Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
markfaix
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Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by markfaix » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:12 pm

Several active threads suggest that a chromebook dedicated to financial transactions is a simple, secure, and reasonably cheap way to have a dedicated financial computer. For those who have done this, I had a few questions.

How do you download and save financial statements? Is google drive the only option or does Dropbox also work with a chrome book? How safe is it to store statements in their cloud?

ny_rn
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by ny_rn » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:23 pm

Hmmm... do you already have a personal computer?

markfaix
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by markfaix » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:24 pm

Yes I have a regular PC.

Quickfoot
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Quickfoot » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:31 pm

Most chromebooks also have a small amount of local storage usually 16 or 32 GB and they all support USB thumb drives and external hard drives. The website interface to Dropbox works just fine but it is not as deeply integrated as Google Drive. I would not store financial statements unencrypted on either local or cloud storage but if they must be unencrypted I would put them on a thumb drive and in a safe or safe deposit box.

02sbxstr
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by 02sbxstr » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:35 pm

Dropbox works on a Chromebook. You can always use an encryption facility like Boxcrypt on Dropbox. How about just using a flash drive? Make sure the Chromebook you buy has at least 2 USB ports.

SuperGrafx
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by SuperGrafx » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:41 pm

Why does it have to be a Chromebook?
There are several low cost Windows equivalents (most notably the HP Stream 11) for $200.
Runs a standard Windows OS and not some pared down Chrome environment...

lazyday
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by lazyday » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:44 pm

Quickfoot wrote:I would not store financial statements unencrypted on either local or cloud storage
What is my vulnerability if I store unencrypted statements on google drive?

lazyday
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by lazyday » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:46 pm

SuperGrafx wrote:Why does it have to be a Chromebook?
It doesn't have to be.

But google has a good reputation for security and reliability. Unlike microsoft.

There's plenty of info on the web about the great security of Chrome OS.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:47 pm

SuperGrafx wrote:Why does it have to be a Chromebook?
There are several low cost Windows equivalents (most notably the HP Stream 11) for $200.
Runs a standard Windows OS and not some pared down Chrome environment...
OS is considered safer from Viruses and Malware than Windows.
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KailuaBoy
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by KailuaBoy » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:53 pm

I have to ask, why wouldn't you just use your regular laptop? I keep a dedicated folder in my bookmarks and a folder of only finance stuff. I don't see how buying another computer dedicated to personal finance is going to help. It seems like a waste of money.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:59 pm

KailuaBoy wrote:I have to ask, why wouldn't you just use your regular laptop? I keep a dedicated folder in my bookmarks and a folder of only finance stuff. I don't see how buying another computer dedicated to personal finance is going to help. It seems like a waste of money.
Viruses and Malware that could steal your passwords and allow people to hack and possibly drain your account making it on to your PC via other web sites or email. Assuming you haven't taken precautions the fear is you are financial liable for your loss. Google Zeus trojan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_(Trojan_horse)
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ieee488
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by ieee488 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:00 pm

No need to spend $200 on a Chromebook.
Take your XP PC, and install Linux on it.
Mint is the most popular these days. I use Ubuntu.
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KailuaBoy
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by KailuaBoy » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:29 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
KailuaBoy wrote:I have to ask, why wouldn't you just use your regular laptop? I keep a dedicated folder in my bookmarks and a folder of only finance stuff. I don't see how buying another computer dedicated to personal finance is going to help. It seems like a waste of money.
Viruses and Malware that could steal your passwords and allow people to hack and possibly drain your account making it on to your PC via other web sites or email. Assuming you haven't taken precautions the fear is you are financial liable for your loss. Google Zeus trojan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_(Trojan_horse)
Or, you could just install antivirus software and use common sense when banking on the internet.

Sidney
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Sidney » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:38 pm

AV software doesn't always work.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

ny_rn
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by ny_rn » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:39 pm

I would keep it simple and use a thumb drive.

