How to make your online banking more secure

Last Updated on July 30, 2016 by Dave Farquhar

If you want to make your online banking more secure, I have a tip for you.

Due to the increasing amount of malware targeting bank accounts, it’s not a bad idea to dedicate a computer to online banking and only online banking. Of course, who wants to dedicate an expensive computer to that task?

You don’t have to. You can buy a $120 refurbished Chromebook to use. If you don’t want to spend any money but have a seldom-used computer still hanging around that isn’t good for much, load Linux Mint on it and use it exclusively for banking. My experience with Mint on an old netbook has been rather good. Linux Mint is, if anything, easier to get up and running than Windows.

There are two keys to this. Use something other than Windows or Mac OS. And use the machine only for banking. It’s very difficult for the machine to get infected if you only access a very small number of banking and bill-paying web sites from it and nothing else. And while there’s no technical reason why malware can’t exist on Linux or Chrome OS, it’s rarer. Sometimes smaller market penetration can be good. Linux malware is more common on routers  than on general-purpose computers.

Of course, IE-only sites once were common. Hopefully that’s not the case in the banking world anymore. That’s the other dependency here.

But even in that case, a $100 junker refurb laptop with a refurb Windows 7 license is more secure than using a general-purpose computer. Just be sure you do all of your banking on that laptop and don’t use it for anything else.

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