Internet Security

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Internet Security

Post by rdmdog » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:04 pm

Hey guys, I guess I am talking to the converted here, but the following story happened to me earlier in the week, I have not cut and pasted this from an e-mail or anything. Read on.

On Tuesday I received a call from my bank, they alerted me to a direct deposit from my account that didn't match my, at best irregular, spending patterns.

Someone infected my home computer with a screen grabber and a key logger (Viruses), combined the two to work out the encoded password from my net bank account, deposited $4,000.00 of my money into someone from Newcastle's ANZ bank account, and was hoping they would send that money to them. I'm sure you have seen those "Help me. I am a prince from a small North African country and I have money I need transferred to me from a bank and I need someone in Australia.....BLA BLA BLA" type e-mails. I guess someone in Newie fell for it!!

Bottom line, no matter how secure you think your net bank is, a) check it regularly for any discrepancies, b) DO NOT reply to any of those above mentioned e-mails, and c) check the Bank you use have a security section like mine does, they just saved me a heap of dough!!

Like I said this happened to me, and my computer has had a total rebuild after returning home from OS, so it has very up to date Anti Virus software.

Pass it on.

Dog

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Post by AnotherDatto » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:29 pm

It's not necessarily gonna get picked up by virus checkers, either. Get yourself some things like Adaware, Spyware Blaster and so on and keep them pretty much up to date. They're in some cases even better in finding security issues than your average virus checker, I find.

Did you get the 4k back, Doggos?
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Post by rdmdog » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:39 pm

Pretty sure I will, The guy from the bank said that even if it wasn't noticed so quickly (within 1 and a half hours of the withdrawal) the bank would cover it.

My net bank has been locked and I'm waiting for a new password to re-open it, hopefully that will happen this week. Then Ill be able to check that it has returned.

Fingers are still crossed!

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Post by djs325 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:16 pm

Best thing I ever did for my personal internet security?

Bought an Apple Powerbook!

:D
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Post by FatBoy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:04 pm

I point blank refuse to use Internet Banking or pay with a credit card for that very reason. A mate of mine had 8k racked up on his Visa card and it took the bank (Which bank you may ask ?? :wink: ) 8 months to resolve the issue...

Thanks, i'll keep living in the 80's... :D

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Post by davel » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:17 pm

I believe there is also a test case happening in NZ at the moment where a customer has been refused to have the money repaid because they didn't follow the advice of the bank and have an up to date anti-virus/anti-spyware product installed on their PC.

Mind you their laws are a little different but you can expect the greedy mo-fo's to start looking at this sort of thing here if they can work their way around it somehow.

If your bank offers a hardware based token (one time password token), take them up on the offer even if it costs a few bucks. Or register for the SMS service that some are offering these days to ensure that all transfers are authorised before they are made. Saves a lot of hassle and arguing with the bank that way.
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Post by FatBoy » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:05 am

Or get a cheque book...
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Post by Group3JDatsun » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:57 pm

Doggo,

If you're machine has been compromised you should also think about rebuilding it/having it rebuilt. Buy/borrow a USB hard drive to back up all the stuff you need, blow the machine away and start again. Most trojans and spyware replace core parts of your configuration with their own versions, making it hard for apps like Adaware, Spybot, etc to spot them. anti-virus and anti-spyware is good, don't get me wrong, but it won't always get everything. The best solution is a rebuild.

For a bit more info on good practice, here's a quick and effective tutorial:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutoria ... ial82.html

Further useful info from the same site:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutoria ... ial82.html

Nice one djs, though tis a fair commitment for most people to change operating system; there's a degree of re-education required. Apple and Linux still have their bugs, though they are they're much fewer than Windows due to 1) [arguably] better design and 2) smaller community meaning smaller target audience for the bad guys.

Cheers
Tim
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Post by rdmdog » Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:25 pm

I'm no nerd, but this is what I have been doing.

I use Mozilla instaed of Explorer, NoD 32 Anti Virus checks, AVG Anti Spyware, and right now I am downloading PCCillin to check it all up.

