Either I’ve been caught up binge-watching Mr. Robot these days or I’m really noticing a rise in hacking incidents and outages among forex brokers lately. Just the same, I thought you ought to know how to protect your account in case your broker gets targeted by hackers or suffers prolonged technical problems.
Huh? What hacking incidents?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen headlines about FXCM’s cybersecurity incident earlier this month. The forex broker issued a statement disclosing that a security breach involving unauthorized access to customer information led to a small number of wire transfers from some accounts.
In the same statement, FXCM has also assured that the funds have been returned to the appropriate accounts and that clients have been notified. In addition, the company has set up a dedicated webpage where customers can access the necessary information and FAQs.
Soon after, Canadian-based forex broker OANDA suffered technical problems, preventing clients from accessing their accounts for hours. According to OANDA, the platform outage was just an “internal network issue” and that customer data and funds remained secure. Prior to this, larger exchanges such as the NYSE and Moscow Exchange have been encountering multiple technical glitches as well. Coincidence? Edward Snowden would think not!
Aren’t brokers doing anything to protect themselves from attacks?
Since brokers are trusted with client information and funds, customers should be able to rest assured that privacy and security are taken very seriously. Firms typically have a number of features in place in order to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data while financial regulators are also on the lookout for potential cyberattacks.
According to VP of Business Development and Cyber Strategy Uri Rivner of cyberfraud prevention company BioCatch, banks and financial firms could still be vulnerable to threats from remote access Trojans or RATS. This type of malware can take control of a browser and operated remotely, possibly gaining admin access or replicating client account login pages to collect account IDs and passwords without being detected.
Another cybersecurity problem facing brokers is that of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, which can compromise a company’s servers and allow hackers to breach their databases or disable security features. As Ron Finberg of Finance Magnates wrote, these outages illustrate how the advancements in trading technology have made it more difficult for IT professionals to maintain these increasingly complicated networks.
Some forex companies have already ramped up their security features by introducing two-factor authentication procedures or IP checks to monitor suspicious account logins. On your part, you should periodically reset your passwords as a precautionary measure as well.
Yikes! What if my forex broker gets hacked or suffers an outage?
First things first, don’t panic. Forex brokers have protocols in place to advise their clients to reset their password or verify account information when they suspect that they’ve been hacked. What you should be particularly vigilant about are fraudsters mimicking these “Reset Your Password” or “Verify Account Information” pages to get a copy of your information so make sure you’ve received a notification from your forex broker directly.
One way to do this would be to check the sender’s email address and make sure that it’s the same one that has been sending your account notifications in the past. And I don’t just mean simply looking at the sender name that pops up on your inbox; double-check the actual email address on the message itself. Read the entire message carefully to spot typos or grammatical errors too because those are dead giveaways.
If you’re still unsure whether the email notification concerning your account information is legit or not, better contact your forex broker’s customer support directly. Ain’t no shame in being extra careful! It’s only your hard-earned money on the line after all!
Now if you’ve been having trouble logging in to your forex account for quite some time and starting to worry that your broker is suffering a cybersecurity attack, calm down and check the company’s website or social media accounts for any relevant updates.