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Internet Cafe and Internet security

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1. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

When using Internet cafes to transfer funds electronically from one account to another, pay bills online or access sensitive information, would a USB Flashdrive based browser (ie Firefox Portable w/AntiVirus software) offer adequate security against spywares, phishing ads, key loggers, etc?? How do you guys do it?

2. Posted by Neily03 (Full Member 110 posts) 9y

The safest thing to do would be to give your log in details to someone at home and just email them and get them to do the transfer.... 99% of the time its probably safe to do it in an internet cafe but it that 1% where you lose all you money and are screwed. ;)

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 9y

Quoting Dezafinado

When using Internet cafes to transfer funds electronically from one account to another, pay bills online or access sensitive information, would a USB Flashdrive based browser (ie Firefox Portable w/AntiVirus software) offer adequate security against spywares, phishing ads, key loggers, etc?? How do you guys do it?

That would offer protection against a lot of nasties, but not comprehensively enough to actually be safe, mostly due to the largest real thread: keyloggers. :(
I did things by bringing my own laptop. Neily's suggestion is a very good alternative.

4. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

Quoting Sander

That would offer protection against a lot of nasties, but not comprehensively enough to actually be safe, mostly due to the largest real thread: keyloggers. :(

I've heard of key loggers. Not sure how sophisticated they've become but a programmer friend of mine told me a trick (and this was a few years ago) to save my login IDs and passwords in a text document like MS-Word or Notepad. At the log-in prompt, instead of typing the ID and password, you copy and paste. So the actual key-strokes a key-logger records would be "Ctrl+C" and "Ctrl+V". Is this true?

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 9y

For some, yes, but there's others out there who're smart enough nowadays not to be fooled by that, doing everything from keeping track of the clipboard and which program input is put into, to taking screenshots. (Still, you'd increase your safety by a factor of ten or so, so that might be enough for you.)

I personally would use tricks like that (although extended: copy part of the string, paste it, copy another string from somewhere else, paste it, copy a third string into a second program, backspace through the second string in the original program, and copy/paste the final part of the string) on public computers to access more or less sensitive information if I absolutely had to - but I still wouldn't use it for banking. (And that despite my bank having a pretty decent implementation of one-time logins.)

6. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

Quoting Sander

I personally would use tricks like that (although extended: copy part of the string, paste it, copy another string from somewhere else, paste it, copy a third string into a second program, backspace through the second string in the original program, and copy/paste the final part of the string) on public computers to access more or less sensitive information if I absolutely had to - but I still wouldn't use it for banking. (And that despite my bank having a pretty decent implementation of one-time logins.)

Now that mention it. He also said something to this effect, but it sounded too complicated so I've done only the cut-n-paste method. Oh well, I'll try to arrange for automated payments for bills and rely on someone I can trust to transfer funds... thanks!

7. Posted by oslaue (Full Member 571 posts) 9y

Sander! you take all those precautions when at a internet cafe all the time? or on another form of pc / laptop other than your own?

depending on the type of internet cafe that you are at it varies.

when at internet cafe in a lot of cases one does not have access to anything on the pc except internet, this means for joe soap its impossible to install a keylogger! and if there was, then internet cafe as a whole is behind the scam.

if you are in a internet cafe were one can access programs, install etc i suggest looking at task manager seeing if there is any unfamliar dodgy processes / exe's running! task manager (processes) tab

also...often people save user names, passwords, numbers etc in there email...just remember its just as dangerous going into your own email than banking online!

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 9y

Quoting oslaue

Sander! you take all those precautions when at a internet cafe all the time? or on another form of pc / laptop other than your own?

I almost never use PCs other than my own, and when I do, I nearly never log in to anything. But yes, those very few times that I do (never in internet cafes, but sometimes on computers belonging to other people), I always do things like that to input the username and password.

when at internet cafe in a lot of cases one does not have access to anything on the pc except internet, this means for joe soap its impossible to install a keylogger!

joe soap wouldn't be installing keyloggers anyway. Organized criminals who know about zero-day security problems and privilege escalation do. And 99.9% of everyone running an internet cafe does not have enough technical expertise to lock down their PCs well enough to keep such problems out. If they did, they'd be earning big bucks as a computer security consultant.
One of the immutable laws of computer security is: "If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it's not your computer anymore." There's few places where it's easier to get that physical access than at an internet cafe.

if you are in a internet cafe were one can access programs, install etc i suggest looking at task manager seeing if there is any unfamliar dodgy processes / exe's running! task manager (processes) tab

No self-respecting keylogger would show up as anything suspicious in there anymore. Five years ago, maybe, but things have gotten a lot more serious and tricky since then. (Rootkits for the win!)

9. Posted by oslaue (Full Member 571 posts) 9y

true...if ones wants...they could attack our pc's right now at any time any day...

10. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Dezafinado

Here is my boyfriends answer, to your question.

When using Internet cafes to transfer funds electronically from one account to another, pay bills online or access sensitive information, would a USB Flashdrive based browser (ie Firefox Portable w/AntiVirus software) offer adequate security against spywares, phishing ads, key loggers, etc?? How do you guys do it?

Mel