With cryptocurrencies gaining popularity and the general public’s attention being drawn to the markets, there is a greater need to ensure the security of the currencies you are buying.
As the general public begins to start buying up some cryptocurrencies there will be a lot more vulnerable people being left open to cyber theft because of the lack of proper security measures.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is already a very complicated subject for many folks and added layers of security and encryption can be way over their heads.
Luckily Trezor created a simple and safe solution for the average consumer. Pioneered shortly after Bitcoin, the Trezor One is the solution to protecting your bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from cyber attacks.
Today we will take a look at what the Trezor devices are and how they can help you protect yourself from online threats to your cryptocurrencies.
What is Trezor
Trezor is a Bitcoin Hardware wallet that was designed and launched in the EU in August of 2014.
First-of-its-kind technology, the Trezor Hardware wallet offers a secure “Cold Storage” for all your cryptocurrency and also comes with the convenience of a hot wallet that allows you to spend crypto easily, and securely. Trezor started with only one model of hardware wallet but now offers the Model T as a more capable and functional updated model.
The original Trezor hardware wallet is called the “Trezor One”. The most famous and popular hardware wallet, it was the original after all.
It stood the test of time and is still an incredibly popular choice for hardware wallets.
The updated model is the “Trezor Model T” and it comes in at triple the cost but more functionality. The Model T also supports more cryptocurrencies than its smaller counterpart the Trezor One.
Anyone looking to store Cardano (ADA) is going to have to look towards the model T as certain coins are incompatible with the older model.
Trezor Model T
The Model T and the Trezor One also come with several other very useful features. This includes the Universal 2nd Factor as the Model T serves as a hardware token.
This means that you can use these devices to access accounts requiring two-factor authentication such as when logging into crypto exchanges and bank accounts which is a nice little bonus wrapped up in such a tiny package.
What is a Hardware Wallet?
A hardware wallet is a single-purpose computer that stores users’ private keys. These private keys are critical pieces of information used to authorized outgoing transactions on the blockchain network.
The main purpose behind hardware wallets is to provide full isolation between the private keys and your easy to hack computer or smartphone. It’s the most powerful layer of security for your cryptocurrency in the age where nothing online is safe.
Just like when you store your cash in your wallet to keep it safe and in one place, the hardware wallet is that equivalent.
Benefits of Cold Storage
As mentioned, very few things are safe from being hacked nowadays. Removing your cryptocurrency from internet access and putting it in “cold storage” makes it impossible for anyone but you to have access to it.
This removes the threat of losing your coins to hacking and ensures your financial independence is secure and free from attack.
The hardware wallet is the most powerful security tool for your cryptocurrency, and can even be used without worry on a malware-infected device.
A popular fear is losing the device and no longer having access to the coins as we have heard in so many sad stories of Bitcoin hardware lockouts and losses.
This is not the case with Trezor as upon setup a 12 to 24-word recovery seed is generated.
Ensuring you will have access to your coins, assuming you kept the seed words safe. If the device is lost, stolen, or broken, the seed words can help you recover the wallet using another Trezor or alternate wallet.
Additionally, a PIN code is required upon setup which is prompted when making any purchases. This one is serious as each incorrect guess increases the waiting time between guesses by a power of 2. This means it would take over 15 years for 30 guesses, so no pressure.
How to Use Trezor
When first starting up the Trezor you are prompted to go to https://trezor.io/start to begin your setup. Trezor explains three ways in which you can get started and explain the Pin and Recovery Seed and ask for your email address.
It is important to take the time to understand the security features of the wallet and we suggest taking your time setting it up, it can be a little stressful.
It also should go without saying that understanding how everything works is necessary to protecting your assets.
For security and tamper-proof reasons, Trezor is shipped without any firmware installed. This ensures that your firmware will be the most up-to-date version at the time of setup.
The website will perform a security check to ensure the authenticity of the firmware and you can proceed by pressing yes on your Trezzor. A confirmation “fingerprint” is displayed on your computer and Trezor, make sure they match and press continue.
Once the success message is displayed you can move on to the initial setup and reconnect the device as prompted.
Once the firmware is installed, Trezor will take you to a new page to set up your PIN. This part can be a little confusing for some folks as it certainly threw me for a loop for a moment. When setting up the PIN there will be numbers from 1-9 arranged in a grid.
The numbers on your Trezsor device will correlate to the dotted boxes on the web page. Every time you are prompted for the PIN the Trezor device will shuffle around the numbers, making your mouse pointer input different each time.
Trezor requests a 6 digit pin for added security and requires you to input your PIN twice for setup, all standard procedures for account setups.
Recovery Seed Words
The Trezor comes with a sheet of paper with 24 empty spaces on it. Upon the first setup, you will be given a string of seed words from 12 to 24 words long and prompted to write it down in this paper booklet.
The Trezor will display the first word to write down and when ready move along and click next until all the words are written down. Note that the number of words can vary from 12-24 and isn’t a fixed number.
Once you are done making that list of words, sit down and write it out again. Making a copy and storing it in another safer location can save your money in case of an emergency such as a house fire or flooding.
Always be sure that the location is secure because with access to your recovery seed words somebody could potentially find their way into your funds and steal them.