My computer bloke is going to come and have a look, but it is only four weeks old, or less (Cant finds the invoice to check the date, which would be great if anyone has seen it???) so its not like it has crept in cos I am using old stuff!

I did use another computer that I am going to put the PCCillin onto and check it out!

Any other ideas I would be happy to hear............

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Post by Group3JDatsun » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:46 am

Mate,

An unpatched/unprotected windows PC tends to last 30-45 minutes on the web before its subject to scan and potential compromise. There are things that can be done about it, which I'll try and cover off below.
There's a bunch of tools out there designed to scan and exploit known vulnerabilites in the various versions of Windows. The point of this is that if the machine has been built, not configured correctly and connected to the web and left unprotected for more a couple of days, there's every likelyhood its been scanned at the very least. And, if its been compromised, there's an even money chance other people have found the compromise and used it for their own purposes.

The problems extend beyond internet banking to people installing software on your PC to run websites and applications in the background without your knowing, in addition to gathering personal information for identitiy fraud.

This is all worst case, but at the same time the likelyhood of worst case is moderate; its not like the rest of life where the worst case is an occasional thing.
I'm not trying to fear-monger, but I am trying to make everyone aware that a healthy level of paranoia is a good thing when dealing with the internet.

A few other suggestions:

- Are the users on your computer set up as administrators? If they are, create an administrator account on the machine and downgrade the privileges of the normal users to just "users". This restricts the damage that can be done if someone manages to compromise the PC, as they are likely to only get user privileges rather than full administrator privileges. Setting up normal accounts to be only users can be inconvenient to begin with as you need to tune the permissions those accounts have (such as whether they can use the DVDROM), however once setup it can go a long way to limit the damage if your PC gets compromised. The next trick is NOT to use the administrator account unless you need to do maintenance on the system.

- Are you on broadband? If so, you should invest in a reasonable ADSL/ADSL2/DSLAM/appropriate router with onboard firewall. Draytek, Linksys and DLink (there are others) tend to be well recognised. The next trick is NOT to use the "auto configure me" button or the default options, but to take the time to set it up properly. This means configuring the firewall rules along the following lines:

Source of the traffic-----Destination of the traffic-----Protocol------Action

Your PC-----------------------Internet------------------------DNS--------Allow
-------------------------------------------------------------------HTTP
-------------------------------------------------------------------HTTPS
--------------------------------------------------------------------FTP

Internet-----------------------Your PC----------------------ANY--------Deny

The above is a general concept...you'll need to do more reading to tune it to your requirements, but the idea is that the Internet cannot initiate connections into your PC AND to restrict the connections your PC can make to the internet to ONLY what you need. Many compromises result in additional software being installed and people making connections to that software. You can stop them doing this if you don't allow the web to connect back to you - in the majority of cases there is NO reason for the computers on the intenet to be able to initiate connections to your PC. About the only case home users may need to allow connections in, is if you play online games. In that instance allow ONLY the ports required for the game to work.
Next; ensure the router is configured to allow management from your PC only. All routers seem to allow management from the internet; this is evil and should NOT be allowed as it allows people out there to try and break into the router. For business, I know many computer guys like this left on so they don't need to come out to your premises, but beware that this also allows the rest of the world to have a go at breaking into your router.
Finally on this subject, MAKE SURE YOU CHANGE THE ROUTER PASSWORD FROM THE DEFAULT. As mentioned above, you shouldn't allow the outside world to manage your router anyway, but it is good practice none the less. It means if someone manages to compromise your PC, they can't also take over your router using the default password.
This may seem obvious, but the number of routers out there which allow administration from the internet and are running the default password is mind boggling. If the password is the default, all someone needs to do is figure out the model of router you're running (not hard), download the manual free of charge off the vendors site and locate the default password. Or if they're using a tool, they can just run an automated password cracking tool with a dictionary of known default passwords.

