Ethereum is a cryptocurrency that has been making waves in the financial industry. But it’s not just about money. It’s also a technology, meaning you can use Ethereum to build other things like decentralized apps and organizations. The potential for Ethereum-based projects to change the world (and make money) is vast, but before diving into development, you’ll need an Ethereum wallet. If you’re curious about how to keep your Wallet safe, read on.
Not every Wallet is created equal. Before you get started, do some research to find the best one for your needs. Here are a few tips that will guide your choice for an Ethereum wallet:
- Your choice of storage location (online or offline)
- The storage device (computer, phone, hardware wallet, etc.)
- The ease of access (some wallets require you to download the entire Ethereum blockchain before you can start using them)
Once you’ve decided on a storage method and device for your Wallet, it’s time to set up an account. Your personal information is never stored in the etherwall; instead, all data is kept locally in the browser/app with which it was created.
Etherwall includes two options:
Create a new wallet with its wizard or import an existing one with Advanced Options:
Import Existing Wallet: If this is the first foray into digital currency, choose to Create New Wallet, but if not, use Advanced Options.
Import Existing Wallet: Since most users are likely transferring funds from another source, it’s best to use Advanced Options.
Keep your private key secret
When creating a wallet, you’ll be shown your private key. Keep this information secret. Anyone who by any means gets access to your private key can take control of your funds. The only way around that is to keep multiple copies of your keys in different places (which isn’t recommended). If you lose both the crucial and backup, you cannot recover the account or its assets. So make sure both are stored somewhere safe where they won’t get damaged or misplaced. Furthermore, don’t store backups on devices connected to the Internet; hackers may gain access while you’re not looking. Paper wallets work well because they aren’t connected electronically except when created/imported with the device on which they are stored.
Etherwall includes Secret Store, a built-in option that lets you encrypt the file containing your keys with a password of choice. You can access it by clicking Advanced Options > Secret Store. Since all data is locally encrypted in the browser/app, only someone who knows your password will decrypt it. Even if hackers somehow manage to get inside, they won’t find anything unless they have this information.
Another way to keep track of multiple wallets at once is through Deterministic Hierarchical Wallets (we’ll call them HD Wallets for short). They generate an unlimited number of new wallet addresses from one.
Protect your private key
The best way to safeguard your resources is by encrypting the file containing all of your wallet information. If you choose Secret Store during setup, that process will happen automatically, but if not, you can encrypt it at any time through Advanced Options > Encrypt Wallet.
Decryption requires a password which only you know. Anyone who has access to this information can take control of your account and steal whatever funds are inside (see above). Make sure both copies of the password are kept in different places. One should be written down on paper and placed somewhere safe, like a safety deposit box. At the same time, another copy should be stored physically separate from the device where your Etherwall interface resides. According to John McAfee: “There is nothing more important than protecting yourself in cyberspace. If you happened to drop your Wallet in the mall and someone stole all of the money out of it, that would be a catastrophe; but if you had taken those same $100 bills and stuffed them into your shoe, there wouldn’t have been any real damage done. My advice is to encrypt everything with multiple passwords, keep paper copies locked away securely (like old-fashioned bank vaults), and avoid keeping digital information on devices connected directly to the Internet.”
The safest way to protect against this risk is by using cold storage wallets like Trezor or Ledger Nano S . They store data offline, so hackers can’t get inside even if they obtain access through other means.
Before sending any funds to your Wallet, make sure Advanced Options > Encrypt Wallet is turned on. If not, don’t proceed until it is enabled. Otherwise, the person receiving the funds will be able to do whatever they want with them (i.e., take control of your account).
Backup your Wallet
As mentioned above, keeping a backup of all the information regarding an account is extremely important. If you delete or lose data from a computer and don’t have a copy somewhere else (e.g., physical file), there’s no way to recover it. Etherwall automatically creates backups every time you send assets to another account or receive them. You can find your files stored in the exact location as your wallet file (.json) on Windows, Linux, and macOS devices; Android users should look for it under MyEtherWallet > Backup.
Even though Etherwall encrypts data during backup automatically, you may want to do one yourself to be extra safe. If so, go Advanced Options > Encrypt Wallet, choose a password of choice (it’s important that only you know this.), click OK, then copy/paste this information into an email addressed to yourself (or at least another place not connected electronically). It’ll help if something happens as your computer crashes without warning because even after resetting everything back up again, all of your funds will be gone entirely (unless you have a backup). There’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Another way to keep your wallet info safe is by using Google Drive or Dropbox. If anything happens, log into the account where the file resides and download/copy another copy of this information somewhere else, such as iCloud or an external hard drive.
Watch for suspicious activity
Some people are likely to trick you into revealing your private keys, like direct messaging scammers on Twitter asking if they can send coins or even email phishing campaigns. They’ll use whatever means necessary (e.g., creating fake Etherwall websites that look real) to get what they want, but all anyone needs are one mistake, and it’s game over. If anyone sends you a message via social media claiming to be from the official Etherwall team, sending special promotions for wallets, do not click on it no matter how authentic it looks. The action could infect your computer with malware designed specifically to steal funds. The same goes for emails: never open unless it’s coming from a trusted source.
While it’s impossible to know what future attacks will look like, everyone must be aware of the most common tactics used today. If you have any queries or issues with your Wallet (e.g., funds aren’t showing up), always refer to the official Etherwall website and GitHub repository for information. This way, there won’t be as much confusion between scammers trying to steal from users who don’t understand how things work and those legitimately looking for help. Make sure anyone you talk to on social media has an “Etherwall Approved” badge next to their name because anything else should raise some serious red flags.
Remember: no one ever has access to your private key except you. If someone asks for it, they’re a scammer, and there should be no hesitation in reporting them.
On the same note, never give out this information over chat applications like Telegram because these are often employed by criminals who will then try stealing funds from unsuspecting users. Don’t fall into their trap if they mention any special promotion or offer that seems too good to be true. The official Etherwall team members have their own usernames/handles, easily checked against an up-to-date list on GitHub or other social media platforms. If anyone tries messaging you with anything other than what’s listed here, make sure to report them immediately.
Watch for fake wallets
It’s not a secret that there are many imitation/fake Etherwall apps in both the Google Play Store and Apple iOS App Store. It’s not just about someone trying to steal your login information; if you use one, chances are they’ll be stealing all of it (including funds) since these versions aren’t official at all. This is why it’s important to always download wallet applications directly from trusted sources like the official website or even GitHub. If anything seems off, check out other user reviews online before downloading because this will give a better idea of whether or not an app can be trusted.
If you happen to see any websites claiming to offer wallets with unique features such as email support, offline transaction signing, and even the ability to claim funds from smart contracts, make sure they’re coming from a trusted source.
Always check for an SSL certificate on websites with wallets because this ensures you’re using a secure connection when entering login details or other sensitive information, like private keys. For those running into issues downloading an application or want additional help: visit Github, where several resources are available, including step-by-step guides.
Keeping your crypto wallet safe is vital and is the key to sanity in financial management.
- Ethereum for Beginners
- How Does Ethereum Work?
- Where Do I Store my Ethereum?
- Bitcoin Wallet Safety Information
- Bitcoin Mobile Wallets: Managing Crypto on the Go