The Washinton Post Says Thumbs-Up to Linux for Banking

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 14, 2009

In a recent post I wrote called "Linux has no marketing, but what if it did?" I made the point that with Microsoft's Windows 7 OS coming out on October 22nd, there will be a blitz of marketing around it, and noted that there never is any such blitz promoting Linux. That post suggested that if Linux could have an equivalent marketing blitz, a very effective campaign might be built around how very much more secure and out of the line of fire of malware purveyors Linux is.

It's non-accidental that the spammers and crapware purveyors go after the top operating systems and applications on them in order of the OS installed bases: Windows (a lot), Mac OS (a little bit), Linux (hardly at all). Now, a Washington Post story is taking over where the Linux marketers never seem to tread and recommending Linux for online banking--for tighter security than Windows can provide.

Brian Krebs writes:

"Why is the operating system important? Virtually all of the data-stealing malware in circulation today is built to attack Windows systems, and will simply fail to run on non-Windows computers. Also, the Windows-based malware employed in [each of these] recent online attacks against businesses was so sophisticated that it made it extremely difficult for banks to tell the difference between a transaction initiated by their customers and a transfer set in motion by hackers who had hijacked that customer's PC."

Krebs cites an almost humorous banking exploit in which the bad guys proceeded in dual-step fashion, first authorizing themselves as approvers of bank transactions with a hack, then implementing phony transactions with another hack. He recommends that banks look into Linux as a platform and that cusomers look into Live CDs, which allow you to temporarily boot Linux even if you use another operating system. In this way, even if you're a staunch Windows user, your actual banking sessions can be kept ultra-secure via Linux.

Although he doesn't mention it, Linux solutions kept on USB flash drives can work just as well, and you can store the mini drives in your pocket. We provided lots of tips on the latter solution in this post. Krebs also provides an easy-to-follow tutorial on working with Linux Live CDs for online banking.