There is a trading boom for online brokers and first-time traders in the online stocks market. The recent market volatility can be attributed to stringent stay-at-home measures, spare time, and the need to make a living during this Covid-19 pandemic. Laid-off workers now prefer to trade online with little of their savings and are already reaping big time. A recent report indicated a significant increase in trading activities and new accounts, with about 50% of all logins emanating from mobile phone devices. In other words, trading online has been busy and booming than ever!
However, the fact that any trader can access their accounts conveniently from anywhere, even on public networks, makes them vulnerable to online scams and hacks, which are never far from any active internet user. Remember, online trading accounts have serious security loopholes because a lot of data is transmitted in the process, and anyone who is also browsing on the same network can be your bad guy. It is also important to note that such threats don’t also have to emanate remotely as most platforms that traders rely on to move money are also vulnerable to cybersecurity shortcomings. There is a lot of sensitive information transmitted when trading online, which includes but not limited to balances, credit card information, bank details, portfolio, and even personal details.
Moreover, trading using a mobile phone means that you sometimes store passwords locally in an unencrypted format. Simple physical access or dubious malware attack means that a hacker can access such information, clone your trading account, and remit all the funds to an offshore account. So, how do you save yourself from all such cybercrime calamities as an online trader? Here are three important steps to see you through:
- Encrypt your online activity
The best practice amongst all is encrypting all your online activity to mask any digital footprints that you may leave a trail of. When making online transactions or managing one’s investments online, sensitive data and valuable information are transferred online. However, your online activity is usually done through an unencrypted network, which is exposed naked to hackers who can then access your login details and steal your money/identity. We recommend that you use a reliable VPN to encrypt your sensitive information and keep your online data safe. According to ExpressVPN’s guide on what is a VPN, it is a secure tunnel between your online trading device and the internet, which protects your online traffic from snooping and interference. A VPN also allows you to send and receive data while remaining anonymous online.
- Employ safe computing practices
While hackers can, at times, be tech-savvies, not all of them are intelligent. They basically exploit the basic loopholes that you create for them by employing unhygienic computing practices. For instance, what do you think will happen to your account if you access it from a public computer that was initially targeted by hackers? How about leaving your computer on without an on-screen password? Well, in such instances, you’ve only made hackers’ work easier as they can monitor your routine and access your browsing history, even if it means physically.
To avoid that, you should consider employing basic safe computing practices such as logging out of your account after accessing it. We also recommend that you avoid saving your passwords on many browsers. You can use the virtual keyboard on the login window such that spyware through webcam can’t capture your strokes as you key in. In addition to that, please never leave your computer unattended to while logged in, even when at home or your cubicle. For hackers, even the most secure building in the world is still a target point.
- Install security software
Lastly, you might also consider installing updated security software on your PC. Hackers and scammers use dubious emails and links to trick traders into clicking on malware programs. In fact, some are so good at it to the extent that you won’t even realize until your accounts are wiped clean. Through such malware attacks, hackers can access personal details or even redirect you to insecure websites and prompt you to key in bank details or credit card information. Consider installing a firewall in your PC to control traffic flow, especially if you rely on a broadband connection to access the internet. A reliable hardware firewall should be in a position to enable continuous internet access in that event.
Another indispensable software is a reliable anti-virus software that identifies and eliminates any malware that might have been downloaded accidentally to your PC. However, it is also important to note that anti-virus software will only be reliable if you update it regularly.
Hackers also tend to deploy spyware on unsuspecting traders to monitor their internet activity and collect personal data. You can solve that by installing an anti-spy software and updating the same regularly.
The above cybersecurity practices will definitely help you create a secure environment for online trading accounts, even when operating multiple. You must strive to keep your online data and personal details safe to avoid possible risks such as identity theft, which is common nowadays. Criminals can use your personal information to do white-collar crimes such as online scheming and tax fraud while impersonating your innocent self. Gear up today to avoid such a mishap in life. Could you not make it easy for the bad guys? Please.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.