Bitcoin, how to improve your security, privacy and anonymity.
In this article we will share several examples of how to improve your privacy, security and anonymity when you use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The idea of this article is to promote the rights of every citizen to exercise their freedom and privacy, much more now that the authorities are more desperate in finding ways to control and manipulate all personal aspects of the common people.
A cryptocurrency like Bitcoin works with blockchain technology. Transactions are stored in a large number of nodes, which makes it almost impossible to forge a Bitcoin.
However, this does not mean that transactions are completely secure and anonymous.
Basically, you are your own bank, therefore, responsible for your security. This article offers tools and services that will improve your privacy when you surf the internet or use cryptocurrencies, and some other tips to make sure that all your activities are completely secure and anonymous.
This article offers as a guide to security, privacy and freedom of expression.
What are the security risks with a cryptocurrency?
From the moment a blockchain address is part of a transaction, the transaction and with it the address and the balance are publicly registered for transparency (that's why taxpayers, governments and blockchain analytic firms are starting to use this technology a lot to identify transactions), and if those addresses are linked to an identity, that person could become an objective. It is already speculated that the CIA uses tools to track Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
In fact, some governments have banned the trade of cryptocurrencies and others tax them badly. As the exchange of cryptocurrencies grows, governments will increase their efforts to develop tools to track transactions.
What precautions should you take for the safe and private use of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin?
Next, we will offer information and references of services that will increase your security and privacy when using the internet and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
Your Bitcoins or other address may be compromised, most of the time through your own error. Do not publish your address on social networks or through messaging programs, as it can be easily linked to your real identity.
Bitcoin addresses are not completely anonymous. Some newer currencies, like Monero or Zcash, are better. It is possible to connect a Bitcoin address to an IP and identify the individual in question.
Do not save your wallet or make transactions from your mobile phone. If absolutely necessary, make a second wallet and keep only a small amount of cryptocurrencies. Telephones are vulnerable not only to piracy but also to physical theft.
I recommend Samourai Wallet as a mobile wallet, since it allows the handling of Bitcoins, but with a focus on privacy and user autonomy. The wallet has features for transactions with some privacy, such as Stonewall, Stowaway, Whirpol, among others.
Do not make transactions through a public WiFi unless you are using a VPN.
Use a secure and different password for all your wallets. A high-quality password manager can be very useful.
Always use two factor authentication (2FA) online or exchange account.
I recommends the use of Authy as a two-factor application, it is compatible with all sites that use Google Authenticator, but much more secure and practical.
Encrypt your wallet, whether it's stored online or offline.
If possible, store your primary wallet on a system that is not connected to the Internet unless you are using it. As long as the physical security is good, it can be very useful in keeping hackers away.
One of the most recommended wallets for the anonymous and safe use of Bitcoin is Wasabi Wallet. It has Windows, macOS and Linux application. It is a Bitcoin wallet that allows you to preserve your anonymity without sacrificing any other of the advantages offered by this cryptocurrency. It is a ZeroLink compatible wallet that uses Chaumian CoinJoin and reinforces a continuous 100 anonymity set. In simple terms, Wasabi prevents blockchain analytic firms and other potential eavesdroppers from spying on your bitcoin transactions by quickly "mixing" their currencies with the resources of other users when they initiate a transaction. This makes it significantly more difficult for an observer to decipher the sender and receiver of specific payments.
Always use cash to get in and out of Bitcoin. Do not use a service that asks for your identity information, in this way, it is how governments and tax agencies connect your identity to your Bitcoin address.
For this I recommend Bisq and LocalBitcoins. Bisq is an open source program that allows you to access and be part of a decentralized P2P network. The objective of this program is that users can exchange Bitcoin for euros, other national currencies and other cryptocurrencies in a private, secure and censorship-resistant manner.
I also recommend decentralized exchanges like LedgerDex, where users can exchange their cryptocurrencies directly with other users from their private wallets and anonymously.
Obtain a program that changes your IP address with each transaction.
Have more than one wallet, keep only a small amount in your daily wallet and cover it from a main account as needed.
Always keep your VPN protection, antivirus and other programs updated, use products of good reputation.
Use a browser that focuses on privacy, security and that implements ad blocker, such as Tor Browser. Tor Browser is a free open source browser configured to work on the Tor network, where your pages are encrypted by several servers before going online, it improves your privacy and serves to avoid Internet blockages. It is a bit slower than other tools, but in addition to evading censorship it also hides the origin of your traffic.
Consider the security of your operating system. Use an operating system such as Linux to keep your computer free of viruses and malware.
elementary OS is a modern Linux operating system. It is fast, safe and has a sophisticated design that replaces Windows and macOS. It is similar to macOS in terms of design, functionality and is used by millions around the world. Linux is an open source operating system whose code can be easily read by users, but even so, it is a much safer operating system compared to other systems, it protects important files from virus and malware attacks.
If you conduct high value or security transactions, consider using a multiple signature address. In general, this is only used by companies that can provide the keys to several employees. However, it can considerably increase security.
Get encrypted email and secure messaging applications. This will ensure that all your communications are encrypted and out of reach.
Secure and encrypted communication programs such as ProtonMail and Telegram are very useful. ProtonMail is an encrypted email service, created at the CERN research center, following the revelations of the former CIA employee, Edward Snowden, about the mass surveillance practices of US security agencies. Its servers are located in Switzerland, outside the jurisdiction of the United States and the European Union.
Why should you use a VPN when you work with cryptocurrencies and browse the internet?
The previous point is exactly why you should do all your cryptocurrency transactions through a VPN.
● A VPN encrypts your data when you make transactions, which makes interception difficult.
● phishing attacks
● Malware and viruses.
● A VPN hides your IP address and prevents address tracking, which means that the location of your computer will not be related to your Bitcoin address. By changing your IP address, you can also bypass government restrictions and exchange freely.
● You can even configure the VPN to protect only the cryptocurrency activities.
● Be sure to choose a VPN that does not store user records, which can potentially match your traffic.
● Free VPNs are often financed by selling their users data. The paid VPNs are quite affordable for the average user, and more reliable and secure.
I recomend Surfshark and NordVPN for a private and fast VPN service. They maintain a strict policy of not keeping records and data of its users, and for its price, is one of the most affordable on the market with external audit. They both offer applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
Finally, always practice good discipline
Do not click on email links and always check the addresses of the web pages that you are visiting, save the links in your browser.
The tools mentioned in this article will increase your security and privacy when you handle cryptocurrencies and browse the Internet.
Remember, when you use Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, you are your own bank. You invest in an ICO and your money is stolen, it's your responsibility ... you send a transaction to the wrong address and you lose your money, it's your fault. A hacker enters your system and steals your crypto, there is no entity or phone number where you can ask for help. It is your responsibility!
The great promise of the blockchain is its security and transparency, and the ability to be anonymous and visible. However, it is also a propitious terrain for hackers and thieves, especially as it prevails and ordinary people start using cryptocurrencies to manage their transactions.
We can go into more detail about implementations that can offer greater anonymity and privacy, the idea is to offer a practical and easy guide for the general public.
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