Worried that someone could be hacking the stock market? Your fears are not completely unfounded. A hundred years ago, an actual trading floor with traders shouting out bids ran the stock market. Back then, hacking the stock market would have been impossible, but these days traders conduct most trading electronically through computers and other devices.
So is the stock market vulnerable to hackers? It’s hard to say but given that computers are in use, the answer is most likely yes. That’s why we’re going to provide some basic tips you can use to protect yourself and your investments. When it comes to managing your wealth, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Beyond markets, you should also be careful when it comes to your trading accounts to make sure that no one is hacked it either. The Internet provides a lot of convenience, but unfortunately thieves are enjoying this convenience as much as anyone else. There are several steps you can take, however, to protect yourself.
Stock exchange shut downs
In July of 2015 Anonymous warned of a NY stock exchange shut down just hours before it actually happened. On July 8th, the stock exchange shut down for about four hours, bringing trading to a halt and unnerving investors.
Officially, the shutdown was labeled as technical glitch. These do occur from time to time, and shutdowns are not unheard of. However, shut downs for four hours are quite rare, and Anonymous’s warning is highly suspicious.
The hacker group has already proven capable of attacking and shutting down major government and corporate websites, and has even taken on the Islamic State. While an attack on the NYSE exchange would demonstrate an immense level of technical skill and effort, it can’t be ruled out.
So can the stock market be hacked? Most likely. Was it hacked back in July? Possibly.
Protecting yourself from an unsafe stock market
So just how safe is the stock market? Honestly, perhaps the biggest factor to answering this question is to ask how well-diversified you are. An investor should never put all of his or her eggs into one basket. Doing so, exposes investors to too much risk.
This is an age old rule. Quite simply, it doesn’t matter how great a company looks, or how attractive its financials are, you should never invest all of your money into it. What if a scandal breaks out because the company has been cooking its books? Or what if a technological change suddenly makes the company less relevant? Or, what if someone hacks a market, or even a company? There are simply too many risks in markets.
Further, a savvy investor will diversify not only in terms of companies, but also industries and risk factors. A healthy portfolio is usually a portfolio that provides a good investment mix. Being diversified simply provides more protection.
This is especially true when it comes to stock market hacks. A diversified portfolio will stand a better chance of surviving the turbulence. Besides diversifying stocks, you should also diversify assets, and buy things like bonds, futures, and commodities. This will help protect you from a stock market security breach.
Protect Your Stock Accounts From Hacks
Another thing you need to be very careful about is the security for your own personal trading accounts. While hacks on stock exchanges are rare because of how intense the security is, attacks on individual accounts and portfolios are far more common.
Your first step should be to make sure that you have a strong password. Make sure that this password is not common with your other accounts, like your email. Hacks for such accounts are very common, and you don’t want your trading portfolio to be compromised simply because your email account was.
Next, you should be very careful about downloading software, and also make sure that you have an anti-virus program up and running. This will protect you from hackers.
You should also keep an eye out for phishing scams, which are emails through which people will pose as legitimate authorities and ask for sensitive information, like your password or social security number.
These steps mark just the beginning for securing your portfolio from hacks, and protecting it from potential stock market meltdowns caused by illicit activities. Security is very important when it comes to protecting your wealth, so make sure you take every step possible to protect yourself.