Raspberry Pi Zero W Best OS Option? Online Banking Security options in linux?

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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So, I want an alternative system to do my online banking on, as I don't like the idea of using my primary Windows desktop for this purpose. Those contracts are extremely fault heavy on the consumer, to be honest.

So, I got a RPZ from a retail program for free, and I haven't touched it. I was wondering if anyone had some suggestions as to the best OS option for it? Apparently some of the more mainstream offerings aren't available.

Provided I find something, does anyone who knows linux decently well have any suggestions for security? My previous solution was using a live-USB, but it chronically fails to detect the wifi adapter on my primary PC and my mouse often fails to work on it properly as well.

Anyhow, it'd be used exclusively for online banking and the odd bills-paying website outside of that. Any suggestions for OS and security options?
 

Paul Wagenseil

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Apr 11, 2014
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There's a special flavor of Linux for Raspberry Pi, I believe, but I don't know what kind of fancy-GUI web browser you could muster up on that. You probably don't want to be doing your online banking on Lynx.

That said, I have questions, and suggestions.

Does your primary PC use a Wi-Fi adapter USB dongle? If so, try installing a Wi-Fi card.

Does it already have a Wi-Fi card, and the live USB isn't recognizing it? Try a different Linux distro.

Is your primary PC a laptop (I know you said desktop, but just checking) with a Wi-Fi adapter dongle? Then you need a newer laptop -- but not necessarily a new one. A decent used laptop will run Linux nicely.

Now, to Linux distros:

--Ubuntu or Mint are the most user-friendly, but you knew that already.

--Kali is very easy to set up and run from a USB stick, and is very fast even on old hardware, but you are running as root the whole time, which may not be the optimal security setup for online banking.

--If you have older hardware, try using Lubuntu or Xubuntu -- I've tried the latter on 15-year-old hardware and it runs fine.

Or you could just buy a cheap Chromebook and use it ONLY for online banking and paying bills. Nothing else. Here's one for $110 plus shipping: https://computers.woot.com/offers/samsung-samsung-xe550c22-a01usrb-c-variation-l

If you dial back the apprehension a bit, you could just install a lesser-known browser on Windows and dedicate that to online banking and paying bills. Vivaldi (made by the original Opera team) may be the place to start.

Good luck.....
 

canadianvice

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So, some technical details:
The LiveUSB was made with YUMI, presently the bootable distros I have on it are Linux Mint KDE, Linux Mint Cinnamon (both 18.something) and Ubuntu 16.04. My PC uses a PCI wifi card that came installed with the motherboard. It works properly on Windows, but whenever I boot my linux distros they complain about intel microcode vs using nothing, but they flick back to nothing the second I click use the microcode. Sometimes wifi works, but it's really random.

As for the mouse, it's kind of just a PoS, but I think having permanent storage might help that along.

As for browser, it's mostly because I doubt the security of my system and there's not much I can do if there's keyloggers and such on it. I'd just really prefer to use a totally isolated environment like a no-write Linux USB, or a separate system.

I don't really want to put money into this project, hence trying to think up a purpose for the RPZ. I have mobile devices, but they're all rooted, and so if I was compromised I'm certain my bank would piss all over me. Consumer law in Canada is pretty craptastic, so OB is presently without regulation.

 

Paul Wagenseil

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Apr 11, 2014
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I did some of Ye Olde Googling and found this: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/not-just-raspbian-10-linux-distros-pi-can-run/

It looks like there's not much you can do with the RP Zero to get a decent GUI, but the RP 2 or 3 seem pretty capable of doing that.

Here's a fully kitted-out 3 for, um, $10 less than that beat-up Chromebook: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4RE6488174

Try a Kali live USB on the desktop and see if that handles the Wi-Fi card and mouse OK.

 
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