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timboktoo
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by timboktoo » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:50 pm

The reason I suggest a Chromebook is that most people use computers as tools. A Chromebook is inexpensive, relatively secure and very easy to use.

- Tim

Islander
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Islander » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:00 pm

Like many Chromebook ownwrs, I upgraded my Acer C720's internal storage by installing the MyDigital 128GB SSD.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:53 pm

KailuaBoy wrote:
TheTimeLord wrote:
KailuaBoy wrote:I have to ask, why wouldn't you just use your regular laptop? I keep a dedicated folder in my bookmarks and a folder of only finance stuff. I don't see how buying another computer dedicated to personal finance is going to help. It seems like a waste of money.
Viruses and Malware that could steal your passwords and allow people to hack and possibly drain your account making it on to your PC via other web sites or email. Assuming you haven't taken precautions the fear is you are financial liable for your loss. Google Zeus trojan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_(Trojan_horse)
Or, you could just install antivirus software and use common sense when banking on the internet.
It isn't when you are banking that is the issue. It is whenever you click anything on the net or an email while connected. Just in case you didn't read the link.

some 3.6 million PCs are said to be infected in the U.S. alone. Security experts are advising that businesses continue to offer training to users to teach them not to click on hostile or suspicious links in emails or Web sites, and to keep antivirus protection up to date. Antivirus software does not claim to reliably prevent infection; for example Symantec Browser Protection says that it can prevent "some infection attempts".
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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:53 pm

ny_rn wrote:I would keep it simple and use a thumb drive.
For what???
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mac808
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by mac808 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:54 pm

Chromebooks are not much safer than PCs. The major threat these days is a compromised browser, e.g. a rogue Chrome extension which can occur on any OS. Put your browser into Incognito mode before you access any financial sites.

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Ged
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Ged » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:02 pm

Install a copy of a Linux bootable distribution on a thumb drive and boot off of that. Voila, a clean, Windows free environment. Your hard drives won't be mounted, and you can store your financial statements on the thumb drive for later use, free of exposure to the cloud.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:04 pm

Ged wrote:Install a copy of a Linux bootable distribution on a thumb drive and boot off of that. Voila, a clean, Windows free environment. Your hard drives won't be mounted, and you can store your financial statements on the thumb drive for later use, free of exposure to the cloud.
But from what I read Linux is no better or slightly less safe than Windows 8.1. ChromeOS seems to be considered the safest currently best I can tell, but I wouldn't swear to that.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:08 pm

mac808 wrote:Chromebooks are not much safer than PCs. The major threat these days is a compromised browser, e.g. a rogue Chrome extension which can occur on any OS. Put your browser into Incognito mode before you access any financial sites.
Looking to learn here, how does this help with keystoke loggers?
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in_reality
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by in_reality » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:12 pm

For about the same price, why not get a couple of USB drives with hardware encryption that can't be disabled, has an embedded secure browser, and is both waterproof and tamper resistant (you can't take it apart to access the memory somehow). It'll self destruct after 10 failed log in attempts so a brute force password attack isn't going to work on a lost device.

http://ironkey.com/en-US/encrypted-storage-drives/
http://ironkey.com/en-US/resources/docu ... Letter.pdf

I have several as I assume my computer will be irrevocably damaged and likely not recoverable in an earthquake.
I don't really trust "the cloud".

As for keystroke logging ..."The IronKey™ Identity Manager manages all of your online passwords with secure, one-click direct access and protection against keystroke-logging spyware and other online threats. With the click of a button, it automatically launches a specified application, fills in your username and password, and then logs you in."
Last edited by in_reality on Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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timboktoo
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by timboktoo » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:13 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:But from what I read Linux is no better or slightly less safe than Windows 8.1. ChromeOS seems to be considered the safest currently best I can tell, but I wouldn't swear to that.
Everything is vulnerable. Ged's suggestion has merit if the OP is technologically savvy enough.

