With all the malware aimed at the Windows OS, and MS's recent record number of security patches its been issuing, coupled with the fact credit card
fraud on the web has hit record numbers, I figure there has to be a safer way to go about conducting online banking that doesn't involve installing
every AV and firewall app out there and praying to the IT gods my system isn't infected by a trojan, virus, or other form of malware, backdoor, or
RAT (root access trojan). Cyber attacks have gotten so sophisticated I'm beginning to wonder if it's worse now then it's ever been, in spite of the
advances made in security. Newer trojans will look for your bank data on your HDD (or record all your web activity) and then xfer this info to the
thieves server with you never knowing what is taking place.
So I tried a method recommended by a friend:
Download any version of a Linux "Live CD". Burn the download to a CD.
Reboot (with the Live CD in the CD/DVD drive). You'll be rebooting into a Linux OS. No files are installed to your HDD, in fact everything you do
while in the Linux OS (which is running from the CD) will vanish the instant you close the session and remove the CD. So now you can bank online,
shop, pay bills, while not leaving ANY record on your PC for the hackers to swipe. Should your Windows OS become infected by one of these sneaky
trojans or RATs, there is nothing there for them to steal - all your banking activity took place under a different OS that left no traces on your
After I heard about this I dug around on the web for this topic and saw a few web sites recommending it.
even recommends letting your kids surf the web from a Live CD since many of the
sites they may visit (particularly those game sites) are a hotbed of viruses and trojans. Nothing they do while surfing under the Live CD can cause
any harm to your Windows OS or HDD.
Most of the Linux versions available as a Live CD come with a web browser, but if not, and you want to have your familiar web browser (say, FF) along
with your old familiar bookmarks, you can add these files to your CD before you burn it. You can even run Linux as a Live CD from a USB flash drive as
opposed to a CD/DVD.
It's not 100% foolproof since your credit card data is always vulnerable to theft from merchant websites with poor security, resulting in "data
breaches", but this method should reduce the theft of banking data from your PC to near zero. If you do try it be sure to clear all the old history
from your Windows system (no sense leaving it there).
Hope this helps!
[edit on 18-10-2009 by Blackmarketeer]