James (Jim) Hillier, on 14 September 2011 - 08:03 AM, said:
Hey Bob - That is not quite correct mate; banking, paying bills and purchasing online is very safe. All those types of financial transactions use a very secure connection where all data is encrypted - AND, passwords are NOT stored in any external database. The risky part is keeping passwords, banking account and log-in details actually stored on the computer. If you simply input those details when needed, from an external source (such as a written record), you are as safe as...um...err...the Bank of England!! LOL
Not always. I'm in the US. We have had bank accounts compromised. Personally, I do not store any personal information on my PC. My kids, who do on-line banking, on-line purchases and other on-line transactions have already received e-mails that the databases were hacked and their account information may have been compromised. Why, even the Linux Kernel was recently "hacked". Granted, it isn't going to bring the world to an end, but if it can be hacked it will. The Chinese have hacked into US government databases and have obtained secret and sensitive information. I've worked with computers for over 50 years.I actually started on April Fool's day in 1961 (biggest April Fool's joke of my life). There have only been a few systems (mainframes, actually) that have not been hacked (at least to my knowledge and, a challenge at one time, I seem to recall by 2600 magazine). And if you can't hack into it, its too easy to buy off underpaid employees to plug in a USB stick, download sensitive data and then sell it for a tidy sum. You may call me paranoid, foolish and a number of other designations, but I'll do my transactions in person whenever I can. And, yes, I realize that once I pass my credit card information in person or over the phone, it will end up in a database that can be hacked, but at least I didn't make it any easier. Also, it pays to put a limit on credit cards and to go over your monthly statements. Another problem in the US is your Social Security no. It is recommended you don't give it out. But guess what, it is used as a personal identification number by just about everyone. Obviously, anything you do that has tax implications requires giving your SSN. But go to a doctor, hospital, driver's license, and a number of other non-financial situations and they won't do business with you if you don't give your SSN. Its stupid and unfortunate, but that is the way it is here. One's SSN was being used for other purposes than its original intent for years before computers became "mainstream". It just carried over. And, cheers to you too, Jim.