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Seven ways to protect your bitcoins

Bitcoin is one of the most secure currencies ever created. But it's still within reach of thieves. Bitcoins that have been stolen are counted at nearly $1 billion. There are not a few or small attacks that it has suffered and always due to human failures at large points of concentration of bitcoins.

Not only can having funds managed by third parties take the risk. Here are seven ways to protect bitcoins.

Manage the keys themselves.

You have to be very cautious (and initially mistrust) of the online services where you can store bitcoins. Analyzing the service well and seeing its reputation are some recommendations.

Keep the software up to date.

When using that program as wallet and client to save private keys, and in addition, operate with them, you should keep up to date and free of malware of any kind.

If you use a web wallet it may be infected or your browser may have a malicious extension. Using an unstable program may have lowered a compromised program or update or have a corrupt application on your phone.

Encrypt private keys.

Private keys, once created, are saved in plain text on the device, in an internal file or database. But the same wallets usually have a process for encrypting the private key with a password or "PIN". In other words, the private key is modified based on that password or PIN no longer useful on its own.

We recommend that you use a complex password to encrypt your keys to better protect yourself. And if the wallet used only gives you the option to choose a private key, it is advisable to choose a complicated text.

Use dual authentication.

Today 99% of passwords are stolen through phishing processes with malware or by snorting the network, not by brute force. If the preference is to deposit bitcoins in some web service, at a minimum, it is suggested that a second level of security be used. This would prevent someone with the private key from being able to access the account, as they would need a second unique key provided at the same time through an alternative route. This method is safe but not foolproof, although it makes it difficult for third parties to enter.

But watch out! This is of no use if what they corrupt is the server of the service where the bitcoins have been deposited. That's why a good rule in Bitcoin is to delegate bitcoins to as fewer sites as possible and to the smallest amount possible.

Back up.

If you use a wallet that is not hosted on an online service, it is convenient to make different backups stored in different places. And then encrypt them with other services.

Copies can be saved to cloud storage services, pendrives, SD cards, etc.

Use multi-signature addresses.

They are easy to manage and useful in multiple use cases, for example to securely store your bitcoins. These are a second type of addresses, multi-signature addresses.

While a simple address has a private key associated with it, multiple private keys can be associated with multi-signature addresses, that is, multiple keys are required to sign a transaction and for it to be performed.

There are fully configurable multisign addresses that, for example, are created with three private keys, but only require two signing to authorize a Bitcoin transaction. This is what is known an address 2 of 3 (3 keys, 2 are required).

Keep them off the grid.

It is a complex process but it keeps bitcoins safe as they are stored in a place disconnected from the internet.

For them you can use 3 types of storages: Paper wallets, brain wallets (memorize the private key) and hardware (physical device from which the keys never come).

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