- Tim

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:14 pm

in_reality wrote:For about the same price, why not get a couple of USB drives with hardware encryption that can't be disabled, has an embedded secure browser, and is both waterproof and tamper resistant (you can't take it apart to access the memory somehow). It'll self destruct after 10 failed log in attempts so a brute force password attack isn't going to work on a lost device.

http://ironkey.com/en-US/encrypted-storage-drives/
http://ironkey.com/en-US/resources/docu ... Letter.pdf

I have several as I assume my computer will be irrevocably damaged and likely not recoverable in an earthquake.
I don't really trust "the cloud".
I assume because the main issue isn't stealing your statements it is getting your logon info.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:18 pm

timboktoo wrote:
TheTimeLord wrote:But from what I read Linux is no better or slightly less safe than Windows 8.1. ChromeOS seems to be considered the safest currently best I can tell, but I wouldn't swear to that.
Everything is vulnerable. Ged's suggestion has merit if the OP is technologically savvy enough.

- Tim
It does have merit. Any suggestion where you limit the sites visited and time connected by the system you use to access financial sites would to me seem to have some degree of merit. And you are right nothing is totally secure. The question is what steps are you as an individual willing to take. For me when I started reading about possible personal liability for drained bank accounts and Vanguard's liability statements I started thinking I need to kick it up to the point that I could prove I took at the very least reasonable precautions.
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MossySF
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by MossySF » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:09 pm

Anti-virus was effective 15 years ago when the majority of viruses were simply from hackers who wanted to play havoc on your system. Bad side-effects were seen immediately allowing anti-virus companies to compile comprehensive lists. Nowadays, hackers are trying to steal info for money so they code their viruses/trojans to be as silent as possible. It took 10 years for anti-virus companies to detect some of the more advanced viruses. In addition, there are new exploits being coded all the time -- AV vendors can only add these to the database AFTER they get hit with their honeypot computers. (An ordinary user/company that gets hit will simply reinstall -- they're not going to send in their HD to Symantec to look at.)

ChromeOS is the safest OS to use. Linux/MacOS are safer than Windows but still have been hit with vulnerabilities. Technically, you don't need to buy a Chromebook as you can download a ChromeOS ISO and install it on any PC. The thumbdrive idea is OK -- install ChromeOS or Linux on a USB drive and boot it up everytime. However, you definitely have to use cloud storage because thumbdrives get lost very easily.

fatwalletking
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by fatwalletking » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:25 pm

My two cents..
A securely configured linux distros is more than enough. Create a virtual machine with oracle enterprise linux (its free). You have much more options to secure your OS. After use shutdown the VM and nobody can hack into it.
For files use an encrypted folder in the PC and have automated encrypted backups.
In my opinion this kind of precaution will be more than enough as long the OS is accessed only for financial purposes.

I am more concerned about US mail and public records about our properties and businesses avilable to one and all in the whole wide world! I was schocked that a friend from singapore was able to see my house sketch as well as know how much I paid and who are named in the deed.... which only increases the chances of knowing more about you that can be used for ID theft purposes.

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Toons
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Toons » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:26 pm

I use chromebooks and computers but I have found the last several years I am storing many documents on Google Drive.Regarding statements,I rarely I find the need to download them as they are always available at the website of the provider,,,Bank ,Mutual fund,,utility ,insurance statements and documents.If I do feel the need to download something with very personal information included I will download and save to windows computer :happy
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Quickfoot
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Quickfoot » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:31 pm

What is my vulnerability if I store unencrypted statements on google drive?
If your password is guessed or reset by an attacker or Google suffers a security lapse your documents can by stolen by anyone with an Internet connection. It is trivial to scan pdf files to find documents that contain financial information. It is also possible Google (or a rogue employee) could scan the contents of your files for their own interest. It is very easy to argue cloud storage is safer than a local computer (and many people have argued this) but the impact of a security breach is also much larger, instead of one person's files being stolen tens of millions of people's files can be stolen.

