Hardware wallets are the best form of crypto wallets because they are more secure than hot wallets.
Because they are cold wallets, they store crypto assets offline mostly, and are only connected online when there’s a transaction to complete.
This makes them safe, because attackers can hardly see them online. Hardware wallets are ideal for crypto whales who only buy and hold crypto assets long term.
With such huge long-term investment, it is advisable to use a hardware wallet because fat hot wallets can’t remain anonymous for long.
As safe as hardware wallets are though, unless they are used correctly, the user can get into serious trouble.
Just like hot wallets, they have certain characteristics in common and if not properly taken care of can result in losses. The following are some important tips on how to use the wallet safely.
Buy From the Right Source
Hardware wallets – unlike hot or software wallets – are not free, you have to pay for them. That isn’t the important thing though, the important thing is to buy them from the right sources.
This is important because buying a hardware wallet from a random source can be a trap.
For example, a vendor may put up a wallet for sale online, but the wallet could be compromised. The private key may have been retrieved by the vendor which gives them access to the wallet.after selling it to you.
This is why it is advisable to buy a hardware wallet only from accredited dealers, such as the official website of the manufacturer.
You can also buy from other sources, but they should be known marketplaces where you’re sure of getting quality.
Keep Firmware Updated
Hardware wallets work with software that you can use to connect to them, and this software needs to be updated regularly. For example, Ledger wallets have Ledger Live, an app you can use to interact with the hardware.
The company releases updates all the time to ensure that the security keeps improving and ahead of hackers and other bad actors.
If you don’t keep updating, you may end up in trouble as the wallet becomes vulnerable to attacks.
Secure Your Recovery Phrase
The recovery phrase is a 12 or 24-letter phrase you generate when you’re setting up your wallet.
Whatever happens to your wallet, you can use the recovery phrase to get it back with the funds and everything intact. Anyone who can access the recovery phrase can also use it to access the wallet.
It is therefore important to keep it securely and not let anyone have access to it because they can steal all your funds if they really want to.
It isn’t advisable to store it online or in your email as these are hackable. Instead, write it down on a piece of paper and then store it in a secure place where only you can find it.
Always Use a Strong PIN or Password
Hardware wallets like hot wallets also use PINs and passwords. If you’re setting one up, don’t use a weak password such as your name or date of birth which someone who knows you can easily guess.
Instead, use random words and numbers that are hard for anyone to even imagine but easy for you to remember.
It is important to use something you can’t forget though, because you may lose your wallet if you forget your access PIN or password.
Use Protected Devices
It is important to use protected devices when you access your hardware wallet.
Any device that doesn’t have antivirus protection shouldn’t be used because there are many ways that hackers can monitor you if the device isn’t protected from malware, ransomware etc.
Use a strong antivirus on your devices and where possible, use it offline and only connect to the internet when you have to. That way, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of suffering an attack.