What Does “Hacking” Your Crypto Actually Mean?

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When it comes to digital theft, there is one aspect which is frequently misunderstood and miscommunicated. Despite popular belief, a thief isn’t stealing an individual’s asset itself (SSN, phone number, money); rather, he or she is stealing the key to acquiring that SSN, phone number, and/or money, at least initially. The key unlocks the means by which to obtain that information. When it comes to cryptocurrency theft, the same logic applies. They’re Not Stealing Your Crypto, They’re Stealing Your Cryptographic Key Whether we are talking Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, or any other virtual currency, the most important thing to remember is that they don’t physically exist. A virtual currency is nothing more than a digital ledger (think checkbook ledger or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) known as a blockchain. Similar to a checkbook ledger or other spreadsheet, the blockchain stores and manages an ever-growing list of addresses and the number of units of a currency there are at those specific addresses. What you as an owner of cryptocurrency actually hold is a cryptographic key, not the unit of currency (BTC, LTC, ETC, etc.) itself, because it doesn’t actually exist. The key allows a holder to unlock the address where that unit is located. The value that attracts thieves and attackers is the open ledger itself, which you have access to with your cryptographic key. The issue when it comes to cryptotheft is that attackers are coming after your key, and nothing more. As for the methods they use to acquire that key — well, that’s what you need to protect yourself…
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