Online Thieves Are Stealing Axie Teams. Here's How to Protect Your Axie Investments
Axie Infinity is not exactly a cheap game to play. A decent team that performs relatively well in the Arena can fetch anywhere between P50,000 to P60,000 as of this writing.
But Axie Infinity is more than just a game. It’s an investment. After all, it allows players to earn digital tokens called Smooth Love Potions (SLPs), which can then be traded into real-world fiat.
Lately, we have been hearing reports from Axie players and scholars that their teams and even SLPs within the Axie universe have been stolen—erasing their investment and earnings in just a snap.
It is then important to protect your accounts from fraudsters and hackers in order to maximize your earning potential and not fall into the pit of loss.
Phishing for your investments
Phishing is the most common way that hackers use to access someone else’s account. Hackers usually create a fake website that copies the design and mimics the uses of tabs and links in the real website.
One real-world instance is that of an Axie player who just invested in a team a month ago. Last week, he searched for the Axie website on the web and clicked on the first link that he saw.
He entered all the credentials needed in order to gain access to his account. Little did he know that the website that he opened was not axieinfinity.com, but axieinfinlty.com.
After a few minutes, he lost all three Axies and the SLPs that he earned for the last two weeks. He invested P65,000 to buy his team.
Hackers also created fake Ronin Wallet and Metamask addresses, extensions, and mobile apps, creating more confusion for new flames and old dogs alike.
Other variations of phishing baits are “contests and promos” posted on social media. They redirect Axie account owners to websites that promise “free SLPs” for simply registering their Axie account using their Axie website and Ronin credentials.
Once hackers gain access to your account, they may then transfer your Axies to a different account through the gifting feature in the website or even sell them for a very cheap price in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, Axie Infinity has a very lenient policy for stolen Axies. Even if you report it to the proper channels, it is almost impossible to retrieve stolen Axies and SLPs.
The most that Axie Infinity can do is to ban the stolen Axies from being played by another player.
Protect your investments
So how do you protect your investments and earnings in Axie? We asked a community of Axie managers and here are their recommendations:
Tip #1: Don’t share your credentials with anyone
It is important to keep your e-mails, passwords, and seed phrases to yourself. In a nutshell, a seed phrase is a series of words generated by a cryptocurrency wallet that essentially allows account holders to recover their accounts and use private keys.
Managers also recommend keeping the seed phrase away from any digital platform—yup, even your phones! Write them on a piece of paper and ensure that you have exclusive access to it.
It is also wise to create your accounts by yourself. Do not allow anyone—a seller or even a close friend—to create your accounts or wallets.
Tip #2: Always check the links and be smart about promos, websites, and browser extensions
As phishing hackers have become more and more creative about engineering attacks, it is also important to keep a questioning mind about promos and online contests.
Always ask yourself if the promo is too good to be true. Most of the time, it is.
Remember to always check the links before inputting your credentials and bookmark legitimate websites on your browser to save you from the stress of potentially losing your accounts.
Likewise, only download legitimate browser extensions such as Ronin and Metamask. Be sure to double-check the links before downloading and clicking on anything.
Tip #3: Invest in a “hard wallet”
A hardware wallet is a physical device that can store the private keys of your digital wallets. The cryptocurrencies that are stored in the hard wallet are kept offline, which means that they cannot be hacked digitally.
This also means that you need your hard wallet to authorize your cryptocurrency transactions, making your accounts more secure and safe from hackers.
Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis is advocating the use of Trezor hardware wallets to protect Axie investments. The most basic Trezor device sells for around P5,000.
Should you decide to buy a Trezor device, keep in mind to only buy from authorized resellers to avoid compromised devices.
Bonus Tip for Newbies: Be smart
For newbies, remember to do your research before investing in Axies. Likewise, it is best to buy your Axie teams from the official Axie Marketplace and not from anyone on social media.
While there are hardworking individuals that legitimately sell Axie teams through their social media pages, there are also individuals who scam potential investors.
What we’re saying is that it is safer—and even cheaper!—to buy Axies via the marketplace. You just have to know which ones to buy.
Bonus Tip for Managers: Choose your scholars wisely
It goes without saying that managers also need to conduct due diligence, especially when choosing scholars.
The scholarship program is a very noteworthy initiative that empowers tens of thousands of Filipinos to earn cryptocurrency, but it is also an endeavor built on the foundation of trust.
That said, managers should choose their scholars wisely, making sure that they are trustworthy and will not run away with your investment.
Managers must also ensure that their scholars are not engaging in multi-accounting, which, if proven, will result in a ban.
Axie Infinity is not a cheap game to play; it is an investment that is worth protecting.