Whether you’re just beginning to invest in digital assets, or you’ve spent the last decade building up a bitcoin (BTC) stash, the need to assess the security of your holdings is ever present. The surest way to protect your digital assets is to personally store your private keys on something that can’t easily be hacked because it doesn’t connect to the internet: a hardware wallet.
In practice, there’s more to a hardware wallet than physical separation from the web. A private key can’t just be kept on a USB drive. What’s required is a dedicated device that has cryptographic features to ensure the security of the seed, which is a specifically ordered list of words that stores all the information needed to recover a wallet if it’s lost or stolen.
Back in 2013, Trezor One became the first commercial hardware wallet initially aimed at a relatively small group of security-savvy crypto consumers. Crypto has now moved mainstream, and so has Trezor’s product roadmap. One major advance has been the launch of Trezor Suite, a powerful and intuitive desktop and web interface that brings heightened security, usability and privacy to crypto management.
Trezor Suite’s security features fit your needs
Trezor has always married its methods to the philosophy of bitcoin. That means taking a fully open-source approach to security that assumes everything is hackable. Doing this helps Trezor to stay at least two steps ahead of bad actors. An engaged community of ethical hackers, for example, continuously helps Trezor to look for security flaws. There are parallels here with academia, where solid research is based on a rigorous system of peer-reviewed evidence.
Many of Trezor’s key security features are the outcome of this approach. To give some examples:
- The big challenge for owners of crypto wallets has always been how to protect their seed. Adding security layers over the usual seed-plus-PIN solution; Trezor protects the seed with a passphrase; a feature that enables the user to create hidden wallets so that any physical attack on the device will not expose its contents. On top of that, the Model T has the option of splitting the seed via the Shamir Backup feature; which divides seed phrases across multiple locations.
- Whenever a Trezor device is plugged into a computer; Trezor’s desktop application, Trezor Suite, kicks in as an extra security layer between the user’s wallet and the internet. This setup is much safer than browser-based applications; because when you have a trusted app downloaded on your computer, you’ll have better protection against third-party phishing sites.
- When users plug their Trezor into a computer to make a transaction; the device’s screen displays crucial security-related information, such as the other party’s receiving address. This feature stops phishers and scammers who attempt to mislead people into sending their funds through imposter copycat websites. Never put your PIN, seed or passphrase anywhere if you haven’t seen a prompt on your Trezor’s display!
Take care of your privacy now. You’ll thank us later!
Even if it’s not important to you right now, privacy is an emerging issue for crypto owners. Events such as the truck drivers’ protest in Canada serve as a stark reminder of the need for privacy, security and transactional freedom.
A true hardware wallet allows users to access their wallets and transact with nearly complete privacy. Trezor’s solution offers some key privacy features:
- The desktop application that interfaces with the physical device has a Tor switch. This gives users instant access to Tor’s impenetrable overlay network; increasing the privacy level of online communications such as digital asset transactions.
- Trezor Suite allows the user to easily turn on Discreet Mode; which protects users against unwanted over-the-shoulder peeking at balances and other sensitive information held in the wallet.
- For advanced users, there is an option to connect to the user’s own full node via an Electrum server.
Usability improves security
All too often, robust security features come at the cost of usability. But a properly designed hardware wallet should be uncompromising, offering both security and usability. To this end, Trezor provides an all-in-one experience facilitated by fellow SatoshiLabs company Invity.io:
- Direct Buy allows users to easily buy coins and take them into direct custody without needing to perform separate transactions. This makes crypto purchases easier to complete and enhances security by reducing the steps between purchase and storage; meaning less online exposure and less risk. Moreover, the Buy interface compares a wide variety of exchange rates and payment method options; enabling worldwide users to fine-tune their direct-to-custody crypto purchase choices.
- A new development in Trezor’s desktop suite is the integration of Swan Bitcoin’s automated recurring buy service; which allows users to set up regular automated bitcoin purchases that are sent directly to the custody of their hardware wallet. This feature will be of particular interest to astute investors whose bitcoin strategy is based on dollar-cost averaging.
As crypto moves further toward the mainstream, it’s becoming less likely that the average bitcoin owner will know about hardware wallets. Yet these are the best way for any wallet owner to personally protect their balances. A proper hardware wallet is more than a private key held on a USB stick that doesn’t even have a security screen. It’s a device that has security, usability and privacy baked into its design. That’s the approach Trezor has been pioneering since 2013.