paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

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ChrisGreaves
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paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by ChrisGreaves »

I am reacting, I know, but an online bank that shall remain nameless to protect eqbank.ca has sent me an email that reads in part "Clarified under “Use of Information/Accuracy” that we may require periodic updates to the operating system of your Electronic Device(s) to maintain their compatibility with our software for the purposes of data protection and security. " (Full text available via PM)

Now, the last time I looked "periodic" meant something along the lines of "at a regular frequency", and until recently, I updated Windows by buying a new laptop every few years.

Of course we remember the days when a bank's help line used "reinstall Windows" as a cure-all after "reboot your computer" didn't resolve the problem on their web page. I am certain that sometime in the past twelve months one online supplier said "Sorry, but if you're not running Chrome, we can't help you".

But how far away are we from the day when one bank refuses to work unless you have KB123456 installed, and the other bank refuses to work unless you have KB789012 installed instead?

Cheers, Chris
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HansV
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by HansV »

It's not all that different from software running only on Windows 10 or later, or on Android 9 or later...
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Hans

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StuartR
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by StuartR »

Banking apps rely on operating system security to protect your money. If the OS has a critical security patch missing then it is good for the banking app to disable itself.
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by ChrisGreaves »

HansV wrote:
23 Apr 2024, 14:49
It's not all that different from software running only on Windows 10 or later, or on Android 9 or later...
Agreed.
Even I would not expect Win3.1 to run today's browser pages and facilities (I think).
That said, we do get swept up into a forced upgrade NOT because the applications we use don't work, but because some other application (that we may never use) may not (or will not work) unless we upgrade.

I suspect that there are quite a few folks out there who need the O/S only to compose short memos in something like Write. That is, people who need an electronic typewriter and simple DOS-text internet email.
Cheers, Chris
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

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StuartR wrote:
23 Apr 2024, 15:05
Banking apps rely on operating system security to protect your money. If the OS has a critical security patch missing then it is good for the banking app to disable itself.
Stuart, I see your point of view, certainly to the point where the banking Ap might gracefully bow out "until such time as you have upgraded to Windows mumble-mumble".
In the back of my mind is an option along the lines of "Look, if we go ahead with this, you may be vulnerable", and then record the user's choice to disregard the warning; then when all their money is sucked out of the account, the bank can say "We told you so!".
That may not be good for the public image, but I suspect that it is close to what happens now: We are told "NEVER share your PIN with anyone".

But the only bank here in Bonavista closes September 19th, so folks like me who make an annual trip to Clarenville will, for sure, be handing the debit card to our neighbour saying "Do me a favour and withdraw $1,000 in hundreds while you are down there". The bank is covered if your neighbour does the unspeakable.
Cheers, Chris
I’ve been tidying the junk out of my shed for five years, and now can hardly get into the shed

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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by HansV »

Wow - I assumed that Bonavista would have several ATMs, but a quick search turns up that the only one is in the bank that's going to close...
Best wishes,
Hans

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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by ChrisGreaves »

HansV wrote:
24 Apr 2024, 10:58
Wow - I assumed that Bonavista would have several ATMs, but a quick search turns up that the only one is in the bank that's going to close...
Yep.
This town is dying.
I am opening a community bank, based on what I leaned from working with The Toronto Dollar and The International Bank

My accountant taught me that "Business is the exchange of two pieces of paper, ONE of which MUST be a cheque".
A bank is the only business that makes money out of money; farmers plant seed and sell the harvested grain to the co-operative; Fishermen but boats, haul nets, and sell the fish to the markets.
But banks make money by lending money and receiving back the original loan PLUS interest.

If I were a money-grubbing banker I'd stake my future on three types of loans:-
(1) $5,000 at 8% to rewire a house
(2) $60,000 at 8% to purchase a house
(3) $250,000 at 8% to start a new business.

So when head office figures that there will never again be new business in a small town, they close the branch. It is The Kiss Of Death for a community.

Cheers, Chris
http://www.chrisgreaves.com/LandfallGardenHouse/Business%20Development/Business%20Development.htm
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
23 Apr 2024, 14:34
I am reacting, I know, but a brick-and-mortar bank ...
Today is Pension Day (Yippee!) and at first light I use Firefox 115.10.0esr (64-bit) (I'm on Win7) to check the chequing account balance at my Bank Montreal (BMO) account. Yep! There it is. I am RICH!

I think "Now would be a good time to open a second chequing account, one that can serve the youth of Bonavista; keep the money absolutely separate, ... I will kick it off with $500 and in a year's time quietly bow out of there with my original $500 and leave the 16-25 year olds to run The Bank.

I fire up the BMO online portal, opt to open a new account, answer the skill-testing questions and then this pops up:
Untitled.png
OK. (ref: Stuart) I get that security needs to be upgraded and all that, but why is BMO happy for me to log in to my money-laden riches at 08:15 a.m. with Firefox 115.10.0esr (64-bit), but at 10:15 a.m. objects to me opening a new account with the same browser - Firefox 115.10.0esr (64-bit)?

