Cybersecurity and the quest to safeguard traders’ investments

Photo credit: Exness

Whether pursued as a supplementary side-hustle or a full-time career, online trading can prove a lucrative endeavour.

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to access a trading account, with more than 50,000 forex traders active in Kenya alone. However, forex is just the tip of the iceberg. A full raft of trading instruments are ready and waiting to be speculated on, such as commodities and indices.

With the right trading strategies, the potential for profit is undeniable. Sadly, it can often feel as though online traders are facing an uphill battle.

Unfavourable market conditions aside, cybersecurity concerns pose another challenge for traders keen to safeguard their CFD (contract for differences) industry investments and beyond. Below, we’ll explore the biggest obstacles standing between investors and secure trading, and spotlight those companies going the extra mile to protect traders’ assets.

The biggest risks to safe trading

The moment you start using an online brokerage, you’re surrendering sensitive information to external servers. In some cases, brokers manage their own in-house servers. Others choose to outsource to external providers or utilise cloud server storage. Any one of these server solutions is vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches and outside attacks, jeopardising safe trading.

The Forex market and the CFD industry are certainly lucrative for the investor, but it’s for this same reason that online trading platforms and brokerages are a regular target of cyber criminals. With a vast amount of personal information and financial assets to exploit, it’s little wonder that cyber attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach to undermine secure trading. Following are some of the key weapons in their arsenal you need to be aware of, mainly affecting the security of your trading account:

Malware Attacks

Malware risks have been around for decades and remain a particularly painful thorn in the side of online trading platforms and their users. Successful malware attacks enable attackers to infiltrate trading software and user records, pulling sensitive information to gain access to financial accounts and other assets.

Ransomware attacks are an evolution of malware and are one of the biggest barriers to safe trading today. Once a piece of ransomware software has been successfully deployed, an individual’s account details and digital assets are encrypted. To regain access, victims are instructed to pay out huge sums of money to perpetrators.

Cloud Server Vulnerabilities

While some brokers use their own servers, others entrust data storage to third-party providers. Using a cloud server solution might seem cost-effective, but it can leave valuable data exposed to third-party interference. Basic security procedures and configuration best practices can’t always be depended on when looking for a safe trading environment. There have been news stories of forex broker servers left exposed with no password protection and zero encryption.

Leaving servers exposed means that everything from IP addresses to passport information is up for grabs. Even just a few pieces of information are enough for a fraudster to impersonate a client or gain access to their personal devices. Attackers may then choose to deploy ransomware or sell the data on to yet another party, making it a vital concern for the platforms and investors looking for a secure trading system.

Phishing

For fraudsters, phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. In its simplest form, phishing involves criminals creating fake websites or illicit emails claiming to be from brokers, trading platforms, or financial institutions. In good faith, users then input their security credentials and personal information. Fraudsters can then use this information to access these trading accounts themselves.

While most phishing attacks are fired off at many different targets, spear phishing is far more concentrated. Here, a small number of people are targeted, with information sourced from online platforms like LinkedIn. After identifying the email addresses of their targets and testing for antivirus exploits, cybercriminals are then ready to unleash a malware attack that’s nigh on impossible to predict or prevent.

The Enemy Within

Although rare, there’s always a chance that threats can come within an organisation. A disgruntled employee or rogue agent may choose to exploit systems, mine customer accounts for sensitive information, or even manipulate the markets themselves.

Choosing the right broker for secure trading can be a deciding factor

While there’s plenty that individuals can do to protect their information and investment assets online, much of the responsibility is shouldered by the brokers they use. Fortunately, there are several options out there.

Key features to look for in a secure broker

When selecting a secure broker for your online trading activities, it's crucial to prioritise a few key features that safeguard your investments and personal information.

Firstly, robust encryption protocols are non-negotiable, ensuring that all data transmitted between your device and the broker's servers remains confidential and impervious to interception. Additionally, look for brokers that are regulated by reputable financial authorities, as this compliance indicates adherence to strict security standards and operational integrity.

Customer service also plays a pivotal role. A broker with a responsive and knowledgeable support team can be invaluable, especially in resolving security concerns swiftly.

Lastly, consider brokers that offer advanced security features such as two-factor authentication (2FA) and biometric login options, further enhancing the protection of your account against unauthorised access. By focusing on these critical aspects, traders can significantly mitigate their cybersecurity risks and concentrate on optimising their trading strategies.

A locally available broker in Kenya

In the online trading market, cybersecurity emerges as a concern for traders. There are multiple risks to take into account in digital trading platforms: from malware and ransomware attacks to vulnerabilities in cloud server configurations and phishing. With these challenges in mind, the role of choosing a secure broker becomes critical. It is an added bonus if your chosen broker is locally regulated and licensed. It offers an added layer of security and peace of mind. 

Exness

Exness is an industry-leading online trading broker that goes above and beyond when it comes to user security. Cutting-edge encryption protocols go beyond the usual two-factor authentication, allowing users to experiment with new trading strategies, confident that their profits are protected.

Locally regulated in Kenya, Exness is a broker you can trust. As well as offering all the tools investors need to trade with peace of mind, they’re experts and thought leaders in the field of cybersecurity. If you’re looking to safeguard your investment activity against new and old threats alike, Exness is the obvious choice. Exness, with its advanced security measures and regulatory compliance, stands as a beacon of reliability and trust in the industry.