MyEtherWallet (MEW) is an open-source wallet for storing Ethereum and ERC20 tokens. MEW has faced some controversy in recent years, however. In April 2018, MEW was hacked, when a scammer ran a phishing attack against them.
At the time, servers were redirected to a Russian phishing site. MEW was vulnerable mainly because they ran on centralized servers, far easier to hack than some of their decentralized counterparts. Around $150,000 USD was stolen by hackers.
Since the attack, MyEtherWallet has had many users question the security of the service. So, is MyEtherWallet safe to use? And if you choose to use it will you end up an unsuspecting victim of a malicious hack?
MyEtherWallet public perception
Although much of MEW’s negative feedback is regarding an alarming loss of funds or general displeasure with the security systems in place, these negative reviews are often from people who didn’t follow MEW’s security guidelines. Aside from this, the general consensus of MyEtherWallet is positive.
Being free as well as open-source is a big bonus for many users. MEW does not store any of their customers’ private information, has a super-easy signup process, and is becoming more and more user-friendly every day. Overall, MEW is viewed as a reliable, safe wallet for storing Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and ERC20 tokens.
MyEtherWallet security systems
When a new user signs up for MyEtherWallet, they are given a public key and a private key. The responsibility of backing up and storing their keys in a safe place is left to the user. These keys are not stored on the MEW site. This enables the user to send and access their ETH with hardware wallets, with private keys, or Keystore files. And, when transactions are made, no fee is charged by MEW, only the miner’s charge.
Fortunately for MEW, this hack wasn’t their fault. In fact, it was users who didn’t take enough safety precautions that enabled the funds to be stolen. In fact, the security of MEW is mostly up to the user. Here are a few precautions you can take when using MEW, or any other electronic wallet.
Precautions you can take
Always check URLs, MEW email addresses, etc. It’s integral that you always triple check the URL of the MEW website when you visit it. Check for extra letters, misspellings, or variable endings (.net instead of .com).
Be cautious of unusual emails you receive from ‘MEW’, especially if they ask for personal information, offer giveaways, or provide direct links to their website. Check the sender’s email and make sure it matches with the official website’s info before proceeding.
Always follow links from the official website when downloading apps, or looking for important info. And keep an eye out for those pesky mining scams that are growing in popularity. If you receive mining offers, vet them. Do the right research and read all the reviews, be cautious!
What’s the most secure way to access MyEtherWallet
If you’re taking all the right precautions, and you’re still worried about using MyEtherWallet safely, you might want to look into using the safest way to access your ETH, a hardware wallet. Unlike private keys, Keystore files, and mnemonic phrases that might leave you vulnerable to phishing attacks, hardware wallets are much safer.
When you use a hardware wallet, you’re automatically adding extra layers of security including code scramblers that will protect your keys from theft. Codes are only viewed on the hardware wallets screen, eliminating the possibility of onlookers taking your combinations. And, even if you access a phishing site using your hardware wallet, it’s impossible for your funds to be entirely drained. Instead, the hacker may be able to redirect your outgoing transactions to their own wallets.
If you want an easy way to manage and store your ETH, in the safest way possible, you might want to look into getting a sturdy hardware wallet such as the TREZOR or Ledger Nano S.
So, is MyEtherWallet safe?
Although trading in crypto is never as safe as the mainstream financial world, you can consider MEW to be a very safe place to store your ETH. As long as you take the right precautions, and look into hardware wallet options, you can almost guarantee (nothing is certain) your Ethereum will be safe with MyEtherWallet. It’s a user-friendly, convenient wallet that provides extra layers of security as long as you play your part.