The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.A newsletter reader sent an email message with a question that I think everyone should think about. I don't believe he realized that I had supplied the answer a few days earlier in a Plus Edition newsletter article.
First, thank you for all your technical advice on using computers. Because of you, I purchased an off line back up system that I had to use just the other day for a corrupted file. Saved me from losing a week's work on one family line. Also, I just purchased the handheld scanner based on your article.
I am going to be presumptuous and ask you a non-genealogy related question on security and ID theft. I have had several malware problems this year. All have been solved. But it has made me think about our financial links and records. This may be extreme, but does it make sense to buy a laptop that is dedicated solely to your financial affairs? It would never be used to go to any web sites except for the financial institutions. When not in use, its connection to the Internet would be turned off. It would never leave our apartment. It seems to be that it reduces to almost zero the possibility that you will get malware designed to get this information. Any thoughts?
I love your newsletter.
Thank you for writing.The remainder of this article is for Plus Edition subscribers only.
You are in good company: many people have the same concerns about online banking. FBI Director Robert Mueller told an audience in San Francisco how he nearly fell for a bank phishing email. As a result of this Mueller now doesn’t do any banking on line. You can read his speech at http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/speeches/mueller100709.htm
I believe that the FBI Director's concerns are valid although his "solution" strikes me as rather extreme. It reminds me of "cutting off your nose to spite your face." In fact, anyone, even an FBI Director, can securely use an online banking system. I do so most every day.
Using a separate, dedicated computer is an excellent solution, but expensive. I wouldn't do that and I especially would never do that with a Windows computer. Even using a separate Windows computer entails some risk. Keep in mind that Windows has many security holes while Linux and Macintosh have proven to have far fewer problems. Nothing is ever perfect, not even Linux or Macintosh. However, security experts all agree that Linux and Macintosh have both proven to have far fewer security problems than Windows.
Incredible as it may seem, there is a simple security solution built into almost all modern personal computers, which can be used to completely prevent any malicious software that has been installed on your computer from having any effect at all on the computer's operation. I would use this solution at any time for online banking. Best of all, it is a FREE solution.
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