Whether or not you are going to put your files in the cloud it is just not a good decision to store anything that is valuable or sensitive in a non encrypted form. It is trivial to strongly encrypt files (AxCrypt is a free windows program that can encrypt files using AES 256 and there are a lot of other good choices too).

A final tip, don't use your password for your encryption key, in fact your encryption key shouldn't be used as anything BUT your encryption key and it should be randomly generated, not something of significance to you.
But from what I read Linux is no better or slightly less safe than Windows 8.1. ChromeOS seems to be considered the safest currently best I can tell, but I wouldn't swear to that.
Linux is safer than Windows, ChromeOS is actually built around the Linux Kernel. Booting from a known good bootable Linux CD or thumb drive will give you nearly all the protection a Chromebook will.
Chromebooks are not much safer than PCs. The major threat these days is a compromised browser, e.g. a rogue Chrome extension which can occur on any OS. Put your browser into Incognito mode before you access any financial sites.
This is untrue, Chrome OS starts out significantly more secure than Window so running Chrome on Chrome OS is still safer than running Chrome on Windows. Most the browser vulnerabilities are used to execute code to install trojans, keyloggers, and other malware onto the core OS.

Putting your browser into incognito mode doesn't provide any protection at all against trojans, keyloggers or other malware already installed on your computer. It does make you slightly more secure by disabling extensions and not preserving cookies between sessions which *can* help prevent you from being infected but *only* if you always run the browser in incognito mode and not *only* when accessing sensitive websites.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Blues
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Blues » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:36 pm

If I recall correctly, anything saved to the Chromebook's hard drive is automatically encrypted. Without your login info, the data is useless to anyone taking possession of your device.

I don't use a separate Chromebook but have one account that I use on that particular machine which is used only for financial activity and which has no extension installed other than a password manager.
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ieee488
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by ieee488 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:41 pm

MossySF wrote:ChromeOS is the safest OS to use.
Where are you getting this info?

If Wikipedia is to be believed ChromeOS is based on Gentoo Linux kernel.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:47 pm

This seems like a very sensible idea to me. One question is can I do my taxes on a Chromebook? The major programs seem to have versions that run in Windows and versions that run on Macs.

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Blues
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Blues » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:50 pm

dodecahedron wrote:This seems like a very sensible idea to me. One question is can I do my taxes on a Chromebook? The major programs seem to have versions that run in Windows and versions that run on Macs.
I've been using TaxAct on my PC for years but will be using the online version this year. I have checked with TaxAct and they confirm that there should be no issues with the Chromebook and I believe that Toons and others have experience filing in this manner.
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Quickfoot » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:54 pm

Chrome OS is based on the Linux kernel but not on an existing Linux distribution much the way Mac OS X is originally based on BSD (FreeBSD in particular). The Linux Kernel is NOT an OS, it is only the kernel which is more or less the engine of the operating system. Different Linux distributions have varying levels of security based on the amount of software they install by default (the more software installed by default the less secure, Ubuntu is great but it installs thousands of packages), how often they update their bundled software, how accessible they make the root user (some distros have sudo configured not to require a password) and whether security is a priority for the distribution.

Ultimately two Linux distributions can run the exact same kernel and have very different levels of security. The next part of the equation is how much software the end user has installed or removed, if a user doesn't like bash (like me) and they remove it from their system then they aren't going to be vulnerable to the bash security flaw. On the other hand if another user doesn't use bash but also doesn't remove it they are vulnerable and may not even know.

