Feds Warn Small Businesses to Use Dedicated PC for Online Banking | Threat Level | Wired.com


Feds Warn Small Businesses to Use Dedicated PC for Online Banking | Threat Level | Wired.com

This story is a few days old, but it’s worth blogging about (especially since most people will be returning to work tomorrow).  The FBI, along with the American Banking Association, are recommending that small businesses set aside one computer for solely doing your online banking.  No Facebook, No Twitter, No E-mail….  Just accessing your online bank. 

It’s a good idea—if it works.  But, without strong policies that prevent employees from using the computer to surf other websites, it won’t fix anything.  One other way to safeguard this is to lock the computer in a room, and only give the keys to people who need to have access to your bank.  Of course, the same problems arise (about not having policies in place).

This is also a good idea for families at home (especially those with multiple computers).  Dedicate one computer for your online banking and shopping.  Make sure that no one else can physically access it (lock it in your study or a room that serves as your home office) unless you want them to (your spouse).

Another idea that would work for everyone was presented here.  The author suggested that you use a Linux-based LiveCD to do your online banking and shopping.  While this has the disadvantage of you having to reboot into the CD and then reboot back to Windows, it has the advantage of being able to be used on any computer (instead of one dedicated computer).

Either option will work.  As long as you follow a few basic rules.  Keep the computer (liveCD) updated.  In the case of the dedicated computer, have Automatic Updates turned on, a firewall and antivirus installed (and updated), and only use it for the purposes intended (don’t check your e-mail on it).  In the case of the LiveCD, each time you boot it, you can get the updates (although it will be every single update that has been released—every time you reboot it).  You also can burn a new LiveCD every time they release one.  This will minimize the amount of updates that you have to get each time you boot up.

My preference right now is the Live CD.  The reason for this is because Linux is not being targeted as much as Windows.  So, you have less chance of getting hit with spyware or a virus on the Live CD.  Plus, the CD is “read-only” which means that the viruses cannot infect the CD.  The next time you boot up, no viruses. 

However, you are still vulnerable to phishing attacks.  So, I cannot stress this enough.  DO NOT CHECK YOUR E-MAIL OR SURF THE WEB with the computer or Live CD. 

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

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