A major security concern for users of online banking / share trading is keylogging.
Simply put, a keylogger installed on your computer could pass on your login credentials (credit card information etc etc) to a cyber criminal. What the criminal could do with this information is anybody's guess and your worst nightmare.
A recent BBC investigation revealed how a six-year-old British girl hacked into the highly sensitive computer system at the House of Commons using keyloggers. Click here for the detailed story.
The issue is compounded if you use a public computer (e.g. at a cyber cafe, airport lounge, library, hotel etc) to log into your email / banking account.
There are some simple methods that can be used to beat a keylogger (no guarantees !!):
1. Carry a portable version of Firefox with the KeyScrambler Personal add-on. (KeyScrambler Personal "encrypts your keystrokes at the kernel driver level to protect your login information from keyloggers"). You can carry this on a USB drive. Whenever you need to use a public computer, connect your USB stick and use your private secure Firefox browser.
2. Carry your passwords in a randomized manner on a USB stick. e.g. if your password is Priyanka_$_chopRA, all you have to do is carry a text file with the words Priya, ankarra, chop and RAM somewhere in a whole lot of meaningful text. While logging in, copy and paste the said words onto the password input box. A little tedious, but very effective against text keyloggers... WARNING!! - may fail against screen shot capturing keyloggers.
3. Carry a portable antivirus on your USB stick and run it on the public computer. Note: Not very effective and not very easy to do.