The issue of security has always been much debated when it comes to online trading. Till recently many would dread to even buy a ticket to a film through the internet, let alone trade on the markets using the facilities that internet offers. And to an extent such reservations were justified.
The internet is a place where everyone is connected to everyone, one way or another. And if someone is really smart enough he can exploit the weaknesses of various sites and cause a lot of damage to the members of that site. Of course he can also hack into others’ computers. And these things have happened earlier.
But today, the internet is a much secure place than what it was, say five years back. The security has been beefed up and it is much more robust and less susceptible to attacks from hackers and spammers. Of course the internet companies have pumped in truckloads of dollars into their research and development to attain such security. And now the results are there to see.
But as online trading get increasingly easy many investors drop their guard. That is criminal. You just cannot take it easy on the net. There are a few simple things you should practice while investing on the net. Always have all you transactions confirmed by your online brokerage firm. Never trade from unprotected computers. So you shouldn’t be trading from office or library or a cyber cafe.
Regularly update the security features of the software of your computer. The most important software that you need to update are your internet browser, the firewall and the anti-virus software. Only open emails form a secure source. Never click on mails that you are doubtful about.
Never provide your account information to anyone. Even if the mail reads that it is from your brokerage firm, don’t part with your log-in details. If in doubt call their customer support. They already have your details and they will never ask you for the same over email. Change your password regularly. And try to use all sorts of character to make is secure. Log-off the website after you are through with your transaction.
These are some of the basic rules that you need to stick to so that all your internet trades and transactions are safe and secure. This requires little effort, especially if you think about the losses you might endure otherwise.
While concerns about online security will always be there, rest assured that the brokerages themselves have a very, very high stake in making you feel comfortable about the level of security being used. All online brokerages have a portion of their website devoted to explaining the measures they employ to protect your transactions. While it may be true in this world that nothing is perfectly safe, online trading is certainly as close as off line trading in providing safety in your financial transactions.
If you are making securities transactions that take place over the Internet, make sure that your brokerage is using high-end encryption. Encryption is the process developed by super-genius computer nerds — but, you know, the good kind — to scramble data so that only the intended receiver can use it.
The higher the number of bits in an algorithm, the more sophisticated the encryption. (Repeat this last sentence three times, memorize it, and use it liberally in cocktail party conversations, particularly a conversation you wish to end.) A 128-bit algorithm is the encryption level used by most online brokerages.
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