Firefox and Online Banking

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ChrisGreaves
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Firefox and Online Banking

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Late last week I experienced problems with paying by SB credit card.
First thing Yesterday morning I logged in to my other account(BMO) to check my statements and arrived at a 404 page-error. This did not disturb me. Even the best of networks, let alone the mediocre, fail from time to time. I waited four hours. BMO is a large national bank in Canada, so I knew that everyone would be working to get the site back up. Lunchtime 404; tea-time 404; bed-time 404.
I get the 404 regardless of whether I load the login page from my browser bookmark (been saved for five years) or from a Google search for "BMO online banking". The browser remembers my card identifier, but I keyboard in my password every time. And yes, my fingers slip, but not fifteen logins in a row!

This morning – 404. At 6:16 a.m. I phoned the toll-free help line, did my finger exercises on the menu system, typed in my 16-digit card number and the # sign, pressed 3, pressed 4, and they hung up on me.

At 6:23 I rang the bank's general toll-free and ended up with "Jibou" (not sure of the spelling) who told me that there no sign of any block or suspension on my account. "It must be your internet connection". No, I said, I have access to all my other online banking accounts, forums that have a login system, and all the other websites which I prowl on a daily basis. "Oh, then it must be your browser". The light dawned: I swiveled my chair to my old Toshiba ("jukebox") and was able to log in to the bank. Thanks Jibou!
This laptop is an Acer Win10, the older oneis a Toshiba Win7. On both machines, Firefox is up to date 83.0(64 bit). On the jukebox I can log in to BMO online banking. Huh?

At 6:44 I Revo Uninstall Firefox (on my Acer laptop), reboot the laptop, disconnect the WiFi, Install FF 78.0.1 (July 3rd this year), turn OFF automatic updates and exit FF.
I turn ON WiFi, load FF78.0.1, Google search for "BMO online banking", type in my 16-digit card identifier, "remember this card", and then I type in the password.
Bingo! It works.

I exit FF, copy my Bookmarks file to the new profile, and use my BMO bookmark. It Works!

(1) The problem might have been a random cosmic-ray sort of bug, it can happen.
(2) The problem might have been a recent Win10 general update
(3) The problem might have been a specific Win10 Defender update
(4) The problem might have been a recent Firefox update.
I plan to run the rest of today with FF78, and tomorrow I will (set a System Restore Point and) install the latest FF83 and then try signing in to BMO again.
In the meantime I am wondering whether this hiccough in my Acer/Win10/FF83 configuration might have been the cause of my inability to pay for an online purchase. The optometrist AND Foodland accepted my new SB Visa card last night, so I have confidence in that new card.

Cheers
Chris
I have been in a state of countesslessness all my life

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Leif
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Re: Firefox and Online Banking

Post by Leif »

From my experience, it is not advisable to bookmark a bank login screen that you have used before - rather go to a bank's webpage with the link to the login page and follow it from there.

The reason for this is that your bookmarked URL may include specific session details which have expired. Next time, try a Ctrl-F5 refresh which can clear cached session data.
Leif.

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stuck
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Re: Firefox and Online Banking

Post by stuck »

Sounds more like stale cookies stuck in Firefox, which the uninstallation/reinstallation fixed, which is what Leif said in a far better way.

Ken

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Argus
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Re: Firefox and Online Banking

Post by Argus »

I clean just about everything (cached) between sessions, and especially so bank related things, and the only bookmarks I have are to the main web pages of the different sites. No problems. (Minor problems might occur if they, once every 5-10 years, change some scripts needed, and thus not being whitelisted by me; but if anything the last 10+ years they have been cleaning up, removing, odd third parties.)

The lesson, Chris, is to clean related cookies and stored session information/cache, or try another browser, when you stumble on something similar.

I guess your reply will be that it has worked before, with bookmarks etc. (given that you suggest random cosmic-rays, win10 updates etc.), but things change on the server side at times as well, to tighten security etc. in line with Leif's reply.
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ChrisGreaves
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Re: Firefox and Online Banking

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Leif » From my experience, it is not advisable to bookmark a bank login screen that you have used before - rather go to a bank's webpage with the link to the login page and follow it from there. The reason for this is that your bookmarked URL may include specific session details which have expired. Next time, try a Ctrl-F5 refresh which can clear cached session data.

Thank you Leif. In the past few days I have used both my bookmark, and the results of a Google Search "BMO Online". I take your point that there may be data (hidden from my eyes) associated with the bookmark.
I have tried the Ctrl-F5 trick, but with no success.


Stuck » Sounds more like stale cookies stuck in Firefox, which the uninstallation/reinstallation fixed, which is what Leif said in a far better way.

Hi Ken; this too made sense, but over the past 24 hours a Windows Update slipped by me and, somehow, Firefox ignored my "do not update" setting and re-re-re-updated itself to 83.0, and the bank login failed again (404 error)


Argus » I clean just about everything (cached) between sessions, and especially so bank related things, and the only bookmarks I have are to the main web pages of the different sites. No problems. (Minor problems might occur if they, once every 5-10 years, change some scripts needed, and thus not being whitelisted by me; but if anything the last 10+ years they have been cleaning up, removing, odd third parties.) The lesson, Chris, is to clean related cookies and stored session information/cache, or try another browser, when you stumble on something similar.

Thank you Argus. My browser cache is cleared each morning when I reboot, because my cache is directed to Drive E:, which is a DataRAM ram disk with 250MB capacity (of my 4GB ram). Typical morning I reboot, check the bank account, and then get on with email etc, so I figure that the cache is fresh, empty, and big enough for online banking.

I have this evening thrown up my hands in despair and installed Chrome (Google Chrome is up to dateVersion 87.0.4280.88 (Official Build) (64-bit)). I copied the URL of the Login page of BMO and logged in successfully.

I will switch to Chrome for now (although I am probably about to learn that I should not be using Chrome, but should switch to Edge! :flee:


All>>
I now suspect that Firefox by itelf is not necessarily the cause of the problem, but the 404-error is persistent even across a System Restore from 12th July 2020, well before this problem surfaced. I accept that there may be other factors within my laptop environment that cause the 404 error.
It just seems funny that the problem appears to be in Firefox, and only for the BMO bank account.

Cheers, and thanks again to everyone who pitched in.
Chris
I have been in a state of countesslessness all my life

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ChrisGreaves
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Re: Firefox and Online Banking

Post by ChrisGreaves »

stuck wrote:
08 Dec 2020, 12:21
Sounds more like stale cookies stuck in Firefox, which the uninstallation/reinstallation fixed, which is what Leif said in a far better way.
Mea Culpa!

I had not properly cleared cookies.

This morning I went back into Firefox and "Menu, Options, Privacy and Security" cleared all data, which seems to have done the trick, for now!
Untitled.png
Thanks Ken
Chris
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Argus
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Re: Firefox and Online Banking

Post by Argus »

That's what I meant by cleaning; whatever way it's done; [via settings] saving cookies only for the session, cleaning cache etc. when closing the browser, or by using settings or third party tools to clean the things.
(I see no need to save cookies in general, and especially not ones related to bank sites.)
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