The risks of connecting to an unknown network

You should always think twice before you connect your wallet to a new blockchain network: be deliberate and think this through.

 

Privacy 

One of the core principles underlying public blockchain networks is a focus on a different model of ownership: rather than the websites you visit, or have accounts with, owning your data, you and you alone hold your data, through your private keys.

This does not mean that everything you do is private.

This does not mean that no one can track your transactions.

This does not mean that governmental authorities or other parties can't associate you with your crypto-assets.

 

Technology

Parts of interacting with blockchain technology are extremely secure and encrypted: your private keys, as long as you keep them private, are extremely brute force hack-resistant. Other parts of the ecosystem can be just as traceable as Web2 technology. Are you signing up for a community project with your email? Even if you're not, are you using a VPN? What sorts of privacy measures are you taking in your internet browsing? 

And there are the gray areas that a lot of us might not think about on a daily basis. Do you have popular social network apps installed on your phone? If so, have you considered that they may be gathering extensive data on your activities, storing it and reselling it? And--is that the same phone that you're using MetaMask Mobile on? 

How careful are you about new apps you install on your phone and computer? Are you taking measures to ensure you're not installing spyware? As crypto-technologies become more and more mainstream and valuable, scammers and thieves have more and more incentive to install these malicious payloads in commonly-installed products, in order to gain remote access to our systems and extract our private keys.

 

The bottom line

Before you connect to a new blockchain network, keep in mind that a malicious network provider can: 

  • Lie about the state of the blockchain
  • Withhold transactions
  • Record your network activity
  • Record your IP address and associate it with your network activity

At MetaMask, we believe that you should be empowered and enabled to own your data, and the first step on that path is becoming informed. For a beginner's overview into blockchain technologies, start here.

 

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