Chrome OS gives the end user a little better security than Linux by default in part because Chrome OS is a very small, limited OS with not a lot of packages installed. It is possible to configure Linux or BSD to be more secure but it requires an experienced system administrator with a solid understanding of security.
This seems like a very sensible idea to me. One question is can I do my taxes on a Chromebook? The major programs seem to have versions that run in Windows and versions that run on Macs.
The web based version of Turbotax works just fine. Pretty much anything that works on Chrome or Firefox on Windows will work on a Chromebook as well. The Chromebook uses Chrome as its browser and has very good compatibility with Internet based applications. It will NOT run Windows applications but you can use Office.com for Microsoft office (or google docs).
If I recall correctly, anything saved to the Chromebook's hard drive is automatically encrypted. Without your login info, the data is useless to anyone taking possession of your device.
This is correct but the protection is only for locally stored files and is only as strong as your password. If your password is easily guessable then you've essentially no protection, this is why your Chromebook password (which is also your Google account password) should *only* be used for that purpose. That way when other sites are compromised your Chromebook / Google password is not risk.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Toons
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Toons » Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:58 pm

Blues wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:This seems like a very sensible idea to me. One question is can I do my taxes on a Chromebook? The major programs seem to have versions that run in Windows and versions that run on Macs.
I've been using TaxAct on my PC for years but am will be using the online version this year. I have checked with TaxAct and they confirm that there should be no issues with the Chromebook and I believe that Toons and others have experience filing in this manner.
+1 Correct, I have been using TaxAct Deluxe Online now for about 5 years as a matter of fact I am on my chromebook now alternating between several "tabs" in the chrome browser ,one of which is my TaxAct Online Deluxe 2014 Preview return.I have been entering some relevant year end financial data.
The nice feature of using the online version is that I can access my return from any device,,,chromebook,computer,phone,,,,,etc.Highly recommend Online version :happy
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dodecahedron
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Blues wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:This seems like a very sensible idea to me. One question is can I do my taxes on a Chromebook? The major programs seem to have versions that run in Windows and versions that run on Macs.
I've been using TaxAct on my PC for years but will be using the online version this year. I have checked with TaxAct and they confirm that there should be no issues with the Chromebook and I believe that Toons and others have experience filing in this manner.
Unfortunately, I really do NOT like the idea of preparing my taxes in an online program. I prefer to download and keep my data local as much as possible.

Also, my past experience is that the online programs are very much "black-box" like interview-style rather than offering a forms-based interface (which I prefer), but maybe that has changed? I know Bob Meighan was saying that TurboTax was eventually planning to offer a forms based view in their online product.

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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Quickfoot » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:09 pm

Unfortunately, I really do NOT like the idea of preparing my taxes in an online program. I prefer to download and keep my data local as much as possible.
Online Turbotax allows you to download a PDF of the completed tax forms, it also allows you to review the completed tax forms prior to filing. That meets your requirement for having your data local and reviewing the forms prior to filing but not of entering them into the forms directly.

All tax preparation software that does e-file transmits your data to their servers and then to the IRS electronically so even though you may fill the information out on your local PC it is still stored on the vendor's servers at least temporarily (which is as long as they choose) and electronically by the IRS.

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Toons
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Toons » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:14 pm

Quickfoot wrote:
Unfortunately, I really do NOT like the idea of preparing my taxes in an online program. I prefer to download and keep my data local as much as possible.
Online Turbotax allows you to download a PDF of the completed tax forms, it also allows you to review the completed tax forms prior to filing. That meets your requirement for having your data local and reviewing the forms prior to filing but not of entering them into the forms directly.

All tax preparation software that does e-file transmits your data to their servers and then to the IRS electronically so even though you may fill the information out on your local PC it is still stored on the vendor's servers at least temporarily (which is as long as they choose) and electronically by the IRS.
+3 :happy
Exactly. When I am finished with my TaxAct online return I just save it as a pdf.TaxAct stores the return on their servers for 12 months after that it is not available unless you pay for the premium service.I believe they save it for 5 years.Their tax software is very intuitive and easy to follow. :happy
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dodecahedron
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:20 pm

Quickfoot wrote:
Unfortunately, I really do NOT like the idea of preparing my taxes in an online program. I prefer to download and keep my data local as much as possible.
Online Turbotax allows you to download a PDF of the completed tax forms, it also allows you to review the completed tax forms prior to filing. That meets your requirement for having your data local and reviewing the forms prior to filing but not of entering them into the forms directly.
Unfortunately, I find this very unsatisfactory. With the downloaded TurboTax, I can interactively and instantly switch into forms mode to immediately see the implications of what I have just entered.
All tax preparation software that does e-file transmits your data to their servers and then to the IRS electronically so even though you may fill the information out on your local PC it is still stored on the vendor's servers at least temporarily (which is as long as they choose) and electronically by the IRS.
Well, actually, until last year, I never efiled my own returns so the third parties didn't get hold of the data at all. Of course the IRS and state tax authorities did enter the data into their computers, which I certainly accept the necessity of.

