Keeping Your Online Investments Safe
Online investment is now a fact of life for many people, who value it for its ease of access and the ability it gives them to monitor their investments 24/7. Yet with cyber crime now one of the fastest-growing types of criminality across the globe, investors need to be aware of the risks posed by fraudsters and hackers, as well as how to mitigate these risks.
It’s also worth noting that we use the word ‘mitigate’ rather than ‘prevent.’ Cyber crime is now of pandemic proportions, with two discrete groups causing significant problems. The first of these, naturally, are the dedicated criminals who want to steal people’s data in order to defraud their money. The second group are the hackers who try to circumvent online security measures largely for their own personal satisfaction, but who cause almost as much havoc as the outright criminals in the process.
Minimising the risks posed by these groups isn’t a job simply for financial institutions or those who invest with them. Instead, it demands vigilance and co-operation from both parties, who can work together to limit the possibilities for cyber criminals to succeed.
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The Steps Your Investment Platform Needs To Take
Here at Equiniti, cyber security starts with the careful vetting of all new members of staff to ensure that they don’t have links to any form of criminality. Just as importantly, we help to prevent our staff from being compromised by keeping our internal data access on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis.
We also support our staff with regular training to ensure that they won’t be caught out by things like phishing emails; or by sloppy practices such as opening un-scanned files, or by connecting their own memory sticks and other devices to our internal systems.
This is all part of our Duty of Care to customers, which involves a host of other factors, such as keeping our security systems up to date and ensuring that all of our trades are carried out through recognised investment exchanges: which ensures that our investors are never caught up in ‘boiler room’ scams. We also take our legal responsibility to verify both our customers’ identities and the source of any funds that they wish to invest very seriously indeed.
The Cyber Security Measures That Online Investors Should Take
It goes without saying that an investment platform like Equiniti’s uses password protection to ensure that only authorised customers can gain access to their accounts. Inevitably, this occasionally means that a customer will make a small error when entering security information, and after a set number of attempts will be locked out of their account, which can be highly frustrating for them.
However, security information is essential in order to keep your investments safe. So we always recommend that you note your passwords and other log-in details at the time you create them, just to ensure that you have a reliable record, particularly over details such as which letters are in capitals. Just make sure that these notes aren’t openly labeled as passwords, and are kept well hidden in your home, away from your computer.
We also remind our customers to install all security updates for their devices: whether desktop computers, tablets or smartphones. In fact, smartphones are one of the areas where people fail to appreciate the risks. For example, if your phone has been ‘jailbroken’ to let you use other networks, this makes it much easier for hackers to compromise; and the first sign you see of this may be that it won’t allow you to install new software or security updates.
Mark Taylor, CEO of Selftrade, part of the Equiniti Group, commented: “We take the importance of online security very seriously, particularly given the increased efforts of cyber criminals. But by working with staff and clients to ensure that everyone is aware of the risks – and how to reduce them – we believe that online investment platforms like ours have got what it takes to make our clients’ data and assets as safe as they possibly can be.”