Among the first advice crypto investors are given when buying Bitcoin or altcoins, is to immediately get a hardware wallet and move any newly bought coins to cold storage for safe-keeping. But unfortunately for the crypto community and the potential safety of their digital assets, top hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger has suffered a critical customer database leak, exposing the personal details and even addresses of a couple hundred thousand users.
Here’s how to find out if your personal details are at included, and what steps – if any – you can take to protect yourself from the risk associated with this leak.
Crypto Cold Storage Wallet Maker Ledger Customer Database Leaked By Hackers
“Not your keys, not your Bitcoin.” It’s among the first phrases you’re taught by vets when you’re a newcomer to crypto. Other wise words include, “never invest more than you can afford to lose,” “buy the dip,” and “hold on for dear life.”
But nothing is more important than the safety and security of digital assets, so the primary advice to heed is picking up a hardware wallet, and moving any bought assets held on a centralized exchange to offline cold storage for safe, long-term keeping.
Under normal circumstances, keeping crypto in cold storage should help investors sleep at night knowing their assets are protected from hackers by being secured offline. But what happens when the physical cryptographic seed and phrase become the target of criminals, or worse?
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Unfortunately, this is an unexpected risk that more than 270,000 crypto users and Ledger customers now face. Hackers leaked the full details of a database intrusion where Ledger customer data was stolen, that includes first and last name, address, phone number, and more.
Hackers now know the full name, address, phone number, and the fact that the person has a strong chance of owning crypto, thanks to the mishandling of personal information by Ledger.
Worse yet, Ledger claimed initially that only 9500 users were affected, which prompted hackers to expose the severity of the situation. The fear across the market that followed might have contributed to Bitcoin’s recent correction and fall from local highs.
Here’s how to find out if your information was compromised, and what to do if this is the case.
COULD FUD SURROUNDING THE LEDGER DATABASE LEAK CAUSE BITCOIN TO CORRECT? | SOURCE: BTCUSD ON TRADINGVIEW.COM
Bitcoin Holders Beware: What To Do If Your Personal Information Was Leaked?
Reddit users have put together a set of text files that can be accessed here that users can check to see if they are affected. Switching to “Tree View” and downloading the text files and searching them using CTRL+F or COMMAND+F for any related details can provide either peace of mind or a reason to be proactive about protecting oneself.
The leak includes first name, last name, phone number, address, and email address – this information alone could allow savvy hackers to access just about any account associated with these details.
In terms of crypto and Bitcoin security, however, the biggest risk is associated with the phone number. Using the other related details, hackers can more easily attempt a SIM-swap hack, hoping to access and intercept sensitive SMS-based two-factor authentication codes.
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Users fearful of exposure related to their phone numbers have little choice but to change their telephone numbers, which could be an enormous inconvenience. Immediately document any unknown contacts trying to reach the exposed phone number, in case it is required as evidence for a future crime.
The most severe risk associated with this leak is the fact that these crypto users, who were just looking for a safe way to store their Bitcoin, have now put their homes and potentially their families at risk.
Because a home address is exposed, storing a crypto or Bitcoin wallet seed phrase at the address poses a potentially deadly risk. Intruders could theoretically break and enter a home in search of a seed phrase. It is a frightening and morbid scenario to imagine, but the is also the risk of physical force or harm in an attempt to extract a remembered seed phrase from the wallet owner.
The only true way to alleviate the relation to the address is to move completely, but ensuring that there’s no paper trail following you to your new address is also important. Such a situation isn’t realistic, however.
Users who aren’t impacted or those who want to avoid a situation like this in the future should consider using a pseudonym for crypto or Bitcoin-related purchases and to have any items such as cold storage wallets send to a P.O. Box to avoid the risk associated with personal home addresses or places of work.
Personal opsec is critical to navigating the cryptocurrency industry carefully. The more steps you can take to protect your privacy, the better off any digital assets owned will be. But unfortunately and ironically for Ledger users who were following Bitcoin ownership best practices, they are the ones at the most risk.
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