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Posts tagged: stock

List of UK stock trading websites that are not secure by default

By , December 19, 2017 12:06 pm

This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks.

The reason for splitting this data into multiple posts is to make it more manageable. So that data on one institution is not mixed with data on another type of institution.

I thought it would be interesting to look at each bank in the UK to see if when you visit their company homepage, is that secure by default? That is, is the page loaded by HTTPS? There are more tests than this that you could do, but that’s the baseline. If they can’t meet that then the other tests are meaningless.

Some banks provide the website in both http and https versions. This is bad practice. If someone visits the website as http then the customer should be served the https version of the page.

Also please note, these test results are for a desktop computer visiting the website. A mobile phone may well get a different experience. In other words desktop visitors may get a secure site, but mobile visitors might not. Or vice versa.

The following key is used for the secure status:

Yes The site is secure, loaded via https
Dual The site can be loaded via http, or via https.
Invalid The site loads via https, but the security certificate is invalid and thus the site is insecure.
Partial The site loads via https, but loads some parts of the page without https. The site is insecure.
No The site is loaded via http, not via https.
Fixed The site is loaded via https, but at the time of first writing it was loaded via http.
?? We could not find a website to evaluate.

We tested 66 stock trading websites, most of them based in the UK. We found 20 stock trading websites that did not have a secure home page (not https or did have https with an invalid security certificate). That is 30% of stock trading websites have security vulnerabilities.

Stock Trader Secure Home Page
Alliance Trust Saving Yes
Angel Broking No
Bank of Scotland Yes
Barclays Yes
Barclays Trading Hub Yes
Beaufort Securities Yes
Belforfx No
Broker Direct Yes
Charles Schwab No
Charles Stanley Direct Yes
Citi Yes
City Index Yes
CMC Markets Yes
Computershare Yes
Degiro Yes
Digital Look No
Direct Market Touch Yes
Etoro Yes
Easy Share Trading Yes
ETrade Yes
ETX Capital Yes
Equiniti share view No
Fair Investment Company No
Fantasy Stock Exchange No
FCMB Group Plc No
First Direct No
Fortrade Yes
Free Trade Yes
FxPro Yes
Get Stocks Yes
Halifax Yes
Hargreaves Lansdown No
IG Yes
Interactive investor No
Internaxx Yes
iDealing Yes
iWeb No
Lloyds Bank Yes
London Capital Group Yes
London South East No
Natwest Invest Yes
Plus 500 Yes
Redmayne Bentley Yes
Religare broking No
RHB Trade Smart Yes
Saga share direct Yes
Saxo Capital Markets Yes
Self Trade Yes Yes
Share Scope Yes
Stock Trade No
Sure Trader Yes
The share centre Yes
Westpac Yes
UAEXChange No
UK Trading View Yes
Virgin Money Yes
Which Way To Pay No
XM Yes
Yorkshire Building Society No
You Invest Yes

Charles Schwab & First Direct

First Direct were the first bank without a bank branch in the UK. That is they’ve always been online only. But their website is not secure by default. It is vulnerable to a man in the middle attack.

Charles Schwab was one of the very first share trading sites aimed at making share trading easy, even for non-experts. As such they’ve been around for a long time. But their website is not secure by default. It is vulnerable to a man in the middle attack.

Just because a business is established, that doesn’t mean you can trust their security.

Fantasy Stock Exchange

Fantasy Stock Exchange is website where children can go to trade pretend stocks and shares. To understand what is happening without any financial risks. It’s an interesting idea. But it’s not secure by default. Anything where children are involved I’d like to think that is secure, we read enough unpleasant stuff about grooming in other environments without their accounts being at risk as well.

Insecure Login

Most of these insecure websites are secure when you try to login, but not secure on the homepage. That makes them vulnerable to a man in the middle attack. However, one stock trading site, Digital Look, is completely insecure, even the login page is not secure, and has a remember me option!

Insecure Browser Extension

Another website was so problematic that we could not visit the website without being forced to install a chrome extension, that was allegedly to improve our security while using their site. The problems with this is are numerous:

  • The extension is downloaded from a non-disclosed location (you can’t see where it’s downloaded from, a website name briefly flashes past that is not destination website).
  • The extension is download from a non-secure location. Thus it could be anything.
  • You can’t verify anything about the extension before installing it in Chrome.
  • Whether you choose to install an extension in order to view a website should be a choice, not mandatory.

We were going to name this company, but when we later tried to reproduce this to get some screenshots of this dangerous chrome extension behaviour could not be repeated. If you see behaviour like this with a website please let us know.


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