Should I use a dedicated machine for my Internet banking?

Robert H May 21, 2014
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I have read that you should consider a dedicated machine to do your banking. A machine that is not used for anything else no browsing the web, no email, no other programs. The more isolated the machine the less chance of picking up malware and/or the like.

I am thinking about doing this for online banking.I have a old netbook, but it’s running Windows XP. I can pick up a cheap laptop or even a tablet.

Should the operating system be an issue?

What is the way to go?

Thanks

 

  1. Pierre
    May 28, 2014 at 8:16 am

    @Tim B: that advice of using Puppy Linux was originally given out some years ago, by a local police sargent :(

    Running it on a mem stick would be a great idea !.

  2. Robert H
    May 21, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for all the input. I like the USB solution alot.

    What I've elected to try is creating a virtual machine using the vmware player and linux mint. So far all the financial sites seem to work with linux but we'll see. I have installed WOT but I do not intend to use the VM for any browsing.

    • Hovsep A
      May 22, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Thanks for your feedback, if you wish to close the thread a solved, from your makeuseof account select the best answer.

  3. Bruce E
    May 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    If you don't want to install a separate browser for banking and you are using a browser (such as Firefox) that supports profiles, you can simply create a separate banking profile for it where all unnecessary addons and extensions are disabled. You could even set it up so it can only be used to connect to your financial institutions by using Easy Whitelist or a similar addon so you won't mistakenly browse to any other sites while using that profile.

  4. Ben S
    May 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    All of the above advice is great. Something I might recommend that isn't tough to implement at all is using a separate browser for banking or sensitive activity.

    If you typically use Chrome, install Firefox and only use that for banking activity. You can keep all of your favorite extensions in your main browser and only open up Firefox to bank. Keep it clean and only use it when you have to do something sensitive. An entire operating system is overkill; as long as you follow typical security practices there's no need for that.

    And like the other have said: don't use Windows XP anymore.

    • dragonmouth
      May 22, 2014 at 12:06 am

      "using a separate browser for banking or sensitive activity."
      I hope you meany any browser but IE.

    • Ben S
      May 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      @Dragonmouth: Yes, I figured that was a given : )

  5. dragonmouth
    May 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    ANY PC becomes insecure as soon as it is becomes connected to the Internet. If you are going to use a stand alone PC for your banking, it should be powered off at all times that you are not actually connected to the bank. That will minimize the chance of attack.

    I would suggest you replace XP with a Linux distro to increase security, however, I know that most banks will only allow you to connect with a Windows PC.

  6. Dave P
    May 21, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Both previous posters have offered good, solid advice. I agree with Tim that using a dedicated machine is probably overkill, especially if it's running XP. A big part of staying safe online is common sense, with the use of firewalls and virus protection there as a backup for when that common sense fails to materialize.

    The unfortunate fact is there is always a chance of having an online account compromised, no matter how careful you may be. So don't stress yourself out too much about it.

  7. Dalsan M
    May 21, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Another option is using Comodo Internet Security as it has a sandboxed desktop called Virtual Kiosk. For extra security against keyloggers, there is an option to use a virtual keyboard since keystrokes there aren't picked up by keyloggers. More information can be found here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2414837,00.asp and configuration guide here: http://help.comodo.com/topic-72-1-451-4896-.html.

  8. Tim B
    May 21, 2014 at 12:24 am

    I have never really heard this advice, and if I had I would probably have discounted it. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure your machine is secure, like running regular virus and malware scans, using a good browser and being careful about what extensions you install as well as checking who is looking over your shoulder (and ensuring your credentials are stored safely).

    One thing I would certainly not recommend is using an old netbook running Windows XP, which is now known to be an insecure operating system. Updates have ceased, security holes will crop up on a regular basis – I really wouldn't recommend it. Stick to your main machine, running an updated version of Windows 7 or 8, install a few good malware scanners and practice good security – don't install weird extensions, use something like Web of Trust to ensure the sites you are visiting are genuine.

    One thing you could consider (though for me it's still overkill) is installing a Linux distribution (like Ubuntu, or a smaller, lighter one like Puppy) on a USB stick and booting into it to do your banking. Linux is considered pretty secure, keyloggers and other Windows malware don't affect it though you will still need to be careful about visiting genuine sites (phishing).

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