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As the cryptocurrency world grows and gains wider acceptance among retail investors, it has drawn a lot of attention from a variety of parties.
On one side, more and more individuals are now interested in the cryptocurrency market, and we can see that they have begun to appreciate the advantages of blockchain technology. At the same time, a variety of institutional investors have also changed their stances and are now more supportive of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate medium of exchange.
However, along with all this positive attention, the crypto world has also provided a lucrative opportunity to scammers, with phishing scams becoming quite common across different cryptocurrency exchanges.
In this article, we discuss what phishing scams are, as well as the steps that you can take to prevent being affected by such attacks.
What is a Phishing Attack?
A phishing attack is a form of social engineering attack that aims to obtain sensitive information about your accounts, such as your private keys, username, passwords, and other details about your wallet.
According to CheckPoint research, crypto phishing attacks that use Google Ads to position themselves on top of searches could steal over $500,000 in a matter of days. In another instance, a hacker stole $55 million from bZx - all by catching just one developer in the scam.
While phishing attacks try to obtain information about all your accounts, this article will focus on protecting your crypto assets from the attacks.
Different Types of Attacks
Users often fall victim to phishing attacks through a variety of methods employed by scammers, such as:
➢ The use of email spoofing
➢ The creation of a fake website
➢ Sending instant messages with a fake link
➢ Social websites with fake links to exchanges and your wallet
➢ Chat with a fake support team
➢ Wi-fi phishing attacks designed to obtain information about your cryptocurrency wallet
Can Phishing be Completely Stopped?
A lot of research has been conducted into whether a digital company can actually be secure to the point wherein phishing is impossible - however, the overall consensus is that phishing attacks cannot be completely stopped, but rather prevented by users themselves.
Therefore, it is up to you as the user to ensure that your crypto wallets are secure and that you are safe from scams.
Why Is Complete Immunity Impossible?
There are several reasons why making a site or a crypto wallet fully immune from phishing is impossible, and the largest among these is that the form of attack used is constantly changing.
For example, as email providers sought to prevent users from receiving scam emails by creating a good spam blocker, attackers just improved the quality of their emails to bypass such spam filters.
Some attacks can bypass security measures and appear completely legitimate. They also target users who are more likely to click on unauthorized domain links on the web, thereby adding to the risk.
What this basically means is that the onus to reduce phishing lies on the user of cryptocurrency exchanges, and that they should focus on improving their personal security as an optimal way of preventing such security breaches.
While exchanges can boost their security measures to ensure that the data of users is protected and no breaches occur, phishing is more likely to target users than it is to target digital companies, since the likelihood of them falling for the scam is much higher.
How Does KuCoin Protect its Users from Phishing Attacks?
Luckily, when you trade through the KuCoin cryptocurrency exchange, there are multiple ways to prevent phishing.
Official Media Verification
Whenever you get contacted by social media accounts or emails providing you with a link that you should use to login, you can click here to verify whether this actually belongs to KuCoin or is simply a scam link.
Bookmark KuCoin Official Site
Every time you log into your account, we recommend double-checking that you are visiting the correct KuCoin website - https://www.kucoin.com. You should bookmark it right away. Check the URL address. It should start with "https://."
You can also check the Site Certificate to see whether a website is safe to visit. If you are using Google Chrome, you can click on the security status in the left part of the web address (a lock indicates that the website is secure). If you are using a different browser, please look at how to view the Site Certificate in your browser’s settings.
Anti-phishing Safety Phrase
In addition, KuCoin offers a security service of Anti-phishing Safety Phrase. In order to avoid phishing emails and phishing websites, it's highly advisable to set a security anti-phishing safety phrase (such as a motto, etc.) on your KuCoin account. That way, when you log into the website or receive an email, it will display in the email from KuCoin or the login window. If the safety phrase is not shown or incorrect, it means that you are on a phishing site or have received a phishing email, then please do not proceed any further.
These tools can only help with some cases, and the users must do their due diligence to protect themselves from attacks.
Other Tips to Avoid a Phishing Attack
With attackers becoming smarter and more advanced with how they carry out such attacks, it is important for you to know exactly how you can prevent yourself from becoming a target. Some tips and advice that you must definitely follow while accessing your cryptocurrency online have been discussed below.
