Reader and security researcher Nweaver has blogged the precautions he takes when managing his personal finances, from credit cards to debit to his brokerage account.
• Credit cards: Very laissez-faire, because you’re using the bank’s money
• Debit cards: Only uses at his bank’s ATMs because, while there’s protections, until a fraudulent transaction gets fixed, you’re responsible for the funds
• Online banking: Reboots computer using Linux “Live” CD, thus ensuring his laptop is free of potentially malignant programs. The only thing he does is access his account, then he reboots.
Pretty good policies, but if you swipe a debit card as a credit card, doesn’t it have the same protections? You’re not entering your PIN. The way he handles his online account is interesting, too. Another method that we’ve heard is to actually have a totally separate computer that all you ever use it for is online banking. — BEN POPKEN