- That brings me to passwords. Most passwords are easy to crack because they're either 1) something simplistic like "password", "abc123", "administrator" 2) a dictionary word such as "apple", building", etc or 3) something which is known about the owner such as "Datsun" or "Group3J" in my case. Entire dictionaries of words are available for password cracking tools on the web. So, a few simple rules to creating passwords. First make it 8 characters or more. This greatly increases the security of the password, assuming the following steps are also undertaken. Second, don't choose a dictionary word. Instead choose some random words you'll remember, with at least one unlikely to occur in the dictionary; say brapsnow. Finally, come up with a method for doing some substitution and capitalisation....something like replacing your o's with zero's, capitalising A's and X's and add a random character to the start and end such as: !brApsn0w$. Now you have something which is far more difficult to crack for a bunch of technical reasons I won't bore you with.

- Do you have an onboard firewall (such as Zonealarm)? I think Zonealarm now ships as part of Windows...can't remember (I'm not much of a Windows guy). Either way, get yourself some firewall software for your PC. Why? Because your router firewall is only interested in a basic (IP) level of filtering while your PC level firewall is more interested in a higher (application) level of filtering; i.e. they're doing different jobs. As with the firewall on the router, DO NOT just leave it at the defaults. Learn how to use it, tune it to your requirements and most of all DO NOT ignore the little windows popping up to tell you something. If you understand what its saying, and it seems reasonable, allow it. If you don't, deny it. If you can't then use some app, you'll know why and next time that window pops up, you can allow it.

- Finally, a mild....lecture I suppose. I know computers are boring to the vast majority of people and I understand why. However, you wouldn't drive a car, knowing only where to put the key. You'd educate yourself on how to operate the steering wheel, gear stick and pedals at the very least. So, that's what I'm encouraging people to do - at least learn the basics required to secure your PC from the rest of the world. What many people don't understand is that by accessing the internet, we're also putting at risk alot of personal information if the PC is compromised; for example your resume on the hard drive. So, why not spend a day learning to configure your PC and your router to be as secure as is reasonable and thus reduce the risk to your personal information; if you're business is online, then even more so. It will mean learning some new terms and idea's and it WILL be very frustrating at times, but its also not rocket science. Everyone here has a technical brain and understands cars; computers actually aren't a great deal different.
The vast, vast, vast majority of computer compromises are automated; the reality of a "hacker" sitting out there on the web to break into your personal PC is actually pretty remote. Instead some pimply faced teenager downloads a bunch of tools off the web and starts using them to scan internet address ranges. There's a pre-set list of things to scan for and when it hits on a PC with one of those vulnerabilities it compromises it, letting said pimply faced teenager know about it. At the same time it also probably installs some malicious bit of software on the PC. SO, if you keep ahead of the game by keeping your PC up to date with the lastest security patches, run some sensible anti-virus software, don't open suspicious looking emails (yes, just opening them can do evil things), run a personal and ADSL firewall, make sure your normal user account isn't an administrator and do the other stuff layed out in those earlier links, you minimise both your risk profile to those tools out there looking for common exploits.
I know its boring, I know its all probably very dry, but if you set it up properly, you only need do it each time you buy a new PC/router (i.e. not very often) and you go a long way to making your personal information secure. Its not a guarantee, but it makes a huge difference to the odds.

Cheers
Tim
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Post by madazmotorsport » Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:54 am

Group3JDatsun wrote: An unpatched/unprotected windows PC tends to last 30-45 minutes on the web before its subject to scan and potential compromise.
yep, I remember that article/experiment a computer mag did. Very scary thought for anyone using Windoze! I've left an unpatch linux machine on the internet for weeks. Still going strong without any problems. I've turned it into my firewall machine at home now ;)
Group3JDatsun wrote: Nice one djs, though tis a fair commitment for most people to change operating system; there's a degree of re-education required. Apple and Linux still have their bugs, though they are they're much fewer than Windows due to 1) [arguably] better design and 2) smaller community meaning smaller target audience for the bad guys.

