Stock trading and investing app Robinhood infiltrated, leaving thousands hacked

Robinhood trading app
(Image credit: Robinhood)

Popular stock trading and investing app Robinhood has suffered a security breach. Following an investigation the company has revealed that upwards of 2,000 Robinhood Markets accounts could have been compromised by hackers, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Reports of the hack originally appeared last week, but Robinhood has been cagey with its response. It has admitted that customers have been targeted, in limited numbers according to officials, but it also maintains that access to accounts had been obtained using external email addresses not related to Robinhood. The cybercriminals then used the email addresses to gain access to user accounts at Robinhood.

Investors who use Robinhood have taken to social media to express their disdain about the unfolding security breach, with many complaining that it has been impossible to contact the company. Deemed by some as the best trading app out there, Robinhood has subscriber numbers in excess of 13 million.

Two-factor authentication

Many of the best accounting and finance packages require users to enable two-factor authentication on accounts, and this week Robinhood has echoed that thinking. It now advises Robinhood users to employ the same practice and account holders will also be encouraged to read additional advice on security issues, which the company plans to release shortly.

While the numbers affected look to be reasonably high, many Robinhood users have stated that there have been very few tell-tale signs that their accounts have been breached. Some users have reported losing funds while others remain unable to check their trading balances after apparently being locked out of their accounts.

Demand for trading apps is growing particularly due to global lockdowns, the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the ease with which subscribers can get into the world of stocks and shares at home. Robinhood is currently valued at $11.2 billion, although more recently it has not been without negative press.

Most notably there was the suicide of a 20-year-old student in June who’d amassed a large negative account balance using a Robinhood account. The tragedy drew criticism about the ease with which fledgling traders could get themselves into financial hot water. The company has since stated it’s going to enrol more financial service advisors to help educate novice users and raise public perception of potential pitfalls.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.