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how do i store sensitive data securely on my PC?

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how do i store sensitive data securely on my PC?

hi

i have two linux PCs networked to a router with built in modem & firewall. the software firewalls on the two PCs are disabled at the moment but i plan to enable them as this was recommended in another thread in this forum.

what precautions are reasonable for storing sensitive data on my PC? is it enough to make a file readable only by root, or should i consider some sort of encryption, or should i assume that all data on the PC is potentially accessible by hackers, and simply not store sensitive data on any computer which is connected to the internet?

also how careful should i be about activities such as online banking? what is the risk, for example, of someone intercepting my login to my bank, and gaining access to my account?

TIA
eric
4 REPLIES
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how do i store sensitive data securely on my PC?

It depends how far you want to go and what the data is. If its just personel stuff then just having root acces may be enough.

If its realy sensative and comes under the Data protection act then you may have to take more precautions.

Online banking does have risks but in reality very few attacks happen, the bigest danger is worms/virus etc which are automated.
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how do i store sensitive data securely on my PC?

If your firewall is locked up properly then there shouldn't really be a problem. If you want to be extra secure you can encrypt particularly sensetive files (built in to XP Pro - right click on a file and there is an encyption tick box).

Online banking depends on loads of stuff but at the very least you'll be using an encrypted SSL connection and some banks use other forms too. Mine sends me out a 20-odd digit code to input into this PC so ONLY this PC can connect to their service for example.

Be sensible and use strong passwords for everything - letters, numbers punctuation marks if possible.
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how do i store sensitive data securely on my PC?

Encrypting your sensitive data stored on HD is the easiest method, PGP for example. You could move all sensituve data to a CDRW or DVDRW, they are relatively cheap now.

The banks have done considerable work to make online banking as secure as it can be, using all sorts of encryption and multi component logins.

In most instances, you will be your worst enemy, maybe responding to bogus emails claiming to be from your bank/Taxman/sister -inlaw asking for you login details.
With some online "money transfer" companies, there have even been bogus websites set up with very similar names and appearance. You may think you are going to www.money2go.net but you type in www.money2go.com and now the bogus site has your details !!!!!
These sites do tend to be closed down very quickly, but it is still worth being wary. (www.money2go.com is an URL that is currently "for sale" and www.money2go.net is registered but not inuse . they have been used to highlight someone trying to make money and to protect any real companies)
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how do i store sensitive data securely on my PC?

many thanks all - your comments confirmed that i'm doing some of the right things already, plus a lot of stuff i hadn't thought about... much appreciated.

cheers
eric