Additionally, don’t ever make a digital copy of your recovery seed words, digital files and photos are much more susceptible to hacking and are a security threat, avoid doing this whenever possible.
Once you have written down your recovery seed, Trezor will again verify to make sure you have written them down correctly and that’s it! You are all set up.
Wallet User Interface
The first option you get once set up is to choose a background for your Trazor device. This is just purely an aesthetic choice but it’s a nice touch. Confirm the background on your Trezor and then we can move on to the useful features such as sending and receiving cryptocurrency.
On the main page, clicking on the dropdown menu that is set to Bitcoin by default will show you a list of all the coins the Trezor device will support.
The Trezor website has a great list breaking down which coins are compatible with which device. The list will also let you know which platforms are available for sending and receiving certain cryptocurrencies.
To receive Bitcoin which we have selected in the dropdown menu, you will click on the “Recieve” tab and show your full wallet address.
You will be prompted to check if this is the correct address on your Trezsor device and press continue. Once the transaction is complete the “Transactions” list will repopulate and your balance will be updated.
To send Bitcoin, make sure you have Bitcoin selected in the dropdown menu and click on the “Send” Tab. Paste in your address you wish to send money to and fill in the amount. For the fee option, you can choose options based on urgency and price.
The faster the transaction the higher the fee. So if the transaction is not urgent try and stick to lower fee rates. Confirm sending the amount of bitcoin to your address and press continue on your Trezor device and the money is sent.
Password Manager and U2F
The Trezor devices come with a built-in Password Manager to help you keep track of all your important accounts. Storing passwords here is the safest place you can put them and you never have to worry about looking for where u wrote it down.
This coupled with the ability to use the devices for two-factor authentication to log in to important accounts makes them an all-in-one digital security solution.
Command Line Interface
The Trezor devices can also be controlled using a command-line interface. This is similar to running the command prompt window in Microsoft Windows, it bypasses software and runs commands directly on the operating system.
This is a useful feature for anyone who is interested in exactly what commands are being executed directly to the Trezor to ensure everything is running according to plan and nothing was tampered with.
Comparison to other Hardware Wallets
The Trezor One and Ledger Nano S are often compared however the Nano S is more of a secure ship whereas the Trezor is a mini-computer.
The Ledger Nano X is generally seen as a more capable hardware wallet to the Trezor One. The Ledger Nano X comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a larger screen interface. The improved features are to be expected with a more recent design and a heftier price tag from the Nano X.
KeepKey is often considered as choice for hardware wallets as it is cheaper than the Trezor. This unfortunately is a mistake as the KeepKey devices are clones of the Trezor One code and firmware.
This would be ok for security had keepKey kept up with the firmware updates. Now that the firmware is obsolete the devices are basically useless. I would not recommend going with a hardware wallet that doesn’t continuously focus on improving and updating its security features.
Recent Security Breach
If you are a follower of any crypto news you may have heard about how Kraken Research labs cracked into the Trezor hardware wallets and hacked the wallets using voltage regulation.
I want to be clear and mention that while yes, the Kraken research team did breach the device, it would take the loss of your device, a trained professional, proper equipment, and cracking the device open to possibly be able to extract anything out of the Trezor device.
What I mean is that as long as you are in safe possession of your device and you are aware of its whereabouts, there is no security risk to you whatsoever.
Additional Software Wallets
In the case of the cryptocurrency you own not being supported by either the Trezor One or Model T, you may have to resort to using Software Wallets as an alternative means of protecting yourself.
Trezor is actually compatible with a number of these software wallets including, Electrum, Mycelium, Blockstream Green and MyTREZOR.com.
Previous versions of the Trezor required a chrome plug-in to connect however, this is now done through the Trezor Bridge which is a new communication tool developed for connecting your Trezor with your internet browser.
To download the latest version of Trezor Bridge go https://wallet.trezor.io/#/bridge. Select your correct operating system and follow as prompted. This program will help you safely connect your Trezor device to the browser and software wallets.
The Trezor hardware wallet is one of the most useful and powerful tools you will need when dealing with the cryptocurrency world.
It will help protect you from hacking attempts and help you organize all your currencies using one master key. Both Trezor devices are a great choice for ensuring the safety of your coins and providing you peace of mind.
I do have to remind everyone to take a close look at which coins are available to store on which device as certain coins such as Cardano (ADA) cannot be stored on the Trezor One.
The Trezor Model T is more compatible with a larger amount of coins and is a safer bet when dealing with more obscure altcoins. The model T’s interface is also much cleaner and easier to read and use due to the added clarity and size of the LCD screen.
The added benefit of being able to use the Trezor devices for Two Factor authentication gives added utility to the devices and is one less thing to have to keep track of.
On the note of keeping track of things, the built-in Password Manager is very useful for storing all your important passwords to critical information. As long your Trezor is with you, you don’t have to worry about where you wrote down your important passwords, they are safe inside the Trezor device.
At the end of the day, if you own cryptocurrency and don’t keep that currency safely tucked away in a hardware wallet, you are exposing that money to greater risk than it needs to be.
Products such as the Trezors devices are great solutions for security and peace of mind, as they do their best to make accessing your funds a simple task while maintaining the highest levels of security.