Relatively few people in the world have good cybersecurity habits and the right tools in place to protect their devices. They believe that a decent antivirus and the default protection that their native OS offers is enough to keep them out of harm’s way, and for the most part, it’s true. That’s because hackers usually don’t target people specifically like they target businesses. They usually cast a wide net, hoping they catch some users. But if they start targeting you specifically, there are a lot of ways they might initiate a cyberattack, many of which are capable of bypassing traditional security.
Android Users, Bitcoin, And Cybersecurity
If you trade and keep your crypto on your android device (in your hot wallet), there are two main types of Android-based malware you need to know about.
Malware That Steals Crypto
This is more the “run-of-the-mill” concept of hacking, where the target of the malware is simply to steal your precious bitcoin. But make no mistake, the aim might be typical, but the technology used to steal bitcoin out of android trading apps, wallets, or when bitcoin is being transferred from one to another (in transit) can be quite sophisticated.
In 2019, malware specifically targeted 32 cryptocurrency apps, including some of the largest players in the game.
There are a few things you need to understand here:
- Most cryptocurrency trading apps, platforms like Immediate-Edge App and android wallets are generally very safe.
- Even if the malware can’t specifically target a trading app or a wallet, they might easily be able to target your device.
- Social engineering attacks and screen-sharing malware can help malicious entities steal your credentials, making it easier for them to access your bitcoin.
The best way to stay protected is most likely picking up some good security habits and free cybersecurity apps like a password manager. You can opt for 2FA to ensure no one can access your android trading app or wallet, even if they’ve managed to get their hands on your credentials. You should also avoid visiting suspicious websites or downloading files that you don’t really know about.
Malware That Mines Crypto
This one is unique to bitcoin and another crypto. There is some malware that targets your android device and uses its “computing power,” i.e., processor, RAM, and GPU (if it has a dedicated one) to mine cryptocurrencies. Your device might be working itself to death doing a hacker’s bidding, and you wouldn’t even know about it.
Because it won’t steal or change anything. You won’t find things missing, all your crypto assets might be safe, and even your android apps might behave the same way they did before the attack. The true strength of this malware is that it hides in plain sight.
The bad news for you is that it shortens the life-span of your device and brutally downgrades its performance potential. That’s how most android-device owners actually find out that their device has been infected by such malware. It might get hot even if you are not using it, the apps would hang, and the phone might keep restarting. One such malware is dubbed “HiddenMiner.”
The good news is that thanks to Google’s Safe Browsing, which extends to Android as well, it would be challenging for malware to make its way to your device, not unless you invite it in by making some common cybersecurity mistakes related to android. This includes using an app by directly downloading its APK file because the original app is not supported by Google Playstore anymore. Or opening a phishing email link. So as an added precaution, you can try one of the free Android antiviruses (that specializes in malware protection) to keep your Bitcoin safe.