Cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) influencers tweet about losing their assets to hackers all too often. It can be intimidating to see the most proficient users falling for devious phishing schemes.
It seems like a majority of crypto investors have a MetaMask, and they should learn how to keep it as safe as possible to avoid losing their entire portfolio. There is always a chance that a smart hacker can get around any safety measures, but it's extremely valuable to learn a few simple steps to keep your wallet as secure as possible.
Is MetaMask a safe crypto wallet? Learn more now with Benzinga’s guide.
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is the most popular cryptocurrency wallet on the market. It’s a software wallet available as a browser extension on Chrome or an app on iOS and Android.
It became so popular that it became a staple of almost every decentralized finance (DeFi) user on Ethereum. DeFi is a blossoming ecosystem of decentralized applications that offer many different financial services like lending, borrowing and staking for interest.
Almost every single DeFi platform supports MetaMask. The wallet is incredibly easy to use once you have it set up. You can connect it to trusted DeFi platforms easily by clicking Connect Wallet, selecting MetaMask and approving it in the extension.
Then you can use your funds in the wallet on the site as you please. Even though many are now implementing support for other major brands, MetaMask is still king.
Is MetaMask Safe?
MetaMask has considerable security features that make it a reasonably safe software wallet. First of all, it never stores your wallet information on its own servers. It stores it on the internet, but MetaMask never has access to it but it’s possible a skilled hacker could find the encrypted file on your side.
The greatest technical vulnerability of MetaMask wallets that we know of is also what makes it so convenient. Every cryptocurrency wallet has a public key, which is publicly available to anyone and used to send you cryptos, and a private key. The private key should be kept a secret from the outside world because it’s what gives you access to the funds in the wallet.
MetaMask stores your private key online in your browser’s data cache so you can access your wallet easily. It is encrypted and can only be decrypted with your password, but it's much easier to brute-force guess most passwords than 64-character private keys.
MetaMask wallets are most often compromised through phishing and malware attacks and not direct cyberattacks. There are a few basic steps that can help keep your cryptos secure, but they can’t be perfect.
Here are the basic foundations of security:
- Use a secure password that is difficult to guess
- Never type your seed phrase into anything other than the real Metamask
- Never export your private key while screen sharing with anyone
- Do not connect with suspicious websites
If you are still worried about losing your cryptos to hacks, you might want to invest in a hardware wallet. Even MetaMask itself recommends investors with larger wallets store the bulk of their portfolio in a hardware wallet.
Where to Invest in Crypto
If you are reading this, you probably already have some crypto to put in your MetaMask wallet. However, you might want to know about some of the best trading platforms that offer Ethereum, Bitcoin and tons of other cryptos.
Coinbase, eToro, Webull, Robinhood and Voyager are all fantastic options. Before you can trade, you will have to verify your account. This generally requires you to provide your address, Social Security number and a picture of your driver’s license.
Each of these platforms supports ACH deposits so you can get right to trading as soon as you are verified. Once you have purchased the cryptos you want, you can withdraw them to your MetaMask.
Be careful with which ones you withdraw because you can only withdraw cryptos on Ethereum. If you try to withdraw Bitcoin, XRP or other non-Ethereum cryptos, they will be lost forever.
MetaMask itself has never had a major hack. It likely wouldn’t do the hackers any good anyway, because wallet data is stored locally for the users and never in MetaMask’s servers. Phishing attacks are extremely common, and even experienced Ethereum users get caught in them every once in a while.
One scary trend that has popped up recently is using Google Ads to promote a fake DeFi website higher in the search results than the actual platform. After you click on the fake site and try to connect your MetaMask, it pops up with a fake MetaMask window asking for your seed phrase. If you type it in, they will access your account and drain it as soon as possible.
Other attackers try to phish you, and send you to a website where you would accept a transaction that seems legitimate, but would actually drain your account. The general rule is to not trust anyone’s random direct messages in Discord or Twitter, especially when they ask you to go to a website or give them your wallet info.
If you only use your MetaMask in trusted legitimate sites and keep your seed phrase safe, you will more than likely never be hacked.
Best Hardware Wallet to Use With MetaMask
If you want another layer of security to give you peace of mind, a hardware wallet is perfect for you.
Best Hardware Wallet: Ledger
Ledger is the leading hardware wallet in the world by a long shot and for good reason. It has 2 fantastic models: the Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X. The Nano S is the simpler version that is everything you need to keep your cryptos safe.
The Nano X adds a larger touchscreen and Bluetooth functionality for easy on-the-go use. Both models have the same certified secure chip that randomly generates, encrypts and stores your private keys. The private keys are never on the internet, making the wallet nearly invulnerable to cyberattacks.
If you are already a MetaMask user, a Ledger wallet is likely the perfect option for you. It has seamless integration with MetaMask that lets you connect to websites easily with the browser extension.
You will need to confirm every transaction with the Ledger device. It gives you the ease of the software wallet and the security of a Ledger. Ledgers support more than 1,000 different cryptos including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, XRP and more.
Cryptocurrency Market Outlook
The cryptocurrency market is still in a bit of a precarious position at the time of writing. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum seem to be teetering on the edge of either a massive pump or a devastating correction. Many crypto investors are still bullish, but are cautious and fear a possible dump.
With a few exceptions, most altcoins are still far below recent levels too and could fall further if Ethereum and Bitcoin lose their steam. It’s impossible to know which direction the market will move.
Is MetaMask Safe?
If you are extremely careful with how you use your MetaMask, your wallet will likely be safe. However, many of these phishing attacks can be incredibly persuasive and it's possible for even experts to fall for them.
MetaMask will likely be safe enough for many investors, but if you are desperate for more security, a Ledger can make your wallet significantly more secure.
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