Cheers
Tim
There's not really any argument. Linux (and Apple which is also a unix derivative) have a completely different internal (read : kernel) structure to Windoze. Security has been built into the kernel from the very beginning. Not an after-thought add-on like Windoze. Unix has been an Enterprise-level OS for a long time. Windoze is relatively new to that space. If Im going to do online banking/selling/buying I would rather be using an Enterprise standard OS than anything else.
That audience is growing and faster than M$ would like. Dell are now shipping PCs preinstalled with Ubuntu. Thats a big step for Linux!
While these facts have meant its better for hackers to develop malware for Windoze they have only been exploiting what is already there. How many people with windoze don't have admin authority? How many know just the right settings and configurations to make it as safe as it can be? These are facts that hackers have exploited for a long time and with windoze it doesn't change. With Linux (in this case Ubuntu) you don't have Admin authority and you don't need it to do your normal work.

As for the conversion from windoze for new users. While it was true some time ago that it was a big learning curve. That curve is now a small hump. I've moved my father from WInXP to Ubuntu. He is in no way computer literate but has taken to Ubuntu like a duck to water. It is a very small step these days. And best of all - Ubuntu is free!!

So, if you are going to all the trouble of rebuilding a system (you really need to do a low-level format starting from Hd(0,0) all the way to the end because some hide out in the MBR plus first and/or second stage boot records) I would simply buy a new HDD (not that expensive these days) , throw away the one you had Windoze on (or jump up and down on it - whatever makes you happy :lol: ) fit the new one to your computer and then install Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com). They will even mail you out a copy for free (https://shipit.ubuntu.com/) if you don't want to download it and burn a DVD/CD yourself.

All windoze security flaws and mal-ware problems solvered ;)
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Post by Group3JDatsun » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:35 am

madazmotorsport wrote:
Group3JDatsun wrote: An unpatched/unprotected windows PC tends to last 30-45 minutes on the web before its subject to scan and potential compromise.
yep, I remember that article/experiment a computer mag did. Very scary thought for anyone using Windoze! I've left an unpatch linux machine on the internet for weeks. Still going strong without any problems. I've turned it into my firewall machine at home now ;)
http://www.honeypots.net :D

I've a couple of friends who've run both Linux flavours and Windows. Linux is not immune, its just that there's less tools and it requires a little more knowledge. It also means the compromises are better designed. :)
madazmotorsport wrote:
Group3JDatsun wrote: Nice one djs, though tis a fair commitment for most people to change operating system; there's a degree of re-education required. Apple and Linux still have their bugs, though they are they're much fewer than Windows due to 1) [arguably] better design and 2) smaller community meaning smaller target audience for the bad guys.

Cheers
Tim
There's not really any argument. Linux (and Apple which is also a unix derivative) have a completely different internal (read : kernel) structure to Windoze. Security has been built into the kernel from the very beginning. Not an after-thought add-on like Windoze. Unix has been an Enterprise-level OS for a long time. Windoze is relatively new to that space. If Im going to do online banking/selling/buying I would rather be using an Enterprise standard OS than anything else.
That audience is growing and faster than M$ would like. Dell are now shipping PCs preinstalled with Ubuntu. Thats a big step for Linux!
While these facts have meant its better for hackers to develop malware for Windoze they have only been exploiting what is already there. How many people with windoze don't have admin authority? How many know just the right settings and configurations to make it as safe as it can be? These are facts that hackers have exploited for a long time and with windoze it doesn't change. With Linux (in this case Ubuntu) you don't have Admin authority and you don't need it to do your normal work.

As for the conversion from windoze for new users. While it was true some time ago that it was a big learning curve. That curve is now a small hump. I've moved my father from WInXP to Ubuntu. He is in no way computer literate but has taken to Ubuntu like a duck to water. It is a very small step these days. And best of all - Ubuntu is free!!

So, if you are going to all the trouble of rebuilding a system (you really need to do a low-level format starting from Hd(0,0) all the way to the end because some hide out in the MBR plus first and/or second stage boot records) I would simply buy a new HDD (not that expensive these days) , throw away the one you had Windoze on (or jump up and down on it - whatever makes you happy :lol: ) fit the new one to your computer and then install Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com). They will even mail you out a copy for free (https://shipit.ubuntu.com/) if you don't want to download it and burn a DVD/CD yourself.

