The realm of DeFi is ever-dynamic, and safeguarding your crypto assets is paramount. As decentralized platforms like MetaMask revolutionize how we interact with the blockchain, ensuring the security of your assets becomes a pressing concern.
The threats of intrusion grow exponentially by the day, and MetaMask is not exempted from these threats. It is estimated that over 30 million people keep their crypto assets in MetaMask wallet, making it a major target for hackers. Hence, recognizing the red flags of a compromised MetaMask is paramount knowledge.
This write-up will take us through all the signs of a hack to your MetaMask wallet, including the hardly noticeable and the most glaring signs. From unexpected transactions to altered recovery information, understanding these cues is vital in promptly detecting a security breach.
Also, the article will provide actionable insights on what to do if you suspect foul play. From disconnecting your device from the internet to contacting MetaMask support and revoking unauthorized connections, this comprehensive guide equips you with the tools to reclaim control and fortify your defenses.
MetaMask: What does it do, and how secure is it?
Developed by Consensys in 2016, MetaMask is a free cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to store and swap crypto assets, interact with the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem, and host a wide range of dApps via a mobile app or a browser extension.
MetaMask is a very reputable and secure crypto wallet. The wallet is an open-source software, which means its code is readily available for scrutiny by dev experts, allowing them to identify and fix potential vulnerabilities.
Metamask also has client-sided security that provides users with the ability to store private keys and sensitive information locally on their devices and not MetaMask’s server.
The ability of the wallet to encrypt sensitive information is another feature that contributes to its good security. Lastly, Consensys regularly maintains and updates the software to address security vulnerabilities promptly.
However, while MetaMask is a relatively secure crypto management platform, it is still vulnerable to hacks and other internet threats. Hence, just like any other app, the ultimate security of MetaMask depends on how well users exercise caution, stay informed about potential threats, and follow the best security practices in safeguarding their crypto assets.
Signs that your MetaMask Wallet has been Hacked
Just as mentioned earlier, one of the most important steps to take in securing your MetaMask wallet is to be able to identify the signs of hacks and other malicious actions.
Identifying whether your wallet has been hacked is crucial to safeguarding your crypto assets in the wallet. Below are the common indicators that your MetaMask wallet has been hacked:
Suspicious browser extensions
One of the most subtle ways hackers can compromise your wallet’s safety is by using malicious browser extensions. Through browser extensions, they can steal your private data, including security keys and seed phrases, and gain access to your wallet.
Malicious browser extensions can also intercept and reroute your transactions. To detect if your wallet is facing a potential hack, always check your browser extensions and promptly remove anyone you don’t recognize.
Unusual activities on your wallet account
This is one of the most glaring signs that your MetaMask wallet has been compromised. Any activity on your account that you didn’t perform or authorize is a clear sign of a malicious intrusion.
These unusual activities include unauthorized transactions, missing funds or crypto assets, locked funds, and inability to access your wallet. If you observe any unusual activities in your wallet, act promptly to secure your assets and prevent further damage.
Phishing is a cyber-attack where hackers use deceptive means to obtain private and sensitive information from individuals, usually via emails and links to fake websites that closely resemble a trusted organization.
Hackers can use phishing to compromise your MetaMask wallet by sending you links that can trick you into revealing the seed phrases to your wallet.
Therefore, anytime you are trying to visit the MetaMask website, make sure it is the official URL and not a URL to a phishing site.
Suspicious third-party dApps
As mentioned earlier, one of the defining functions of MetaMask is that it allows users to interact with a host of dApps on the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem.
However, some dApps are malicious and designed to steal private keys, seed phrases, and other sensitive information.
One of the most common features of malicious dApps is asking for unusual and suspicious permissions (e.g., asking for your private key and recovery phases.)
Hence, you should review the reputation of such dApps and revoke their permission if they appear malicious.
Unusual network activity and error messages
You can detect if your MetaMask wallet is facing a potential hack threat by monitoring the network activity around your wallet.
There are network monitoring tools like Nagios Core or Zabbix to monitor any unusual traffic or unknown connections to your wallet.
This way, you can determine if somebody is trying to gain access to your wallet without your permission. Also, numerous error messages while trying to access your MetaMask wallet or during a transaction can indicate a hack or compromise to your wallet.
How to Prevent Your MetaMask Wallet from Being Hacked?
Although MetaMask is a relatively secure crypto wallet, protecting your wallet from hacks still requires many good security practices and staying watchful of potential threats.
Here are some effective practices to ensure maximum protection of your wallet against hacks
The key to recovering your wallet anytime is your seed phrases (a secret group of words used to log in or recover accounts.) Being careless with it or sharing it alongside some other sensitive personal information regarding your wallet is very disadvantageous.
This doesn’t only cause an inability to access your wallet account; it also puts your account at a greater risk of being hacked. Your seed phrases can be secured offline by writing them down in a very safe place.
