Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
safety of accessing accounts on public wireless
Old 10-31-2008, 07:15 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
simple girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,505
safety of accessing accounts on public wireless

I know this has been discussed before, so I apologize for the repeat question. Is it safe to access your accounts and make transactions via the free wireless that is offerred in a hotel room (via my own laptop)?

I'm familiar with computers, but not a computer geek, so when I read over other emails on this my eyes kinda glazed over. Would someone mind educating me on this in layman's terms?
__________________

__________________
simple girl
less stuff, more time

(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
simple girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-31-2008, 07:28 AM   #2
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 49
The security should be on your browser and laptop level. So if your browser is secured (128-bit encryption) and you laptop have firewall, then you should be fine.

Also do you have any security software installed, such as Norton or McAfee? These softwares provide an extra level of protection on top of the ones mentioned above.

Also turn-off any auto-completion feature in your browser
__________________

__________________
Tempesta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 07:46 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
simple girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempesta View Post
The security should be on your browser and laptop level. So if your browser is secured (128-bit encryption) and you laptop have firewall, then you should be fine.

Also do you have any security software installed, such as Norton or McAfee? These softwares provide an extra level of protection on top of the ones mentioned above.

Also turn-off any auto-completion feature in your browser

I have Internet Explorer and under the Security tab it is set for "Medium-High". In terms of encryption, the sites I would go to would have the https and security lock noted - is that what you are referring to?

Regarding firewall, I assumed it was on, but eeeks that was a bad assumption. Somehow it had been turned off. I have no idea how. I turned it back on.

I have Norton. How do I turn off the auto-completion feature?

Thanks!!!!!!!!!
__________________
simple girl
less stuff, more time

(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
simple girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 08:00 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Not an expert here, but while I wouldn't worry too much about https:// type transmission, you should be aware of things like keystroke logging, leaving open windows with login information viewable, etc.. My friend in IT tells me that the biggest risk is in shared computers serving transient users (e.g. internet cafes) where such snooping could be pre-meditated and just sitting in ambush.

In that sense, hand-helds may be safer than computers (no sharing with others). I try to do my sensitive transactions from a computer I know well, mostly from home.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 08:05 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
simple girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Not an expert here, but while I wouldn't worry too much about https:// type transmission, you should be aware of things like keystroke logging, leaving open windows with login information viewable, etc.. My friend in IT tells me that the biggest risk is in shared computers serving transient users (e.g. internet cafes) where such snooping could be pre-meditated and just sitting in ambush.

In that sense, hand-helds may be safer than computers (no sharing with others). I try to do my sensitive transactions from a computer I know well, mostly from home.

Isn't keystroke logging where they have some kind of device inside the computer that records what you type, and then later they retrieve it from that computer? If so, I should be safe from that if I am using my own laptop - no? (Same thing with leaving an open browser page from your last login - ok if you close the browser, and it is your own laptop - more of a risk if it is a public computer...right??) Sounds like that is what you are saying, but I want to make very sure I understand!
__________________
simple girl
less stuff, more time

(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
simple girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by simple girl View Post
Isn't keystroke logging where they have some kind of device inside the computer that records what you type, and then later they retrieve it from that computer? If so, I should be safe from that if I am using my own laptop - no?
Yes. The keystroke logging risk is on untrusted computers.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 08:28 AM   #7
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by simple girl View Post
I have Internet Explorer and under the Security tab it is set for "Medium-High". In terms of encryption, the sites I would go to would have the https and security lock noted - is that what you are referring to?

Regarding firewall, I assumed it was on, but eeeks that was a bad assumption. Somehow it had been turned off. I have no idea how. I turned it back on.

I have Norton. How do I turn off the auto-completion feature?

