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Old 07-15-2013, 08:03 PM   #1
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I heard some interesting advice the other day intended to protect us from thieves stealing our financial assets and identity.

The first option was to have a special computer just for financial use - transactions, checking balances and keeping encrypted records. No emailing, web surfing, game playing and no other users except for those we share our assets with. Of course, all security fixes are applied, anti-malware software is used, etc.

The second option is to use an iPad (due to Apple's more controlled environment), and only use the apps provided by the financial institution. Never use the iPad browser for accessing financial systems just the official app downloaded from the App Store. But, the iPad could be used for other thing like web browsing, etc. unlike the computer. The idea is that if one keeps his password and other ID data secret any violation of accounts and their information must be due to a fault in the app. Thus it is the financial institutions problem and they are responsible to make us whole.

Regardless of the above options avoid connecting to one's financial accounts on an unknown network. But if one must, such as while away from home, data from the iPad would be more secure.

I have heard that iPad is inherently more secure than the normal PC including Macs. My research backs this up but I am certainly not a computer or network security expert.

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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I think there was a thread a while back discussing this. Another option I have used before is a linux system on a USB stick. Plug it in, boot off the stick and do what you need to do, shutdown and remove the stick. You can pretty much boot any computer you have access to this way.

The ipad is more secure probably because root access is not available ( without some tweaking ). Don't run your windows PC with administrator rights will accomplish the same thing.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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I think it's a really bad idea. It's too easy to lose track of an iPad or leave it somewhere by accident or have concealed by a thief and transported far away quickly. Along with all you data.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #4
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I think it's a really bad idea. It's too easy to lose track of an iPad or leave it somewhere by accident or have concealed by a thief and transported far away quickly. Along with all you data.
I don't think the idea was to use an iPad for storing any data on the iPads' HD - just to use it to access financial accounts online.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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What has me wondering is the part about using just the financial institution's app on the iPad. Does that really make the institution responsible if the app somehow 'leaks' my data to a criminal who might drain my savings account? I wonder if that belief is wishful thinking or has some legal teeth behind it.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:58 PM   #6
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Or for Windows 7 or 8 set up a virtual machine running Xp to do the financial work. (For Windows 8 you can also run another copy of windows 8) You do need windows 8 professional to do this however. This essentially is the equivalent of the way big server installs now do business, a virtual machine for each web server. (If really paranoid, create 2 vms 1 for business and one for other purposes). But this does demand some level of technical sophistication.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:02 PM   #7
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Chromebook.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:01 AM   #8
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I may be missing something, but the only thing I really have to protect is my usernames & passwords. If someone sees my holdings, it's annoying but so what, many people publish that kind of detail here.

I know some people (here) look at their holdings online daily, but I think that increases the likelihood of a "security breach," and why bother if you're a long term, buy-n-hold investor? I don't care about paper losses/gains so I "look" on average quarterly or less, and I'd never use a public PC to access my financials.

I have an iPad, but I don't access my financial info with it other than having my holdings on Bloomberg (all modified by a factor so they look smaller than they actually are) so I can see market impact on my portfolio easily. However, I'd be surprised if I even look at that more than 4-6 times/year, so I may delete it.

So I have my many non-critical usernames/passwords in an Excel file on my PC HD, and the few that access financial institutions are kept in an Excel file on a USB flash drive. When I update the important passwords, I generate 5-10 "strong passwords" for each institution so I can change them periodically without having to access the flash drive. I've printed the latter and hidden the list, so I only have to actually put the flash drive in every several years. Seems reasonably secure to me, but maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:46 AM   #9
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My nephew is a programmer at a credit card co, working in the fraud dept. part of his job is hacking into their own systems, and then develop protection. He is paranoid about online security to the point that he uses encryption software on his personal stuff
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:44 PM   #10
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I know some people (here) look at their holdings online daily, but I think that increases the likelihood of a "security breach," and why bother if you're a long term, buy-n-hold investor? I don't care about paper losses/gains so I "look" on average quarterly or less, and I'd never use a public PC to access my financials.
I bother because I want to check to see that no one has changed the email address on the account and no one has initiated any transfer transactions on the account. If I see that happening, I can contact Vanguard before anything gets finalized. Checking quarterly (!) or even monthly or weekly doesn't do that as you can find out too late someone accessed your account.

