Is there a difference between using the MEW website and the MEW Chrome Extension, in terms of security? What would be the advantages to using one over the other?
Divided and Undecided
Dear Divided and Undecided,
Here at MEW, we recognize that different users will have different needs, different resources, and different approaches to crypto management. For this reason, we aim to provide various ways of accessing your funds and interacting with the blockchain.
All of MEW’s products, including the MEW web interface, the Chrome extension (MEW CX) and the mobile Ethereum wallet (MEWwallet app) reflect our dedication to give you multiple options for best security practices with a simple, intuitive interface.
That being said, when interacting with a crypto wallet, the safety of funds still depends a great deal on the user and the method of access.
For example, using the MEW website in combination with either a hardware wallet or MEW wallet app is one of the most secure methods of wallet access available in the space.
On the other hand, typing in a private key or mnemonic phrase directly in an online environment (in any wallet interface) is the worst choice of access method, as it dramatically increases the chances of phishing and loss of funds.
That’s why software methods like keystore file, mnemonic phrase, and private key are designated as ‘not recommended’ on MEW: using them directly can expose the access information to phishers.
However, if you are using one of the software methods, there may be an advantage to using the MEW CX browser extension. For one, you will not be typing in your access information online every single time you need to use the wallet. In addition, you will not be navigating to a web page every time, so there is less risk of landing on a malicious site.
The CX also has a slightly different utility than the web interface. It's the more convenient choice if you want to interact with DApps like CryptoKitties in the browser. As more DApps and Decentralized Finance instruments become available on the web, there will be more and more use cases for the browser wallet, and our updates to the CX will reflect those developments.
To conclude – different MEW products will be best for different uses. For holding larger amounts of funds for longer periods of time, a hardware wallet, used together with the MEW website, is the better option. For daily interaction with DApps and for sending small transactions, MEW CX could be a convenient alternative.
In all cases, the most important thing to remember is never give your private key or recovery phrase to anyone, never type it directly on a website or in a messenger, and never store it on a cloud service!
Supporting you from all sides,