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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 https://atonline.alliancetrust.co.uk/atonline/login.jsp
ANZ Yes https://shareinvesting.anz.com/home.aspx
Angel Broking No http://www.angelbroking.com/online-share-trading
Bank of Scotland Yes https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/
Barclays Yes https://www.smartinvestor.barclays.co.uk/campaign/investment-account.html
Barclays Trading Hub Yes https://www.barclaystradinghub.co.uk/home/what-is-cfd-trading/spread-trading-versus-contracts-for-difference.html
Beaufort Securities Yes https://www.beaufortsecurities.com/online-share-dealing-t-14
Belforfx No http://bonus.belforfx.com
Broker Direct Yes https://www.brokerdirect.co.uk/News/ShareTradingNew.aspx
Charles Schwab No http://www.schwab.co.uk/public/schwab-uk-en/us-investing
Charles Stanley Direct Yes https://www.charles-stanley-direct.co.uk
Citi Yes https://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/equities.do
City Index Yes https://www.cityindex.co.uk/share-trading/
CMC Markets Yes https://www.cmcmarkets.com/en-au/markets-shares
Computershare Yes https://www.computershare.trade/
Degiro Yes https://www.degiro.co.uk/
Digital Look No http://www.digitallook.com
Direct Market Touch Yes https://www.directmarkettouch.com/
Etoro Yes https://www.etoro.com/
Easy Share Trading Yes https://easysharetrading.co.uk/stocks-and-shares-courses/
ETrade Yes https://us.etrade.com/home
ETX Capital Yes https://www.etxcapital.co.uk/equities-trading
Equiniti share view No http://www.shareview.co.uk/4/Info/Portfolio/Default/en/Home/Pages/Home.aspx
Fair Investment Company No http://www.fairinvestment.co.uk/uk_share_trading.aspx
Fantasy Stock Exchange No http://www.fantasystockexchange.biz/
FCMB Group Plc No http://fcmbgroup.com/share-trading-policy
First Direct No http://www1.firstdirect.com/1/2/savings-and-investments/sharedealing
Fortrade Yes https://www.fortrade.com/
Free Trade Yes https://freetrade.io/
FxPro Yes https://www.fxpro.co.uk/trading/shares
Get Stocks Yes https://getstocks.com
Halifax Yes https://www.halifax.co.uk/sharedealing/our-accounts/share-dealing-account/Default.asp
Hargreaves Lansdown No http://www.hl.co.uk/investment-services/fund-and-share-account
HSBC Yes https://investments.hsbc.co.uk/product/9/sharedealing
IG Yes https://www.ig.com/uk/shares
Interactive investor No http://www.iii.co.uk/
Internaxx Yes https://www.internaxx.com/
iDealing Yes https://www.idealing.com/en/index
iWeb No http://www.iweb-sharedealing.co.uk/share-dealing-home.asp
Lloyds Bank Yes https://www.lloydsbank.com/share-dealing/share-dealing-account.asp
London Capital Group Yes https://www.lcg.com/uk/
London South East No http://www.lse.co.uk/share-trading/
Natwest Invest Yes https://personal.natwest.com/personal/investments/natwest_invest/natwest-invest.html
Plus 500 Yes https://www.plus500.co.uk/Trading/Stocks
Redmayne Bentley Yes https://www.redmayne.co.uk/stockbroking
Religare broking No http://www.religareonline.com/
RHB Trade Smart Yes https://rhbtradesmart.com/
Saga share direct Yes http://www.sagasharedirect.co.uk/
Saxo Capital Markets Yes https://www.home.saxo/en-gb
Self Trade Yes https://selftrade.co.uk/
Shareprices.com Yes https://shareprices.com/trading/
Share Scope Yes https://www.sharescope.co.uk/
Stock Trade No http://www.stocktrade.co.uk/
Sure Trader Yes https://www.suretrader.com/
SVS XO Yes https://svsxo.com/
The share centre Yes https://www.share.com/share-account/
Westpac Yes https://www.westpac.com.au/personal-banking/investments/share-trading/
UAEXChange No http://www.uaeexchange-etrade.com/
UK Trading View Yes https://uk.tradingview.com/
Virgin Money Yes https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/isa/stocks-and-shares/#
Which Way To Pay No http://www.whichwaytopay.com/compare-share-dealing-summary.asp
XM Yes https://www.xm.co.uk/
XO No http://www.x-o.co.uk/
XTB Yes https://www.xtb.com/en
Yorkshire Building Society No http://sharedealing.ybs.co.uk/
You Invest Yes https://www.youinvest.co.uk/dealing-account

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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