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I've read the community wiki and some questions made here in Askubuntu about security measures on Ubuntu, but I would like to focus and narrow this topic to the security of online money transactions, because it is what concerns me the most and probably any other conscious user too, one that always tries to remain safe on regular daily tasks online, has his private documents encrypted and keeps regular backups of the system and as a result, getting his bank account invaded or having his identity stolen may be much more of a concern than a system corruption.

Is a VPN service with SSL connection enough to make this kind of operation as secure as possible (even if using public wireless spots?)

I am counting on using a Live-USB with Firefox or Chrome browser, both the Live system and the browser used only and strictly for this delicate purpose, thus creating an independent system to take precaution against any potential malware that may be already infiltred on my regular everyday system and browser and also I'll be using a secure connection. Any other security measures that I should be aware of?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

+1 for the question which affects many of us. I can only say the following:

Even with today's technology and security measures there will always be a way to bypass them, be them an easy task or a difficult nearly impossible one. At the end, they can be done (See in google stuff like wikileaks, information leak, etc..). With this in mind I will add that having an SSL connection (Secure Socket Layer, although I am guessing a TLS 1.x will be used) is very secured. Even more in Ubuntu (Or any other Linux Distro) since, not only are the standards applied but they even get updated faster and with any new security measures.

Add to this that you will be using a VPN will give you even more security.

Having that, plus a secured OS like Ubuntu (Very secured since you are going to load it from a Live USB, which is like a Paranoid Security Level PSL) gives you a HUGE security measure over the PC you would be using. Of course the only downside is the connection to the place you would be connecting and the connection to it.

You can have a very secured system, but if the connection to the other end is compromised, it lowers your security. It lowers even more if where you are connecting has already been compromised.

So from what I can read from your question, the only 2 things left to think about would be:

  1. Am I connecting to a secure site?
  2. Is the connection I am using secured (Like somebody capturing packets like crazy)
  3. Do I have somebody behind me with a gun?

This are questions that can help you when having a more secured way of connecting. Now a good question to ask yourself is:

  1. Do I need so much security just to check my bank account that holds 100$?
  2. Am I Bruce Wayne that I need so much security?

I can give you an example of my father that uses Ubuntu + Firefox to connect to Bank of America and other 3 banks. He pays all bills, does transfers, payse credit card, etc.. This is like 3 years ago (Since he got Ubuntu ^^).

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Thank you very much for this reply. Making use of a Live-USB is a recommendation that banks are starting to give to their costumers, a very wise one, indeed it increases security so much, specially if they are Windows users. Although I am a conscious user, I do not understand much about networks and only know I'm starting to learn about VPN's and secure connections, and I was afraid to be missing something important about this. Also the vulnerabilities on the other end are something I am now trying to understand, but fortunatelly modern-day browsers inform us about website certificates. – Neptunno Aug 6 '12 at 23:23

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