To gain access to your cryptocurrency, someone does not need to use phishing or malware. Some thieves resort to old-fashioned mugging.
Crypto users are increasingly concerned about becoming victims of crypto mugging, a type of violent theft in which attackers physically take a victim’s smartphone and access their crypto wallet.
While there haven’t been many cases of this happening, it’s important to be prepared in case you ever find yourself in this situation so that you can stay safe and avoid having your valuables taken from you.
What Exactly Is Crypto Mugging?
Consider being forced to hand over your savings at gunpoint. Or perhaps you’re in a train station when you feel a jab, and before you know it, your expensive smartphone has vanished!
Crypto mugging is a crime in which someone physically assaults a victim in order to steal their smartphone and coins. The rise in cryptocurrency valuation has resulted in an increase in crypto mugging.
This could be similar to any other type of mugging you’ve heard about. The primary distinction is how this crime is committed.
What Is the Process of Crypto Mugging?
Crypto muggers profile their potential victims by observing what they use, such as expensive body adornment, cars, and fashion bling-bling.
In other words, just like any other mugging, the attacker will need to scout you first. This can take several forms and involves closely monitoring you in various locations. They jump on you, collect your phone, and steal your cryptocurrency from your cryptocurrency wallet once they find a quiet place where no one appears to care.
In other cases, they can entice you into alleyways to trade illegal goods, according to The Guardian. Other extreme examples, such as house burgling in the case of American technology entrepreneur Zaryn Dentzel, have been covered by news outlets such as Business Insider.
How Can You Keep From Becoming a Victim?
While crypto mugging is irreversible, there are some preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Maintain the secrecy of your cryptocurrency investment.
It is easy to become engrossed in a conversation with friends in public about your cryptocurrency portfolio. You never know who is listening in on your conversations with malicious intent.
As a result, it’s best not to discuss your investments in public, as this could put you at risk of crypto mugging.
Do not store large amounts of cryptocurrency in your wallet.
While you may want to put all of your eggs in one basket, you must also consider extreme cases like this. You should not keep a large amount of cryptocurrency in a single wallet.
You can distribute your cryptocurrencies across multiple wallets. Muggers will only be able to access a portion of your wealth if you do this.
Make use of multi-signature wallets.
Hardware wallets trezor and ledger on a white metal background
Aside from interface crypto wallet apps, hardware crypto wallets can also help you protect your cryptocurrencies. Cold wallets or multi-signature wallets are the terms used to describe them. To process transactions, these wallets require two or more private keys.
This means that before you can make any transactions from your wallet, other crypto private keys (such as your friend’s or spouse’s or anyone else you trust not to steal your money) must confirm it. Trezor and Coldcard hardware wallets provide access to multi-sig wallets. As a result, there is no need to be concerned about the crypto mugging.
Make Your Phone a Private Space
Another defense against crypto mugging is to create a private space on your smartphone. This method is simple because you keep your crypto app in a phone vault that only you can access with a password.
A large number of mobile applications provide access to private phone space. Examples include Huawei’s Private Space, App Hider, and others.
Any Suspicious Movements Should Be Reported
If you notice any suspicious movements around you, never hesitate to report them to the nearest police station. Do not attempt to confront the suspect physically, as they may be armed and dangerous.
Here are some additional security strategies to consider:
- Never walk through dark alleyways.
- When you are uncomfortable with the people around you, do not be afraid to call 911.
- Don’t hang out with criminals.
- At night, stroll through illuminated streets.
- Don’t flaunt your earnings.
- Set up the 2FA authenticator factor for your cryptocurrency apps.
- Keep your private keys hidden.
What Should You Do If You Are Mugged?
When you realize you’ve been mugged, there are a few things you should do right away.
Transfer the Remaining Cryptocurrency to a Different Account
If you still have any remaining cryptocurrencies, the safest thing to do right away is to transfer them to another wallet. Delete the compromised wallet and replace it with another.
Change any passwords you previously used for your exchange account, as well as the email address, and if you suspect your phone has been compromised, change it as well.
Inform the police about the crime.
Even if your cryptocurrencies are irreversible following a successful mugging, that does not mean they are untraceable, especially if they are large in value.
Over the years, we have seen increased adoption of blockchain technology to achieve a decentralized system in which each person (represented by their private key) is independent and unique. However, there have been cases of stolen cryptos being recovered, as documented by the US Department of Justice.
Report cases of crypto mugging. Who knows? You might get justice.
Contact Customer Support.
Making a quick call to your crypto company’s customer support can sometimes yield positive results. These businesses may be able to assist you in freezing your funds.
Don’t Be the Next Crypto Mugging Victim
There will always be instances of cryptocurrency mugging. There’s a good chance one was going on somewhere in the world while you were reading this. The most important thing to remember is that being security conscious is the first and simplest step to avoiding crypto mugging.
Keep your account secure, use a 2FA authenticator, and keep things as simple as possible.