The world of cryptocurrency trading and investment continues to be perceived by newcomers as a minefield. Hacks and fraud are still fairly common phenomenon that affects both individuals and large companies. In our digital age it is important to take seriously the various precautions. And this need shows an example of one of the BBC journalists.

The crooks stole cryptocurrency

The journalist of the column of business technology at BBC Monty Manford decided to share their own story about the loss of savings in bitcoin ETH due to seemingly innocuous mistakes. He published an article, written in a clearly contemptuous tone. Could hardly expect anything else, because he had a purse stole 25 thousand pounds, which is equivalent to 30 thousand dollars.

The Manford started the story with cryptosphere and ironically remembered how I read about the crypt only during lunch breaks at the workplace. He invested in cryptocurrencies in mid-2017 and somehow, for these purposes, chose the Ethereum. Then he really seemed that way to ensure a comfortable retirement. In fact the choice can be explained by expectations that the second largest cryptocurrency will repeat the dynamics of Bitcoin on the chart.

Calling his experience “horrifying”, the journalist says that the crypto currency exchange prefer online wallet for fear of break-ins and leaks of sensitive data. The choice of the purse is also quite justified, because MyEtherWallet is considered one of the most important and reliable purses ethers (ETH). While he kept both a public and a private key, which in the cryptocurrency environment is also often called public and private keys.

To access the cryptocurrencies you must have the private key. It’s something like a secret password that belongs only to you. Losing it, you will forever lose access to the money. At the same time, if someone gets hold of the hacker or attacker, then he quickly transfer your cryptocurrency on your own wallet. To return them you will never be able.

Monty Manford already knew something about crypto, but still screwed up. The journalist printed the key, but it took a very stupid decision to store a copy in the drafts Gmail, that at any moment you can copy and paste it during the transaction. He explained it is banal laziness — it is much easier to copy and paste the key rather than typing a long combination of numbers and letters by hand. In the end, laziness failed him, because his Inbox was hacked, and the contents were picked up and used.

If you exaggerate, storing the private key on the mail server type Gmail — akin to leaving the key in the ignition open car on a dark street. The Manford realized all this later, when I was trying to regain access to wallet after the unfortunate theft.

Objectively speaking, store cryptocurrency even on the exchange would be much safer. Many of them now have enough liquidity and safety of funds to compensate its users the loss in the case of hacking or system error. Of course, if you don’t care procedures such as KYC is a policy of “know your customer”, in which the majority of kryptomere asking user to verify the account by uploading ID card.

The money was never found

The injured journalist, the BBC decided not to pull all the brakes and began to investigate. He found out that the money from his wallet in the end settled on the largest crypto currency exchange Binance, which is quite often used to launder stolen cryptocurrency. It should be noted that the exchange is not particularly facilitated the investigation and were active only when the network began to appear reports and statistics about crime in cryptosphere. Desperate Manford asked for help to legal in America, a group of bounty hunters CipherBlade. These guys are working with the FBI to track down criminals, and not what you might think.

This allowed to get a little more information about the theft, but the chance to return the stolen ethers are still small. Speculated that the mailbox access could be obtained through social engineering or phishing. Perhaps the computer Manford could be infected with a special malicious scripts that were read, any manipulation of the keyboard and sent the records to the hackers.

In any case, the journalist definitely decided for myself that I would never return to cryptosphere. Moreover, he called cryptocurrency “the Bazaar in the Wild West, where criminals can just take with impunity your bag of gold”.

From this story it is possible to make different conclusions. But the main lesson in how important it is to keep the private key safe. In addition, you need to foresee all the consequences if you plan to store information about their cryptocurrency at third-party services.