Making Sure Your PC is Secure Before Trading Online - NETSEC


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Cybersecurity Memo

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Making Sure Your PC is Secure Before Trading Online

Thanks to innovations and advancements in today’s technology, some of our daily practices can now be accomplished from home. Take online courses and distance learning as an example. Because of today’s blazing internet speeds and remote teleconference tools, students and educators can connect relatively easily and talk to each other.

However, cyber threats towards unsuspecting individuals have also become more sophisticated, elaborate, and destructive. In 2020, it was reported that ransomware demands have increased globally by 80% — costing Canadian individuals and organizations hundreds of millions of dollars.

This rise in cyberattacks is especially alarming to those whose livelihood depends on remote programs and applications, like online traders. Full-time traders use online brokerages, which allow them to buy or sell investment vehicles like bonds, stocks, and ETFs using their computers and other devices at home. Indeed, this has become the more convenient and accessible option. However, online brokerages also come with the risk of digital theft if traders aren't careful to secure their devices.

That being said, here are some ways to ensure your PC is secure before trading online.

Use a VPN

While many online brokerages will give you assurance that their platform is secure and resistant to cyber threats, it’s still recommended that you safeguard your internet connection by using a VPN. Essentially, a VPN will protect your identity and browsing information from hackers and other snoops by encrypting the data your computer sends and receives. This is even more important if you decide to trade online using a non-private Wi-Fi connection, where you have no control over its security.

Update Your Software

As aforementioned, cyber threats have become more advanced and sophisticated over the years. If you fail to update your software on a regular basis, you may be exposing your precious data. No matter how monotonous the updates are, they are a necessity because they patch software vulnerabilities. So, don’t skip any software updates when you get a notification, especially for vital trading and PC software — including your browser, antivirus program, multimedia platforms, document viewers, and other online brokerage applications.

Use Strong Passwords

The importance of a strong password cannot be overstated. In many cases, passwords are often the weak spot that allows cyber criminals to infiltrate an organization’s security structure. In online trading where your hard-earned money and investments are on the line, it is critical that you choose a strong password. If you find it difficult to create or remember complex, but secure, passwords, download a password manager as a solution. This can generate long and complex passwords, which can be stored in an encrypted container so you won’t need to memorize every character or write it down. In doing so, you can safeguard your investments and money from scheming hackers.

Install Anti-Malware Software

One of the main methods cyber criminals use to take advantage of vulnerable computers is through malware. In a nutshell, malware is a program that’s specifically designed to wreak havoc on a computer, client, computer network, or server. Once this enters your PC, the password to your trading and other financial accounts may be stolen by cybercriminals. Thankfully, anti-malware programs such as Malwarebytes and Kaspersky exist as a preemptive solution to block them from entering your computer system and doing any harm to your online trading career.

Like we said, you put your hard-earned money at stake when you decide to pursue a career in online trading. To make it worth the risk, make sure to eliminate the cybersecurity dangers that come with online trading. Practice basic cybersecurity measures and heed the tips we’ve listed above.

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