Cybersecurity and NFTs: How to Prevent the Most Common Security Risks

Now that we all have an online presence, no one is really safe from cybercrime. And as technology continues to evolve, scammers and online thieves are constantly updating their methods and looking into new targets.
Since NFTs are gaining traction and reaching a wider audience, they are becoming increasingly tempting for cybercriminals —especially considering the significant amount of money that has been and continues to be invested in NFTs.
Let’s deep-dive into the most common security risks involving NFTs and explore some tips to avoid them.

NFT Cybersecurity Risks

Holders and people looking to buy an NFT can face several cybersecurity risks:
  1. Counterfeit NFTs. Fraudsters with little knowledge of technology can easily take any online asset that is not theirs (like a picture or a song) and sell it on NFT marketplaces.
  2. Fake marketplaces. Nowadays, anyone can create a website and pretend to be a new legitimate marketplace —or even an existing one.
  3. Account takeover. Regardless of their security measures, some NFT marketplaces have reported breaches, and users usually have their NFTs or credit card information stolen in these cases.
  4. Private key theft. NFTs are controlled by a private key (a secret alphanumeric string that is similar to a password and is used in cryptography). Regardless of whether NFT holders keep their keys or trust a marketplace to keep them, attackers can steal a private key if they manage to compromise the system that holds it. 
  5. Fake airdrops and impersonation. Sometimes, fraudsters organize fake airdrops or impersonate famous people in the community to get their hands on the private keys of holders —especially beginners.
  6. Malware and phishing. Private keys and wallets are not exempt from malware. Also, some fraudsters design elaborate phishing campaigns on social media to trick people into giving away their private keys.

Tips to Keep Your NFTs Safe

Here are some actionable steps you can take to protect your NFTs from greedy cybercriminals:
  • Store your NFTs in a non-custodial wallet. By storing your NFTs and digital assets in a non-custodial wallet, you're in charge of your private keys. This offers your greater security and protects you from phishing attacks.
  • Keep your private keys private. This might seem obvious, but don’t share your private keys with anyone —not even with someone famous or seemingly reputable in the community.
  • Buy and sell your NFTs on trustworthy marketplaces. Make sure you trade only on established NFT marketplaces with a strong reputation in the community.
  • Make informed decisions. Before purchasing a new NFT, read the project’s white paper and roadmap, visit its social media and check reviews and testimonials online. That way, you can avoid buying a fake token.
  • Be careful what you install on your devices. Cybercriminals often use fake browser extensions or spyware to get their hands on your private keys, so try to avoid downloading unverified programs on your devices.

Owning NFTs involves some cybersecurity risks that holders need to look out for. But if you take the appropriate measures and look after your private keys, you can ensure your NFTs are protected from online criminals and scammers.