Over the last few months you may have heard a lot of scary stories from the compromising of data at Yahoo to client data being stolen at Equifax. All these are classic examples of security failure at a macro level. How does that apply to you as an internet trading client? Even if your broker offers you the best macro security solution in the internet, you as a user still need to be extremely careful about ensuring that your personal data is not compromised. In the real world, there is nothing like a totally fool-proof security. Higher security only means that there is a lesser probability of the data getting hacked. It, therefore, behoves upon you to take adequate security measures when you are trading markets on your laptop, PC or even from your smart phone.
The 12 point Bible to enjoy safe and secure internet trading..
As a person who trades on the internet, remember that it is always better to err on the side of caution. Here is a security Bible of how you must go about protecting your personal data and financial data while trading on the internet..
Make your trading password as complicated and difficult to guess. Avoid simple hack-able passwords like your name, your surname, date of birth, marriage anniversary etc. Do not ever write down your password on a piece of paper for the sake of future reference. Above all, never share your password with anybody else.
Maintenance of the password is equally important. Try to change the trading password as frequently as possible; preferably each month or at least once in 2 months. Web browsers offer you the facility to remember your password. That temptation is best avoided. Above all, do not use the same password for all your online transactions. That is another give-away.
Most brokers will offer you a two factor authentication (2FA), which will require you to enter an additional OTP password sent via mobile or email. This 2 factor authentication is an additional level of security to maintain the safety and security of your trading account.
Ideally avoid accessing your internet account from cyber cafes. Most of the cyber cafes do not use proper anti-virus and anti-phishing software, which means your password can be easily stolen. On your personal PC or laptop always ensure that the virus protection is up-to-date.
Be wary of social engineering phone calls and emails which try to elicit details of your trading and bank accounts and even throw in gifts to entice you. Such calls are good entertainment but be wary not to disclose any information.
In case you are accessing your trading account and you feel that your system has become too slow or there are too many windows and pop-ups opening, it means that the security of your machine has been compromised. Make it a point to log out of that machine and also change the password immediately through another machine.
When you are trading on the net ensure 3 basic rules. Firstly, never let your trading screen remain unattended at any point of time. Secondly, make it a point to log out of your trading account when you are through instead of just closing the window. Lastly, regularly clear the cache for lingering files in your browser memory.
Nowadays it is quite common and economical to use Wi-Fi to access your internet. There is no harm in using the wi-fi but some basic precautions are in place. Avoid accessing your internet trading account through free wi-fi offered at airports, malls etc. These are mostly unsecure. Also avoid sharing your wi-fi access and have a dedicated connection for the internet trading PC.
It is common practice for people to download new interesting software from websites like Download.com, especially the freeware. Remember, most of the software is not guaranteed by the websites hosting them. Avoid downloading any unknown software into your PC or laptop which doubles up as your trading terminal.
An anti-spyware and a personal firewall are critical components while trading, apart from your anti-virus. Your anti-virus cannot catch many of the hidden spy software, which can be tracked by anti-spyware software. A personal firewall gives you control over which sites you want to permit and which you want to block. These are small costs worth incurring.
There is a very basic security check that you need to use when trading on the internet. Always type your internet trading account name in the status bar. Avoid using short cuts or even hyperlinks as these are vulnerable to virus attacks. Also, before you trade ensure that your trading address starts with https:// and not http:// to be doubly sure that it is a secured site.
A very good way to avoid unauthorized trades is to constantly cross check your personal trade sheet, your order book and your trade book. These are some basic precautions that you need to take in the interest of the safety of your account. Also, check the contract notes and reconcile it with your bank account and demat account at least once a week.
Internet trading has surely made life a lot simpler. However, a little laxity from your side on the security front can have negative implications. This quick Bible can help you get a hang of some key security concerns while trading on the net and how to protect your money.