Reputable investment brokerages, whether operating from a physical location or online, work hard to make sure transactions are safe and secure. Research suggests thatsecurity enhances trust for online financial dealers and stockbrokers, and why wouldn’t it? The first way to protect yourself is to trade only with a truly reputable company.
Perhaps most importantly, make sure the company you are planning to trade with uses suitably high levels of encryption, so hackers can’t intercept your transactions.
Many industries, from casinos to hospitality, utilize technology to enhance security and your brokerage should be aiming to stay way ahead of the hackers. You may also want to check whether the broker has a process in place for dealing with fraud on the site, as this can offer you further protection.
Just as you would expect the brokerage to take all of the steps possible to prevent a cyber attack, you too should take all the action that you can from your end: use a strong password for your accounts, and – if possible – use 3-D Secure to add an extra layer of security. (This requires an additional password from your bank); monitor your investments and accounts for any signs of unusual activity and be hasty to report any that you notice.
Aside from hackers and cyber-attacks aimed at the brokerage site, Trojan Horse and other malicious code viruses are also an issue for users. These viruses often come disguised as a gift, (hence the name), by claiming for example to enhance security. They actually give hackers a backdoor to your computer and files, allowing them to gain access to your details.
To prevent Trojan Horse and other viruses, make use of advanced and regularly updated anti-virus software. You can reduce risk by also using anti-Spyware tools. Keep all of your software up-to-date so that you minimize known risks and easy access to your devices, and evaluate your web browser security settings to make sure you have everything set in your favour.
Social engineering and phishing scams can also be aimed at investors to gain control of their valuable data, and sometimes even money. These scams can be lame or sophisticated, but either way you should be careful not to fall for them. For example, you might receive what looks like a valuable investment opportunity via email, or you may be asked to enter your details into an illegitimate counterfeit site.
To avoid phishing scams, be careful to scrutinise any website that you are directed to, especially by email. You can check the SSL certificate if in doubt, or do a quick cross-reference online to see if the site is fake. Be wary of any investment opportunities advertised online or by email, especially if they seem too good to be true.
To reiterate, online trading gives investors great opportunities to quickly research and invest while on the move, ultimately giving more potential for profit – but the security risks need to be understood.
Careful steps should be taken to avoid trading with illegitimate companies, and to avoid viruses and phishing scams that are designed to steal your data. By taking the necessary precautions, you can trade online with confidence, and get well ahead of the game!