All windoze security flaws and mal-ware problems solvered ;)
Rather than go on with a Linux debate on an IPRA forum, :) all I'll say is the following:

While I agree with you in principal the reality of the world is that most people find computers boring, but want to use the services they have to offer. Its also a reality that most Linii don't plug and play across the board out of the box - there's always a level of tweaking involved to get them to sing and dance and that tweaking is inevitably low level (such as resetting your X display when the GUI fails to do it for you properly...then you're editing text files and then you need to learn vi [if you're a purist like me] or some other text editor). Its like giving someone a race car when they want a limo; they can get from A to B but its not really what the were after.
If you look at it from a business perpective, Windows admins are a dime a dozen while Linux admins are more thin on the ground and demand more money for their knowledge. Then there's enterprise support for the desktop; RHEL and SuSE....I think that's it (I'm a touch behind the times on that one). So as a business Windows makes sense if you have more than probably 30 users to support.

The next problem is that the Linux OS (across the flavours) is generally trying to accomodate everybody; it has a pretty windows GUI like Windows, wants to be user friendly like windows, yet wants to remain to its roots; and it results in trade offs as always. The default install gives you volumes of stuff you don't neccesarily need or want and listens on a bunch of unnecessary services (RPC anyone?). Hmm....reminds me of another OS. To get around this, you can tweak the install, which while not being rocket science, also isn't something the average user wants to mess around with. Then you want to install a new bit of software.....and we get to play the dependancy game; oh the joy!!..
Having said all that, Linux does also give you the power to change it all around and make it work right. You just have to be interested enough to want to do it.....

As far as security is concerned, is Linux better than Windows? Yes. Is it the best? Hell no!! You want a build a firewall - start with OpenBSD. Is it a pain in the backside to manage? Hell yes!!!
As usual in the world of security, there is a compromise between usability and security.

The bottom line is that Windows is 1) the default standard still and 2) far more ingrained in the user experience; people use it at work and thus use it at home (apart from those lucky enough to be able to choose our OS :)). I'd rather see people run a secured Windows box than an open Linux box.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like Windows either (I know next to nothing about it and live in a Unix world), but the reality of the world needs to be considered. Education and assisting people who have no interest in computers to secure what they have is more effective than telling them to move to something they've never seen and have no interest in. Or in security mangement speak, security is an enabler not a business driver unto itself.


Gee I hope John or Rick don't see this post; they'll have my head on a plate.... :D
Last edited by Group3JDatsun on Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Notso Swift » Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:57 am

Everyone here has a technical brain and understands cars;
Now that is a big call!

BTW my new phone runs mobilewindows 6 or something like that do I need to install a special "mobile" package over the top or can I use my stuff from Computer Assosiates that I have PC, or is mobile stuff not really a problem because of some other reason
Contrary to popular opinion, I do have mechanical sympathy, I always feel sorry for the cars I drive.

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Post by madazmotorsport » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:22 pm

Group3JDatsun wrote:
Rather than go on with a Linux debate on an IPRA forum, :) all I'll say is the following:
Agreed ;)
Group3JDatsun wrote: While I agree with you in principal the reality of the world is that most people find computers boring, but want to use the services they have to offer. Its also a reality that most Linii don't plug and play across the board out of the box - there's always a level of tweaking involved to get them to sing and dance and that tweaking is inevitably low level.
I too live in a *nix (and S/390 ;) ) world but have to use Windoze for some "work" things :roll:
All I'll say Tim is install Ubuntu - either on a spare machine or on same free space (doesn't even have to be unpartitioned either). You may well be pleasantly surprised. I did this just recently and was expecting to have to do a bit of what you call "low level tweaking" but to get 99% of everything going - the install process found it all and installed what it needed. Even printers! Which has always been a pain in the past with Linux (the whole proprietary issue again - thanks M$!). Then there are heaps of post-install websites with simple step-by-step instructions on getting all those "extra" experiences working flawlessly. (http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,13092 ... ticle.html)

Yes - linux does come with a lot of stuff that may not be needed - but its better to be there than have to then go out and buy it and hope it does what you want. I'd rather activate it - test it - delete it if its no good or keep it if it is.