Thanks!!!!!!!!!
Newer IE version is 128-bit, but to be safe, go to Help --> About Internet Explorer --> Look at Cypher Strength. It should say 128-bit, if not upgrade your IE

About AutoCompletion, go to Tools --> Content --> AutoComplete, uncheck Forms AND User Names and Password. This is basically a cache, if somehow, a phishing scripts manage to penetrate your other defenses, at least it won't find anything important like your user names or password. The drawback is that you have to remember all user names and passwords for all the sites you've registered on. So it's your call. Most financial institutions don't allow auto-completion features on their login page, some do

If you use other browsers, such as Mozilla or Firefox, they have anti-phishing script add-on. I don't know about IE. I don't use IE much
__________________
Tempesta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 02:58 PM   #8
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,949
Quote:
Originally Posted by simple girl View Post
I know this has been discussed before, so I apologize for the repeat question. Is it safe to access your accounts and make transactions via the free wireless that is offerred in a hotel room (via my own laptop)?
I don't use a free hotel wireless to access my bank or Vanguard account on my laptop, even with Norton. Never. I didn't even do this during my recent Gustav evacuation.

Apparently I am overly cautious! But at least I know my money is safe.

I do access these accounts using my home wireless connection, which is well secured.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 04:21 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
Life_is_Good's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Yes. The keystroke logging risk is on untrusted computers.
I have to disagree. Keystroke logging can happen on any PC... even your own. Here's how...

Let's say you download a new game for your kids, software application, or other "program file". Unless you get it from a "trusted site"... there could be a trojan included with the program/game/etc that installs and begins logging your keystrokes. Those keystroke logging programs will send it's findings to servers setup to capture these log files which may include your User ID's, passwords and other personally identifiable information.

In addition to all the other helpful advice posted in this thread, I would encourage folks to only run programs/games/etc from "trusted sites". Also, be sure to scan your pc regularly (at least weekly) with one of the major antivirus applications (Norton, McAfee, Grisoft, etc).

Be safe out there!
__________________
Life_is_Good is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 04:51 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
If available, I would use a network wire instead of wireless. If you use wireless... make sure you connect to the hotel's network... not an evil twin. Evil twin (wireless networks) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2008, 08:26 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,441
I agree 100% with chinaco about using the wire. Much safer.

Want2Retire, if your connection is secure (https) you really don't have anything to worry about. Account information gets stolen from the server (bank or company) side, not the client side. There is always the faint possibility of a logger or rootkit sending your info out to some crook, but if so it would happen from your home too. Not telling you to do anything you would be uncomfortable with, but there's no real reason not to use hotel networks.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2008, 04:15 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 524
As others have already said you should be safe if your connection is over https (SSL). However, there is another step you should take to verify the identity of the site you are connected to. In order to check, just click on the little lock in the lower corner of the browser and look at the SSL Certificate. You should probably start checking certificates from home so that you can get a feeling for what's in them.

In general I assume that my browsing traffic is not secure when I am connected over a network that isn't trusted. I avoid logging into banks and doing internet transactions in this case. When this isn't practical, check the certificates and you should be OK.
__________________
JB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2008, 12:30 AM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
If available, I would use a network wire instead of wireless. If you use wireless... make sure you connect to the hotel's network... not an evil twin. Evil twin (wireless networks) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
That's a great start, but this conversation just isn't the same without CFB & Wab slinging scenarios at each other...
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2008, 03:40 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
martyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bossier City
Posts: 2,182
My family & I have been living in a hotel (Holiday Inn Express) for the last 2 months following our move to Wisconsin. We're moving into a rental home tomorrow. I've been doing all of our banking, bill paying & other business from my room, on my own desktop computer which I brought with me & set up on the hotel's wireless system. I tried to get the wired system to work, but could never make it function right, and nobody at the hotel seems to know much about it. Hopefully I won't log on one day soon to find my accounts drained and all my credit maxed out lol! That could really put a put a damper on our plans to retire in 4 yrs.
__________________
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
-John F. Kennedy

“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” - Edgar Bergen
martyb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 07:54 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,556
I miss CFB. I hope that he returns soon.
__________________
Dreamer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2008, 08:26 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
I miss CFB. I hope that he returns soon.
spam him with pm's with the promises of bacon.
__________________

__________________
Notmuchlonger is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Be careful managing assets, accounts, money, over the internet on wireless chinaco Life after FIRE 51 05-21-2007 09:58 AM
Food Safety Danny Other topics 16 05-05-2007 11:38 AM
Cheap PC just for accessing finanacial information. landover Other topics 3 01-27-2007 07:06 PM
Accessing the internet while travelling overseas MJ Life after FIRE 32 12-23-2006 02:37 PM
Help about public wireless access and security MJ Other topics 11 08-16-2006 03:04 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:18 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.