I think that must be even more puzzling to the computer illiterati out there. How many of those poor folks head out Saturday morning to buy a new laptop that will work with the BMO?

As a computer jock, I can't think of a logical reason why BMO should object to the existing browser being OK for existing accounts, but not new accounts. I mean, once the new account is open and has $500 within, how is it different from my 6-year old account with $10,000 within?

(signed) "Puzzled" of Bonavista
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by HansV »

That's weird. Have you tried closing Firefox completely, then trying again? (Firefox is up to version 125.0.2 by the way).
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Hans

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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

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(Firefox is up to version 125.0.2 by the way).
Yes. I am using the most up-to-date version of Firefox available for us old Win7 users. “Check for updates” reports that I am up-to-date.
If I understand Guru Stuart, I am missing out on security features that require a later O/S than Win 7, hence I am relegated to the version “115.10.0esr (64-bit)”
HansV wrote:
26 Apr 2024, 13:09
That's weird. Have you tried closing Firefox completely, then trying again?
I haven’t rebooted, yet, But I have closed Firefox and deleted the ram disk \cache\ on drive E and reloaded Firefox.
I avoided my “Finance BMO” bookmark, which is a login reference, but instead used DuckDuckGo to search for “bank Montréal open a new account” as any innocent user would. That took me to https://www.bmo.com/main/personal/bank-accounts/
And thence to https://www.bmo.com/main/personal/bank- ... s-banking/
Which regurgitated the screen shown in my image above.

My current theory is:-
(1) There is a web team for new accounts and a web team for logging in to existing accounts; members of these teams chat only at the Friday Pizza luncheons
(2) Both teams have been told to refuse Firefox version “115.10.0esr (64-bit)” or earlier.
(3) Team Login received so much flak about having to “drive to the mall and buy a new laptop” that they yielded to pressure and dropped the requirement.
(4) But management insisted on updated versions for all new accounts, so Team New Account will be as stubborn, if not as tenacious, as a Blue Heeler. And we know where that will take us!

So what’s a bored pensioner to do when laid up in bed with a duvet the colour of drying phlegm for the past week?

(5) Install the latest possible Chrome on a Win7 machine, create a new account, then revert to Firefox “115.10.0esr (64-bit)” to access the account (nearest BMO branch being in Clarenville, and my actual account being at Bay and King in downtown Toronto.
or
(6) Fire up one of the Win11 laptops, install Firefox 125.0.2, open a BMO account, say “thank you”, and continue back in the Win7/115.10.0esr environment.
Or, being bored to death in bed,
(7) I could phone the BMO help line and pretend that I don’t have access to the internet, and see how it all works without an internet connection, hence without any version of Firefox.
Or
(8) Try opening a new account using my LGK30 Android phone

Unless, of course, someone can suggest any other experimental method to test my theory in (1) through (4) above.

Of course as of September 19th ALL chartered bank accounts will be out-of-town, so if I have to spend another day in bed i could essay with the CIBC, Royal Bank, TD-CanadaTrust, or even Scotia bank, who are leaving us stranded here.


Cheers, Chris
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by HansV »

I can't (and don't want to) test most of those, but I can report that Senior bank accounts works in Firefox 125.0.2 on Windows 11 (I initially wrote Widows 11, but that's too senior)
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by StuartR »

It is entirely possible that there are separate teams working on these two different aspects, and it is even possible that each team has carried out an independent risk analysis and come to different conclusions about old versions of FireFox
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

Post by ChrisGreaves »

StuartR wrote:
26 Apr 2024, 21:29
It is entirely possible that there are separate teams working on these two different aspects, and it is even possible that each team has carried out an independent risk analysis and come to different conclusions about old versions of FireFox
Indeed yes. There is still a lot that I don't know about banking, security, computers, bread-making etc. :grin:

In the example I gave I play two roles:-
(1) The innocent old-age pensioner who cannot understand why everyday banking goes on without a hitch, but opening a new account means "learning how to use a different browser"
(2) The grumpy retired nerd who is frustrated at using twenty different types of debit/credit card terminal in a small town with only twenty stores (and wishes things were like what they were in simpler days (when we had no internet ...))

I suppose that it could boil down to the two team managers having been educated by two different professors just one year apart in the Probability and Statistics courses forty years ago at University ...

Today is national Rototiller Testing Day here in Bonavista, before the rain sets in again; but I will get back to exploring "opening a new bank account" Real Soon Now.

Cheers, Chris
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Re: paranoia strikes again - online banking now owns your computer?

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HansV wrote:
26 Apr 2024, 18:12
I can't (and don't want to) test most of those, but I can report that Senior bank accounts works in Firefox 125.0.2 on Windows 11 (I initially wrote Widows 11, but that's too senior)
Thanks Hans. All joking aside, I have known for many years that I am stretching the bounds of something by using old software.
If I were still being paid to deliver training I would have to be Win11/Office2024(?) just to students could recognize the screenshots. I am no different from someone who clings on to their first car, a 1968 Toyota Corolla with "just a touch of rust"; the despair of every garage mechanic.
Cheers, Chris
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