And if my Dad can get use its functions without me sitting there an going through everything step by step - then even race car drivers can do it too :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Post by Group3JDatsun » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:32 pm

madazmotorsport wrote:
Group3JDatsun wrote:
Rather than go on with a Linux debate on an IPRA forum, :) all I'll say is the following:
Agreed ;)
Group3JDatsun wrote: While I agree with you in principal the reality of the world is that most people find computers boring, but want to use the services they have to offer. Its also a reality that most Linii don't plug and play across the board out of the box - there's always a level of tweaking involved to get them to sing and dance and that tweaking is inevitably low level.
I too live in a *nix (and S/390 ;) ) world but have to use Windoze for some "work" things :roll:
All I'll say Tim is install Ubuntu - either on a spare machine or on same free space (doesn't even have to be unpartitioned either). You may well be pleasantly surprised. I did this just recently and was expecting to have to do a bit of what you call "low level tweaking" but to get 99% of everything going - the install process found it all and installed what it needed. Even printers! Which has always been a pain in the past with Linux (the whole proprietary issue again - thanks M$!). Then there are heaps of post-install websites with simple step-by-step instructions on getting all those "extra" experiences working flawlessly. (http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,13092 ... ticle.html)

Yes - linux does come with a lot of stuff that may not be needed - but its better to be there than have to then go out and buy it and hope it does what you want. I'd rather activate it - test it - delete it if its no good or keep it if it is.

And if my Dad can get use its functions without me sitting there an going through everything step by step - then even race car drivers can do it too :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Fair enough... :) I'll build a virtual Unbuntu when I get some time and see what its like. Nonetheless, I think our Windows bretheren should be afforded what help we can offer when they ask...... :)

My suggestion for the day is to try FVWM instead of KDE/Gnome. Ignore the little bit of sillness that it has by default, tune it to sing and dance (or nab a config off someone else like I did) and you'll use anything else. Its like the F1 of the window/virtual desktop world.....mmmmmmm......fvwm.......:D
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Post by Momus » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:33 pm

Not sure exactly what I will do with all that info at the moment- but thanks guys, particularly 3J, for the hours that went into those posts. :)

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Post by 82911 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:05 pm

Perhaps you guys could do some sort of a contra?
Say a set of nice shinny hubs for a bullet proof PC.... :D

Cheers Greg..
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Post by smitha » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:47 am

Good advise guys.

And BTW. The only way to secure a ANY PC and O/S is to unplug it and bury it in concrete in the backyard.

Kinda like if someone really wants to steal your car, no matter of club locks and alarms is going to stop them if they really want it.
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Location: Melbourne, for a little while, Australia

Post by rdmdog » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:22 pm

Hey guys,

When I get the chance and my brane is working half correctly Ill have a look at the guff you have provided, then get a mate to decipher it. Can't I just give my machine a wheel alignment???? :roll: :lol:

I am also happy to let you all know that the bank has returned my dough, plus the interest that it would have accrued during its absence.

That being the case I have no trouble in giving the Adelaide Bank a big wrap!! I'll have to look into the merger with the Bendigo a little more to see if they are heading in the right direction. I must say that customer service is top notch!

Side note, the PCCillin wouldnt download correctly either!!
:roll: :roll: :(

Shane001
forum freak
Posts: 1344
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:52 am
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Location: Sydney

Post by Shane001 » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:40 pm

It's great that they returned your money, though it's a legal requirement, so I don't know that I'd give them a big head over it :lol:

Different story if your account was a business account though, this only applies to consumer accounts (and credit cards). The banks are legislated to protect your money from fraud.

Better to look for a bank that has better security in the first place. IMO the sms system of the NAB and several others is pretty hard to beat. You cannot transfer money out of your account without your mobile phone.

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