How to stay safe when trading online

Online trading has surged in recent decades, opening up a world of opportunity for investors. However, this accessibility comes with the significant risks posed by online security threats. Trading accounts holds sensitive financial information, making them prime targets for hackers. Malicious actors are constantly devising new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, so robust cybersecurity practices are crucial for anyone wanting to start trading online. But what can you do to stay secure? In this article, we’ll explain how to stay safe when trading online.

 

Choose a regulated platform

Ensure the platform you choose is well regulated, ideally by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This gives you peace of mind that you’re dealing with a legitimate and trustworthy trading platform that implements cybersecurity best practices. But it’s also worth researching the platform’s security measures and reading user and third-party reviews to get insight into the platform’s reputation.

 

Set a strong password

To create a strong password, aim for at least 15 characters and combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using personal details like birthdays or pet names, which are easily guessable. And make sure each password is unique to the platform you’re using. If it seems too hard to remember many different passwords, you can use a password manager to generate and store them securely.

 

Install antivirus software

Malicious software (malware) like viruses, keyloggers, and spyware can steal your login credentials or manipulate your trading activity. Choose a reputable antivirus software with real-time scanning capabilities, ensuring it’s constantly updated with the latest threat definitions.

 

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your internet traffic, making it unreadable to anyone trying to intercept it. This is especially crucial for online trading on public Wi-Fi networks, which are inherently insecure. With a VPN, your login details and trading activity remain hidden from prying eyes. Choose from reliable VPN providers with a strong track record of security and privacy. Free VPNs often come with limitations or security risks, so consider a paid service for optimal protection.

 

Beware of scams

The online world can be a breeding ground for scams targeting investors. But you can avoid falling prey to them by staying vigilant. Be wary of investment tips or “guaranteed” high-yield opportunities that from people you don’t know, as these could be scam attempts. Extravagant promises of high returns with little to no risk are classic hallmarks of a scam. Bear in mind that scammers often try to create a sense of urgency to pressure you into quick decisions. So, trust your gut and don’t be pressured into taking quick action without enough information.

 

Staying safe over the long term

The world of online trading is constantly evolving, and so are the cybersecurity threats it faces. So, staying safe when trading online is not a one-time act, but rather an ongoing cycle of vigilance. By actively implementing the practices outlined in this article, you can continuously fortify your online defences. Remember, knowledge is power, and a proactive approach is key to staying safe when trading online.

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