Use a strong password and change it occasionally.
A strong password plays a very big role in securing your MetaMask wallet. A strong password shouldn’t be guessable. This can be best achieved using a passphrase with more than one word and containing non-sequential alphanumeric characters.
In addition to using a strong password to guard your MetaMask wallet, always change the password to your wallet occasionally. Also, avoid the same password for other apps.
This prevents predictability and safeguards your MetaMask wallet against hacks and malicious actions.
Enable 2-factor authentication (2FA)
2-factor authentication is another important way of improving the digital security of your MetaMask wallet. It provides an additional layer of security by requiring two forms of verification before granting access to the wallet.
So if, by the slightest mistake, someone knows the password to your MetaMask wallet, they’d still need a second factor (usually a one-time password that is sent to your authorized device) to access your wallet.
Also, 2-FA does not only prevent unverified login to your wallet; it acts as a barrier against unauthorized transactions.
Use a hardware wallet device
A hardware wallet device such as Ledger or Trezor provides your MetaMask wallet with a robust defense against security breaches. This provides an elevated level of protection for your crypto assets by storing private keys offline.
By keeping your keys off the internet, these devices create an unbreakable barrier against online hacking threats to your MetaMask wallet. Since they operate without connecting to the internet, they are immune to malware attacks.
Also, When using a hardware wallet in combination with MetaMask, you can initiate transactions through MetaMask’s user-friendly interface on your mobile device.
However, the actual signing of transactions occurs within the hardware wallet, ensuring that even if your computer is compromised, the transaction details remain secure and tamper-proof.
What to do when Your MetaMask Wallet has been Hacked?
It can be very unsettling to discover that your MetaMask wallet has been compromised. However, it is important to remain calm and methodical and act swiftly to minimize losses and regain control of your assets when this happens.
Below is a step-by-step guide on what to do when your MetaMask wallet has been hacked:
Disconnect from the Internet immediately
In the event of a compromise, the first thing to do is disconnect your device from the Internet. This is to prevent the hacker from accessing your wallet further.
Also, it buys you more time to assess the situation and think about it without exposing your crypto assets to further damage.
Reach out to MetaMask customer support
After you’ve disconnected your device from the internet, the next thing to do is to immediately contact customer support through MetaMask’s official website or social media channel.
Give them the details about the hack, including any prior transactions you find suspicious and the time they occurred. With this, they can help you track the transaction and what other steps you should take.
To contact Metamask support:
- Go to https://support.metamask.io/hc/en-us on your web browser and select START A CONVERSATION from available support options.
- In the message box, fully describe the problem you’re facing, your Metamask version and your operating system. Include any screenshot or on-chain activity that might be helpful.
- Once you’re done, click the SEND button and wait for a Metamask support representative to answer your inquiry.
Change your password and scan your device for malware
Change the password to your MetaMask wallet, and if it’s linked to some other accounts, change the password to those accounts as well.
Afterward, run a comprehensive anti-malware scan on your device. These malware might have aided the hack, so removing them will prevent future attacks.
Check connected app
Check apps connected to your MetaMask wallet and their permissions in your MetaMask settings. Revoke permissions for any unfamiliar apps in order to prevent further unauthorized access by third-party apps.
- You can check connected dApps via your blockchain explorer. For Ethereum, visit https://etherscan.io/tokenapprovalchecker; for BNB Chain, visit https://bscscan.com/tokenapprovalchecker; and for Polygon, visit https://polygonscan.com/tokenapprovalchecker on your web browser to check all connected dApps.
- From the home screen, click CONNECT TO WEB3 and select the preferred wallet option. Approve the connection prompt in your wallet to link your wallet.
- After reviewing connected dApps, you can revoke token approval and dApp connection using third-party smart contract revoking tools like Unrekt, Revoke.cash, Approved.zone or Cointool.
- For instance, if you want to revoke a dApp or token approval with Revoke, navigate to revoke.cash. Click the CONNECT WALLET option in the top right corner of the homepage and link your wallet.
- Review and find the token allowance you want to revoke and tap REVOKE. Confirm the revoke in the wallet prompt that pops up, and that’s all.
Monitor your other accounts
Review your other associated accounts, such as your email and social media accounts, for any damage related to the hack of your MetaMask wallet.
Hackers might have attempted to access this account through your MetaMask, especially if they are all linked to your wallet.
Consider reporting to law enforcement
If the hack involves a very large amount of money, you should report the incident to your local law enforcement agency. Don’t hesitate to give them any relevant information that will help them with investigating the case.
MetaMask wallet is quite a secure crypto wallet. But just like any other crypto wallet, it is not invincible—it can be hacked if one is not security conscious.
However, by looking out for some of the signs of malicious actions on your wallet and following some important prevention steps mentioned in this article, your account security will never falter, and the security of your assets is guaranteed.