Tips to prevent cybercrime in trading

Roberto d’Ambrosio, Chief Executive Officer, Axiory Global, elaborates on the tips to prevent cybercrime in trading.

As Cyber Crime is constantly ranked among the top global risks both in terms of likelihood and in terms of impact during the last 5 years, there is a widespread attitude to consider such risk as mainly impacting on big companies and corporations. While it is true that a cyber-attack on such entities can lead to great damage to both the affected Firm and its clients, nothing could far from the truth: cyber-crimes are a global threat that impact on our economy and society at all levels. This is the kind of awareness that need to be achieved in order to put in place the appropriate tactics and measures to limit the likelihood to become a victim of such crimes and to limit their impact, by early detection and appropriate recovery actions.

The world of finance as become highly dependent on technology and inter-connectiveness, and therefore, by its nature exposed to cybercrimes. Government and Regulators all over the world are implementing ever complex and comprehensive laws and regulations to ensure that the financial sector looks at cybercrime and ICT risks as a top risk to be assessed and adequately treated, by deploying all the available tools to mitigate the risk and adopting an iterative process of continuous reassessment of the risk, as the tools and methodologies adopted by cyber criminals become more and more sophisticated and difficult to the detect.

This is the same approach that individuals should adopt in protecting themselves from cybercriminals, and that is even more important when the individual engages in online banking, investment, and trading. Traders and investor can know access the financial markets from virtually everywhere they can access the internet, having at their disposal very advanced tools once available only to professional traders.
In order to safely enjoy such activity, the trader must manage his cyber risk on two levels: the processes that are under his direct control, and those which need to be delegated to their broker or bank.

Awareness/Education – As for the first aspect, the awareness of the most “obvious” threats has been rising quite a lot. Recommendation like not providing any personal data, including access credentials to one’s bank or trading account, via email, or choosing a complex password to access the accounts, to be different for each service and regularly changed, are being largely implemented by users, even though looking at the statistics it is quite surprising to see the amount of people that still adopt risky behaviours and do not follow such recommendations.

Having the right Hardware and Software: Going a step further, we must consider that the hardware and software we use to access the banking and even more trading platforms, should be adequate to the resources needed to implement the trading activity effectively and safely. The trader should make sure to upgrade their hardware as frequently as the budget allows them to, and even more importantly make sure that the operating system of their computers is always updated to the latest security patches distributed by the OS manufacturers. The environment should also be protected by adopting and adequate anti-virus software and possibly a quality firewall and a sound VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection to raise the level of security of the exchange of data over the internet.

While it is definitely advisable to adopt dedicated hardware, only used to run the software to trade the markets, this is a measure that could be too expensive to be adopted by all traders, but just adopting suitable and safe behaviours while browsing the web could go a very long way: one must be very careful about the websites he visits, the link they click on, the email that are received, and never follow up on any unsolicited request to connect to any website. Just adopting these measures could save the trader from very unpleasant surprises. While it is true that moving money from a brokerage account to a third party might be impossible if the chosen broker fully follow the regulation which does not allow third party transactions, as Axiory does to the fullest extent, just imagine a cybercriminal accessing that trading account, looking its owner out, and threatening to trade insane high volumes just to harm the trader or unless an immediate ransom is paid to them before the broker can be informed and take action.

Choosing the right server: Going another step forward in the space of more advanced traders that would utilize remote physical or virtual servers, the choice of the service provider is crucial, to ensure that they implement all the latest safety protocols in upkeeping their server farms or their cloud services. Here, cost should definitely not be the only driver in making the decision on which firm to engage with for such services.

Choosing the right trading platform – Let’s now move to the next level: the importance of the right choice when it comes to the partner to trade with, in order to reduce, inter alia, the cyber risk we are exposed to.It is absolutely crucial that the broker is implementing all the latest safety protocols as available from time to time, have the infrastructure and manpower to do so, and adopts redundancy and early cyber threats detection protocols at all levels, along with a trained and always available support team to manage the situation effectively when it becomes critical and the traders needs help to remedy a security breach.

We at Axiory, as a fintech Firm operating on the brokerage space for over 10 years, are characterized by technological excellence, utilizing top-notch technologies operating under a strict and extremely detailed ICT and Cyber-crime risk management framework, managed by trained professionals and providing our traders with an exceptional support team, able to directly solve a wide range of security issues that the trader might encounter, and having a direct channel to promptly escalate the most complex issues.