connects to your device through a USB port or Bluetooth. When you press the key button, your browser issues a challenge with the domain of the site you need to enter. The key then signs that challenge proving your identity to the site, which grants you access after receiving it.
We’ve already established that passwords are unreliable and incompatible with modern online life. That being said, we could agree that the next step in authentication would be to terminate the use of passwords altogether. With that utopia in mind, the Fido Alliance created FIDO2 (Fast Identity Online), their latest open authentication specifications that integrate the W3C standard, WebAuthn.
Unlike its predecessors, FIDO2 doesn’t work as a second factor for a password since its purpose is to introduce hardware-based, completely passwordless authentications.
This authentication standard reduces the data burden laid on the user shedding them from the weakness of passwords by replacing them with a higher level of hardware public/private-key credentials. You can unlock your credentials using the method that better suits your needs; it could be camera face recognition, a fingerprint reader, a mobile device, or a hardware FIDO security key.
Even though the FIDO2 authentication system is unknown for most users, it is available in various devices. All Android 7+ phones, Chrome OS and iOS14 devices can function as a FIDO2 security key, so can macOS with biometric sensors and PCs with Windows 10 that have Windows Hello set up.
Diving into cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin games
While spending more time at home, you might have stumbled into crypto for the first time. Maybe you used to gamble frequently and found yourself unable to go to your favorite casino. Hopefully, you’ve discovered that there is a world of Bitcoin Games available for you to bet from the comfort of your own home, using cryptocurrencies. However, one thing is knowing you can play and bet online, and another thing is learning how to maneuver crypto and its risks.
Cryptocurrency, or crypto, is digital money that is not backed up by any commodity, such as gold, meaning money that is not printed or issued by any government (like fiat currencies).
Because crypto transactions are carried out anonymously on a decentralized technology-based system, it cannot be reimbursed or traced if it’s stolen. This means that, whenever operating with crypto, you need to be extremely vigilant of the security measures available in the sites you play or make transactions using crypto.
Now that we have gone through some of the current unavoidable issues concerning cybersecurity, you may have a different approach when you go online in the future. Maybe you’d like to do a little research on Bitcoin Casinos’ and the security options they offer before deciding to play on one.
On that note, there is a Bitcoin Casino that integrated the most cutting-edge technology to their 2FA options: BitKong has been around for a while, always at the avant-garde in terms of security, plus it supports a variety of cryptocurrencies and transactions.
To register, you need to enter your email address. After that, you will receive a six-digit code you need to enter to log in for the first time. Once you’ve created your account –and before making a deposit– it is advisable to protect your personal information, and your money, by activating a 2FA method. The game supports a variety of TOTP or hardware-based keys –Yubikey, Trezor, or any FIDO2 compatible device– or you can go for the 2FA apps, Authy or Google Authenticator.
Now that you know more about the tools available to safeguard your data online, you might feel more confident widening the spectrum of activities you carry on online. So, embrace every nook and cranny of the cyber world. Just remember to enable 2FA!