Tip #1: Identify and Avoid Fake Ads in Search Engine
When typing ‘KuCoin’ into a search engine (i.e., Google) or heading to any link sent to you from an external source or website, make sure to double-check if the URL is legitimate. Exercise extreme caution when clicking on Google Ads, and make sure that you check the URL is legitimate as phishing sites have been known to place fake advertisements.
Tip #2: Create Strong Passwords
One of the most fundamental ways in which you can keep your wallet safe from malicious hackers is to create and use strong passwords for all your crypto-related accounts and wallets. This will prevent hackers from using brute force attacks to try and guess your password so that they can steal your money.
Whenever you create an account on a cryptocurrency exchange (or a wallet of any kind) in order to trade, make sure that your password and code are not something that can be easily guessed.
A recent study shows that more than 50% of users recycle their passwords across different accounts, which is a weak security measure stand makes it easier for scammers to gain access to your details, and subsequently your wallet.
A strong and secure password or code usually has over 10 characters, with a combination of letters, numbers, and special symbols. Most password generators on the Internet can easily provide you with such passwords that will keep your data secure and ensure a high level of security on your wallet address.
Tip #3: Use a Password Manager
When you decide to use a variety of complex private keys and passwords to keep your cryptocurrency accounts secure, it might not be easy to remember them all. This is where software such as password managers come into play.
By using a password manager, you can ensure that you never have to remember the credentials for your wallet, while still maintaining a high level of security. This will prevent malicious scammers from being able to steal your cryptocurrencies.
Tip #4: Using Autofill to Prevent Phishing
An additional advantage is that since most password managers have Autofill options to enter your credentials whenever you wish to sign in, they can help you spot fake websites with a page that may have been designed to look like your crypto exchange.
Therefore, since your manager will not Autofill your credentials on such sites, you could spot such schemes and be safe.
Tip #5: Enabling Two-Factor Authentication
At the same time, another important measure that you should take is to enable two-factor authentication on your account, so as to add another layer of security to protect your data and your digital assets.
This will ensure that no one can access your account or withdraw funds from your crypto wallet without entering a code sent to your phone or any other device of your choosing.
Doing this will require the phishing hackers to have access to your phone even if they somehow gain access to your key and other data.
Tip #6: Question Everything
Lastly, an important way to ensure that you do not fall victim to such scams is to simply question everything. Here's what you can pay attention to:
As an example, if you get a mail telling you that your account has been locked, make sure that it is from the official email address of your crypto exchange.
Similarly, before clicking on any links to a page that you might receive via the site or through social media, make sure that they are legitimate.
Providing Your Code and Login Details
The same also applies to providing your login details on any website. Usually, people who fall victim to phishing do not check to see if the website to which they provide their data is legitimate or not, which leads to them losing money.
Additionally, make sure to use a secure and trustworthy email service provider, and if you use a self-built email server, be sure to enable DKIM, DMARC and SPF.
Anti-Phishing Tips - Walkthrough
Here are some tips for when you receive communication from your exchange, whether through email or through their social media:
➢ Check whether you have been contacted by the official account or email.
➢ Make sure that the URL for the page you are led to is exactly the same as your exchange's, and not something similar.
➢ Ensure that the communication style and language are consistent with previous messages you may have received from the company and that it does not resemble messages from scammers and attackers.
➢ Check whether your browser remembers visiting this website in the past. If you are led to your exchange's web page, then your browser will recognize the company.
➢ Do not send any cryptocurrencies to users you do not recognize. No exchange will ever contact you to say that your account has been blocked and can be fixed in exchange for money, if you get an email like this, It is probably sent by malicious attackers who wish to steal your funds by accessing your wallets.
➢ Install good antivirus software on your device to ensure that you can easily detect any email which contains malware or leads to sites that could put your PC at risk by introducing malware.
Phishing can easily be prevented through a variety of security steps being taken by the user, such as the use of stronger passwords, 2-factor authentication, a web manager, and a healthy dose of skepticism whenever asked to provide details through a suspicious domain address.
Research shows that while phishing cannot be completely prevented by either the user or the exchange, a variety of strong security measures can ensure that you reduce their chances as much as possible, keeping yourself and your cryptocurrencies safe in this digital world.
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