I don't check on public WiFi networks, but when I'm at home I check on each business day.
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:36 PM   #11
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I bother because I want to check to see that no one has changed the email address on the account and no one has initiated any transfer transactions on the account. If I see that happening, I can contact Vanguard before anything gets finalized. Checking quarterly (!) or even monthly or weekly doesn't do that as you can find out too late someone accessed your account.

I don't check on public WiFi networks, but when I'm at home I check on each business day.
I "invested" a $199 for a Google Chromebook whose sole purpose is for online transactions and investment monitoring. I don't know if it was necessary or not. Probably no more necessary than me blowing $119 for an HP Slate 7 inch tablet I bought online today. Just couldn't pass it up and was itching to waste some money today.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:34 PM   #12
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I "invested" a $199 for a Google Chromebook whose sole purpose is for online transactions and investment monitoring. I don't know if it was necessary or not. Probably no more necessary than me blowing $119 for an HP Slate 7 inch tablet I bought online today. Just couldn't pass it up and was itching to waste some money today.
Do you have a monthly fee with the Chromebook?
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:56 PM   #13
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Do you have a monthly fee with the Chromebook?
No, I think there is a fee for using a certain amount of "cloud space", but I do not use any. Google controls all the security so none is needed on the chromebook. When you close out of the laptop the info is wiped out. I have the Acer Chromebook, but Samsung has a little better one with stronger battery for $50 more.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:25 AM   #14
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My nephew is a programmer at a credit card co, working in the fraud dept. part of his job is hacking into their own systems, and then develop protection. He is paranoid about online security to the point that he uses encryption software on his personal stuff
Is he using anything more than encrypted hard drives/filesystem? This is what I use on my mac (filevault) and it is both painless and seamless. I'd use the same on windows too.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:45 AM   #15
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I
I know some people (here) look at their holdings online daily, but I think that increases the likelihood of a "security breach," and why bother if you're a long term, buy-n-hold investor?
For me it goes beyond long term investing, I use mint which aggregates my accounts so it is easy to take a daily peek at what transactions happened across everything from bank to cc to investments.

I've found it much better than my old way of once per month looking at every transaction on every account, since daily things are fresh in my head and if some nefarious activity happened I'd see it and be dealing with it within a day or two.

Knowing investment gains/losses and net worth is a plus, but it is mainly for the day-to-day stuff.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:46 AM   #16
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No, I think there is a fee for using a certain amount of "cloud space", but I do not use any.
Yup but what you get for free now is way more than someone using a Chromebook as a finance appliance would bump against.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #17
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Yup but what you get for free now is way more than someone using a Chromebook as a finance appliance would bump against.
Are you referring to the internal storage capacity of the Chromebook? I do not believe that they have much storage capacity. The only thing I have used it for is online transactions. I should take 10 minutes and go to their store and see if they have some of the apps for my bank, credit cards, and Vanguard. All I have done is just book marked the sites, so when I sign into my google account they are there at the top of the screen ready to sign into.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:41 PM   #18
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I now do all my surfing on my tablet. If I buy something online, I sign in on my laptop and get a virtual CC number and use that. I can get CC transactions on Quicken 13 android app securely. My laptop is only used to sign in to my financial websites, nothing else.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:01 PM   #19
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Are you referring to the internal storage capacity of the Chromebook? I do not believe that they have much storage capacity.
Nah I mean the cloud storage. It is currently 15 gigs for free, which isn't easy to fill up with documents related to finances. Chromebook itself (at least my Samsung) has 16 gigs onboard.

Sure one can fill up 15 gig by uploading videos, music, and lots of high-res photos but for someone using it mainly to handle their online finances isn't likely to run out of space on the free tier.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:36 PM   #20
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Nah I mean the cloud storage. It is currently 15 gigs for free, which isn't easy to fill up with documents related to finances. Chromebook itself (at least my Samsung) has 16 gigs onboard.

Sure one can fill up 15 gig by uploading videos, music, and lots of high-res photos but for someone using it mainly to handle their online finances isn't likely to run out of space on the free tier.
Gotcha. I couldn't remember if some storage was free, then you pay, or just a trial period was free. Yes, I agree for me anyways, I will never need 16. Probably don't need one gig. I have only found a couple apps on my iPad that I bothered to even download and keep. Of course this site was one of the few though!
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