The Saudi Crown Prince allegedly hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ iPhone in May 2018. Two U.N. investors brought the news to light this week. It rocked the entire global community. Prince Mohammad bin Salman may have been able to compromise Bezos’ smartphone WhatsApp text.
That something so innocuous as a text could be a cyber exploit stunned the world. High-level U.S. government officials are now on alert about their cybersecurity.
But they’re not the only ones who should be worried.
If Jeff Bezos Is Vulnerable, Everyone Is
The Associated Press said Friday there’s one big takeaway from this latest geopolitical cyber-drama. Anyone can be a target:
“You may not think you’re in the same league as Jeff Bezos when it comes to being a hacking target. Probably not, but you — and just about anyone else, potentially including senior U.S. government figures — could still be vulnerable to an attack.”
The AP reports the disconcerting results of a U.N.-commissioned digital forensics report. Bezos’ iPhone X was compromised by an MP4 file containing malicious code. Investigators say they have “medium to high confidence” this is the case. It’s a fresh reminder to earlier adopters of the cryptocurrency industry’s financial products. Hot wallets expose crypto to cyberattacks. But cold storage crypto hardware wallets mitigate the risk.
What’s the difference between hot and cold wallets? Hot wallets contain the private keys to spend crypto on an Internet-connected device (like Jeff Bezos’ or your smartphone). But cold storage wallets are not, and have never been connected to the Internet. They can’t be exploited the way even the Amazon CEO’s iPhone recently might have been. So they provide an additional layer of security for digital assets.
Cold Wallets Keep Crypto Safer From Hackers
In their essence, cold wallets are hardware devices that contain a user’s cryptocurrency holdings. The main difference is that they aren’t connected to the Internet and, hence, they are not exposed to vulnerabilities in this regard. These also include paper wallets.
Of course, they come with their own set of risks. Paper wallets need to be kept in a quality fireproof safe to avoid a loss to physical theft or in an unexpected fire.
Hardware wallets, like the Ledger Nano, provide an easy, affordable solution to store larger amounts of crypto in a device that isn’t as exposed as an Internet-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone. The recent news that an Apple trojan has infected a number of macOS devices underscores the need for security along with Bezos’ iPhone hack.
Hot wallets are ideal for keeping small amounts of crypto liquid for trading and spending. But for long-term savings of larger amounts of cryptocurrency, coins are safer from hacking in cold storage. Most people don’t have the profile Jeff Bezos does, but this event is something for cryptocurrency users to keep in mind. Especially those who are out front with their interest in crypto online.
Featured image courtesy of The Verge