That’s a cry we’ve been hearing far too frequently these days!
Let’s take Tim for example. A fastidious crypto investor, he uses a hardware wallet and keeps his keys and passphrase under lock and key. Tim was very sure that he’d done everything necessary to secure his digital assets — until he got mugged and forced to give his attackers the key to his cryptocurrency.
Well, sadly Tim’s not alone!
- In January 2018, a Russian blogger who ‘boasted’ about his crypto wealth was beaten and robbed of $425k.
- In September 2018, a group of individuals were accused of beating up and torturing their “friend” to steal his crypto.
- In December 2018, A South African man was kidnapped by a group of five people in Soweto who drugged and tortured him to get access to his cryptocurrencies.
There are many more instances of people being kidnapped, drugged, and repeatedly beaten until they give the attackers their private keys!
Widely known as the $5 wrench attack, this is a very primitive, but effective way to get to a victim’s private keys. Something as mundane as a wrench could be used to repeatedly assault the victims until they give up the keys to their cryptocurrency!
Oftentimes, the attackers are friends and people known to the victim. They know that it’s easier to force their victims into revealing their keys than prying it out of a hardware wallet!
People are always the weakest link in a security system!
What can you do to prevent this?
Fortunately, you can do a few things to ensure that your digital assets remain safe and secure.
- Never disclose how much crypto you own. If nobody knows that you own a fair amount of crypto, you’re not going to be a potential target.
- Use multisig technology to prevent your coins from being transferred using just one private key. The other key could be safe with a person you trust and/or stored in a safety deposit box.
- Use a Duress code. It’s like a secret signal to alert other key holders notifying them that you have been compromised. It could be a phrase or a group of words that can be used in any conversation without arousing suspicion. The other key holders will then know that they shouldn’t reveal their keys or that you are in distress.
- Carry a small amount of cryptocurrency in a side account that you can simply use to placate the attacker. It’s important to keep your coins in separate places. You can open different accounts and use different pass-phrases.
There’s nothing better than the Cobo Vault for something like this.
It’s the most secure hardware wallet on the market today, and comes with the option of unlimited hidden vaults — something like multiple wallets, where you hand over the key to the ones with the least amount of crypto, if attacked. Not a bad idea at all.
Remember, you are the only one responsible for the safety of your cryptocurrency!