The thing I really don't like about the online programs is that it is designed so that people can access it online later, even years later, essentially indefinitely. If *I* can access it online later then a nefarious party (like a renegade employee) may be able to access it online later.

I believe there are strict IRS protocols that limit how long electronic return transmitters can retain the data if the return was prepared through a downloaded offline program. Once the IRS acceptance comes through, I am pretty sure the transmitters are required to get rid of the data.

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TX_TURTLE
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by TX_TURTLE » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:22 pm

markfaix wrote:Yes I have a regular PC.
The questions are, do you have an up-to-date version of Windows? Do you have a good AV program you keep up to date? Are there other people (ex. your kids) that share the same computer?

In order to access my accounts, I use an iMac that I only share with my wife (kids use a separate Windows PC). I'm the only one with an administrator account (my wife is not computer savvy, I'm afraid she could be fooled into clicking a link she shouldn't open). And I keep my financial info (ex. tax returns, Vanguard statements, etc.) in a separate 'image' that is encrypted. I can mount/dismount that image at will (rough equivalent of having a thumb drive, but without the physical thumb drive). And of course I don't access 'odd' web sites that may attempt to plant malware on my iMac (if I wanted to, I would use a separate user id w/o admin rights).

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Blues
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Blues » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:24 pm

dodecahedron wrote: Also, my past experience is that the online programs are very much "black-box" like interview-style rather than offering a forms-based interface (which I prefer), but maybe that has changed? I know Bob Meighan was saying that TurboTax was eventually planning to offer a forms based view in their online product.
I have always done "forms based" filing from my desktop versions and from what I have seen so far...it appears that I have the option of doing the same with TaxAct Online. I have no interest in the interview process (by and large).

Toons and others, please correct my understanding if this is incorrect.
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

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Toons
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Toons » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:26 pm

Blues wrote:
dodecahedron wrote: Also, my past experience is that the online programs are very much "black-box" like interview-style rather than offering a forms-based interface (which I prefer), but maybe that has changed? I know Bob Meighan was saying that TurboTax was eventually planning to offer a forms based view in their online product.
I have always done "forms based" filing from my desktop versions and from what I have seen so far...it appears that I have the option of doing the same with TaxAct Online. I have no interest in the interview process (by and large).

Toons and others, please correct my understanding if this is incorrect.
Sure you can do forms mode in TaxAct,,,switch back and forth from interview to forms,no problem .All of the forms are not available yet as It is the preview version right now.Its a breeze. :happy

"Use TaxACT's easy step-by-step interview or enter data directly into forms, including W-2 and 1099 data, if you choose."

http://www.taxact.com/products/all_forms.asp?s=STD
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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MossySF
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by MossySF » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:42 pm

ieee488 wrote:
MossySF wrote:ChromeOS is the safest OS to use.
Where are you getting this info?

If Wikipedia is to be believed ChromeOS is based on Gentoo Linux kernel.
Most of the time, when people say Linux OS, they mean Linux + GNU desktop (KDE, Gnome, Unity) + GNU applications. Yes, ChromeOS uses the Linux kernel but so does Android and you rarely see people refer to Android as Linux because neither let you simply run the existing range of Linux applications.

ChromeOS does not let you install your own software -- that is what makes it secure. Download a virus? It's just some dummy file that does nothing. (There is a way to run Linux software in ChromeOS but it requires turning on developer mode and creating a chroot environment to install Ubuntu as a quasi-separate OS underneath ChromeOS.)

