Is MetaMask Safe: Analyzing The Values And Risks Of MetaMask
Security is the primary concern for anything that’s on the internet, be it social media or crypto wallets. With the rising number of cybercrimes like hacking, data theft, and phishing, security is the prime concern of people in the crypto space.
Created in 2016 by Aaron Davis and Dan Finlay, MetaMask is one of the top names for crypto enthusiasts who are interested in Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. But MetaMask receives many controversial questions regarding its security like, Is MetaMask safe? What are the security features of MetaMask? Is my crypto safe with MetaMask?
In this article, we’ll understand how MetaMask works and how safe MetaMask is.
What Is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a unique combination of a cryptocurrency wallet and a web plugin that is used to manage, transfer, and receive Ethereum (ETH) or Ethereum tokens like ERC-20. Because it’s a browser extension, it acts as a bridge between browsers (like Chrome and Firefox) and the Ethereum blockchain.
So, why is this unique?
Users who can access the Ethereum blockchain can now build their own decentralized applications, popularly called dApps. Another cool feature of blockchain is that users can write transaction guidelines known as smart contracts.
Because of the frequent questions people ask such as“Is MetaMask safe?”, “What are the risks involved in using MetaMask?”, and so on, it’s important to understand how MetaMask works before addressing its benefits and risks.
How Does MetaMask Work?
Benefits Of Using MetaMask
In spite of being frequently asked about its security, MetaMask offers transparency and added features for its users.
- Open-source software: An open-source software can constantly be updated and improved by the community. The MetaMask code is available online for free and can be accessed by all.
- Easy-to-use interface: All of the features of MetaMask are clearly laid out on the wallet. The simplicity of the wallet even attracts newbies for making crypto transactions.
- Hierarchical deterministic settings: The MetaMask wallet helps users keep their account safe by backing it up with the hierarchical deterministic settings.
- In-app coin purchasing: Users can purchase Ether and ERC-20 from Coinbase and ShapeShift as MetaMask is directly linked to the two exchanges.
- Local key storage: Unlike most servers, MetaMask does not store keys on its server. Rather it gives the users full control over their keys by storing them in the user’s browser.
- Community: MetaMask forms an integral part of the Ethereum community, as it has millions of users and followers across the globe.
- Customer service: MetaMask has not only restricted itself to its community for guidance but also has a video demonstration on the website’s homepage along with a detailed FAQ and blog section.
Risks Of Using MetaMask
Let us also look at a few drawbacks of the MetaMask wallet.
- Access to private info on browser: Being a browser wallet, the MetaMask wallet will not have access to your information, but the browser will collect information about how and when you use the app. This can be a blocker for potential MetaMask wallet users.
- Hot wallet: MetaMask is a hot wallet and as we all know, a hot wallet is vulnerable to online threats like hacking, phishing, and theft.
- Limited choices of coins: The MetaMask wallet only supports Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.
Is MetaMask Safe?
Now comes the main question- How safe is MetaMask?
Indeed, there have not been any major hacking incidents on MetaMask, and it is backed by the hierarchical deterministic settings and a large community of users and developers who are constantly reviewing and updating their source code.
However, the biggest concern is that it is a hot wallet, which is a crypto wallet that is connected to the internet. This alone makes it vulnerable to theft, hacking, and phishing attacks.
The Bottom Line: Safety Tips For MetaMask Users
Even though MetaMask is working on its safety, users are still advised to open just one tab at a time when they’re making crypto transactions and also keep their MetaMask wallet locked when they’re not using it.
Here are a few more tips to consider when using MetaMask wallet:
- Backup your secret recovery phrase
Your MetaMask recovery phrase is the only way that you can restore your account so it is very important to keep this 12-word recovery phrase safe. It must be noted that every bit of your information on MetaMask is encrypted in your browser and protected with a MetaMask password. Hence, this recovery phrase is all that can restore your account in the event you lose your accounts.
- Don’t share your private key
If anyone has access to your secret recovery phrase or your private key they will have full access to your wallet. Always remember that MetaMask never asks for these details, and it is recommended to never share these details with anyone.
- Consider using a hardware wallet instead
A hardware wallet is the most secure of all wallets. If you have a large amount of Ethereum or ERC-20 tokens, you must choose a hardware wallet instead of a software wallet.
So, is MetaMask safe? The answer is a shaky yes. But the above-mentioned key points will help you keep your digital assets safe.