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One computer - for financial use only
Old 03-31-2014, 11:19 AM   #1
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One computer - for financial use only

In previous discussions concerning protecting ourselves on the web several people have mentioned having a designated computer that they use only for financial transactions. It might be anything from a new Machine to an older one with limited power or a simple Chromebook.

I am curious what transactions are performed only on this machine. Are they only banking/financial transactions such as moving funds about, paying bills through the bank's system, balancing one's AA, etc.?

Or, do you also makes purchases on this special computer, also - such as buying items through Amazon or other online retailers? Do you only check things like your credit card balance on the exclusive machine?

I guess what I want to know is where you draw the line when deciding if you need to use the 'special' computer versus the general purpose computer.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:22 PM   #2
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I do have a stripped down, dedicated 'banking' computer - no flash player or other non-critical software.
I draw the line at sensitive financial transactions only i.e. - banking, paying credit card/bills, taxes, Social Security website, portfolio maintenance etc. No e-commerce or web surfing.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:29 PM   #3
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Yes, we have a financial computer that only gets used to access banks, investment houses, retirement accounts.

I use the regular computer for credit cards since there is really little liability there if you report any fraud.

Can you imagine the difficulty reversing a trade though if someone hacked into your investment account and bought 10,000 weekly Apple options $50 out of the money (or just buying and sold at the ask and bid a few times over an hour could cost you many thousands).

A $200 laptop never used for anything else seems like safe insurance. If I get a virus from Wells Fargo website, I am going to sue if I lose money via fraud.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:37 PM   #4
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If you want separate computer system, you can download virtualbox and run a system in its own virtual space without buying a 2nd computer. Up to this point, hackers do not attack individual computers , they go after the servers, that's where the money is, ie Target fiasco.
A separate computer is not going to help you.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
If you want separate computer system, you can download virtualbox and run a system in its own virtual space without buying a 2nd computer. Up to this point, hackers do not attack individual computers , they go after the servers, that's where the money is, ie Target fiasco.
A separate computer is not going to help you.
Of course virtual box represents a seperate computer. But if you want to run windows you get to buy another license for it $100 please. Now if you can handle linux the cost of the software is free. If your basically doing financial things on the web then a vm running linux with firefox (stripped down) would work well.
BTW today just to try it I installed Windows XP into virtual Box and applied sp 2 and sp3 took about 2 hours.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by teejayevans View Post
If you want separate computer system, you can download virtualbox and run a system in its own virtual space without buying a 2nd computer. Up to this point, hackers do not attack individual computers , they go after the servers, that's where the money is, ie Target fiasco.
A separate computer is not going to help you.
I am not sure what your are saying. Is it your position that criminals do not try and get access to our passwords, etc. by using things such as key loggers on our computers? Or that it does not happen very often.

Alas, I can't do much if a company I do business with does not protect the information I have given in (other than taking my business someplace else.)
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:24 PM   #7
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Not for the purpose of security, but I also use a virtual machine, VMware Player. It is free and excellent. I highly recommend it.

I have tried to run newer versions of Quicken but cannot deal with the awful lag when entering brokerage transactions. I don't mind entering them manually, but can't deal with a 30+ second wait after each one. So, I run Quicken 99-no lag at all. I had been keeping my old Windows XP machine so that I could run it.

With XP losing support soon, and because my old machine's hard drive was getting full-ish, and good web browsers are becoming harder to run on XP, I decided to get a new Windows 8.1 machine. I run Quicken 99 in the VMware Player running XP and all is good. I did have to buy another copy of XP for $200, but well worth it. Fully updated (also took a long time, but it is done). I don't think it would be possible to do this after April 8.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:51 PM   #8
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I do use a chromebook for financial stuff, although it isn't dedicated I also use it for almost all web surfing. Only difference is when doing financial stuff I'll use the guest account, since that doesn't load any 3rd party tools/plugins/apps.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I am not sure what your are saying. Is it your position that criminals do not try and get access to our passwords, etc. by using things such as key loggers on our computers? Or that it does not happen very often.

.)

The latter, key logging usually done by somebody who access your computer you left unlock, or like many do you write userids and passwds down a piece of paper?
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:03 PM   #10
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Of course virtual box represents a seperate computer. But if you want to run windows you get to buy another license for it $100 please. Now if you can handle linux the cost of the software is free. If your basically doing financial things on the web then a vm running linux with firefox (stripped down) would work well.
BTW today just to try it I installed Windows XP into virtual Box and applied sp 2 and sp3 took about 2 hours.

You should make a copy of your new XP system, save you install time if you need a 2nd system
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I am not sure what your are saying. Is it your position that criminals do not try and get access to our passwords, etc. by using things such as key loggers on our computers? Or that it does not happen very often.

Alas, I can't do much if a company I do business with does not protect the information I have given in (other than taking my business someplace else.)
Assume your looking to score information would you go were you might get access to 1 account or where you could get access to many at one time. Crooks are lazy and so prefer to go where they can get a lot of return for their efforts. If you are a random person, how much can they get? Versus going after servers where there are lot more goodies to be gotten.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:41 PM   #12
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I don't think a separate PC would provide adequate protection:
Why Limit Online Banking to One Computer? | Financial Security | TechNewsDaily.com
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