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dodecahedron
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:47 pm

Toons wrote:
Blues wrote:
dodecahedron wrote: Also, my past experience is that the online programs are very much "black-box" like interview-style rather than offering a forms-based interface (which I prefer), but maybe that has changed? I know Bob Meighan was saying that TurboTax was eventually planning to offer a forms based view in their online product.
I have always done "forms based" filing from my desktop versions and from what I have seen so far...it appears that I have the option of doing the same with TaxAct Online. I have no interest in the interview process (by and large).

Toons and others, please correct my understanding if this is incorrect.
Sure you can do forms mode in TaxAct,,,switch back and forth from interview to forms,no problem .All of the forms are not available yet as It is the preview version right now.Its a breeze. :happy

"Use TaxACT's easy step-by-step interview or enter data directly into forms, including W-2 and 1099 data, if you choose."

http://www.taxact.com/products/all_forms.asp?s=STD
Sounds good. I may well switch to Tax Act next year. I am expecting a big refund this year (due to major unexpected shifts in financial status following my husband's death) so I will stick with either TT or HRB this year, due to the 10% gift card options.

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Toons
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by Toons » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:50 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Toons wrote:
Blues wrote:
dodecahedron wrote: Also, my past experience is that the online programs are very much "black-box" like interview-style rather than offering a forms-based interface (which I prefer), but maybe that has changed? I know Bob Meighan was saying that TurboTax was eventually planning to offer a forms based view in their online product.
I have always done "forms based" filing from my desktop versions and from what I have seen so far...it appears that I have the option of doing the same with TaxAct Online. I have no interest in the interview process (by and large).

Toons and others, please correct my understanding if this is incorrect.
Sure you can do forms mode in TaxAct,,,switch back and forth from interview to forms,no problem .All of the forms are not available yet as It is the preview version right now.Its a breeze. :happy

"Use TaxACT's easy step-by-step interview or enter data directly into forms, including W-2 and 1099 data, if you choose."

http://www.taxact.com/products/all_forms.asp?s=STD
Sounds good. I may well switch to Tax Act next year. I am expecting a big refund this year (due to major unexpected shifts in financial status following my husband's death) so I will stick with either TT or HRB this year, due to the 10% gift card options.
:thumbsup :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

glock19
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by glock19 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:07 pm

Has anyone actually ever had their brokerage account(s) compromised? We hear a lot about internet fraud but I don't think I've ever read a report concerning a hacker actually getting into the account, making trades or sales, and then actually transferring the money out of the account.

Tell us of your experiences or experiences of someone you may know. I'm not minimizing the need to be extremely cautious, but wondering about the frequency of these crimes.

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zaboomafoozarg
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by zaboomafoozarg » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:18 am

KailuaBoy wrote:Or, you could just install antivirus software and use common sense when banking on the internet.
We have a winner! :D

lazyday
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Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Post by lazyday » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:35 am

Quickfoot wrote:
What is my vulnerability if I store unencrypted statements on google drive?
If your password is guessed or reset by an attacker
I consider my google id and password to be "keys to the kingdom" so have chosen them to be nearly impossible to guess. I plan to have my data on a different id than the one used for email, so my id name is secret, and therefore more difficult to hack or social.

Depending on my setup and what the attacker does, if the id and password are compromised, the statement pdfs might be the least of my problems. But they could be used as another tool against me, such as with social engineering.
or Google suffers a security lapse .... [or]
a rogue employee) could scan the contents of your files for their own interest
These I think I am vulnerable to.
It is trivial to strongly encrypt files

In designing my security plan I've tried to form a compromise between security risks, ease of use, and risks of losing access to my data and accounts such as when passwords are forgotten.

Encrypting data adds another step, and increases my risk of losing data. Also the encryption program itself might add another path of attack.

I guess if there's a Chrome extension or app from a highly trusted source, I should look into it to decide if worthwhile.

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