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Can your trading account be hacked?

by Mic Johnson

Cyber attacks and breaches are becoming common occurrences these days due to the exponential growth of Internet interconnections. The foreign exchange market hasn’t been impenetrable to hackers. The high number of traders, providers, platforms, brokers, and lines of communication make the market especially attractive for malicious actors. They can gain access to passwords and usernames of trading accounts, which enables them to carry out unauthorized transactions like trading currencies. Indeed, the Forex market isn’t as prone to hacking attacks as compared to other capital markets, yet the use of web-based trading does leave it more exposed. 

What are the implications of hacking attacks for forex traders? 

In the old days, the only things you had to worry about were Ponzi schemes and Pump-and-Dump actions. While the latter implies luring in investors promising them high returns with little risk, the latter involves artificially inflating the price of stocks through false and misleading statements. Times have changed and financial crime has changed in recent years. The world depends on the power and speed of computers, which are the main targets for thieves. Identifying malware is difficult, if not impossible because it doesn’t make any visible changes and, therefore, bypasses anti-virus applications. Malicious actors are getting more sophisticated and can easily get their hands on identifying information. 

The question now is: What happens if your trading account is hacked? If the hackers break into your brokerage account through the firm’s servers, you’ll be reimbursed. You’ve done nothing to compromise the security of your trading account, so you have the right to reimbursement. Refunds are delayed only if the brokerage firm has reason to believe that you’ve been negligent regarding the security of your account. If you were indeed at fault, you can say goodbye to the money because there are no laws in place regulating cybertheft-related losses. Regardless of where you do your online trading, don’t forget about the danger.

How to know if your trading account has been hacked 

The Internet isn’t a safe place anymore. It doesn’t matter what you do online because you risk threats from hackers. Malicious actors prefer to pick on banks and businesses to acquire credentials for internal networks. They are motivated by the monetary gains. There’s the chance that hackers can crack into your account and wire the funds into their own without you even knowing it. If you’re worried that someone is stealing money from your account, your concerns may be justified. It’s pretty easy for cyber thieves to do their job. Since they don’t leave a trail of their destruction, watch out for the following telltale signs: 

  1. Suspicious activity on your trading account. Trades have been made in your account without your permission. You don’t recognize the buying or selling of investments. If you see something in your trading history that doesn’t look right or receive email confirmations for transactions that you didn’t carry out, there is a strong likelihood that your trading account has been compromised. 
  2. Unexpected investment solicitations. Out of the blue, you have received solicitations from people claiming to be financial experts. Emails are sent to you although you haven’t asked for such a thing. If someone got hold of your personal information and deployed it to open a trading account, it can explain why you’re receiving so many investment solicitations. 
  3. Your password isn’t working. It’s not that you forgot your trading password, it’s just that it doesn’t work. You type it correctly, three times in a row, and it still doesn’t work. Perhaps a malicious actor logged into your trading account and changed it so as to keep you out. The fraud can be devastating for the simple fact that you lose money. 

Steps you can take to protect your trading account 

Malicious actors are after your financial resources via the Internet. Unfortunately, nobody is immune to cyber attacks. You can easily become one of the millions affected by data breaches. If hackers don’t have your identifying information, they will try to get it. The financial services sector is extremely appealing to cyber thieves owing to the large sums of money involved, not to mention the sensitive personal data involved. Stopping to use the Internet entirely is nothing but a drastic measure. What you should do is take some basic measures to protect yourself. If struggling to protect your trading account from hackers seems daunting, consider these easy, practical steps. 

See what kind of protection your brokerage firm offers

Just about any brokerage firm can experience hacking attacks. After targeting the government and banking system, malicious actors are now focusing their attention on the foreign exchange market. They trick people into handing over their personal information and use it to place buy or sell orders. This is why you need to have a chat with your brokerage firm and see what kind of protection it can offer you. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, consider switching brokerage firms. As a rule, ASIC regulated brokers are more secure because they have only reputable and safe companies attached to their organization. They offer clients the necessary protection in the case of a data breach.  

Never log into your trading account from a public computer 

Owing to advancements in technology and the Internet of Things, it’s now possible to buy and sell currency from any corner of the world. Using a public computer is very risky because anyone can gain access to your activity on the Internet. It doesn’t matter if you’re using the computer in the library or your own device. If you’re connected to the public Wi-Fi, you’re putting yourself at risk. You’re opening up your online activity and personal data to numerous threats. 

Don’t reply to emails requesting personal or financial information 

Imagine the following situation: You just got an email that instructs you to provide sensitive information. This is obviously a phishing scam. Cyber thieves will deploy email or text messages to trick you into giving them personal or financial information. Don’t give anyone your password or account numbers. Call the phone number listed in the email to see if the message was really sent by the brokerage firm. Keep in mind that hackers are mischievous. 

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