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Old 03-17-2009, 03:10 AM
databoy databoy is offline
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Default How secure and reliable is PC-BSD?
I will start from the beginning so you will understand my reason for the question.

I just spent a week installing XP on a computer. It started with XPSP2. Once installed and running I installed the XPSP3 update. I found that the performance was not like I expected. I then downloaded all the current patches and installed them. The performance was not optimal. I then extracted the XPSP2 files on my other computer. I extracted XPSP3 and slipstreamed the compilation using nLite. I then slipstreamed the RyanVM updates into the compilation. I finalised the disk and burnt the ISO.

I installed the compilation onto the computer and booted. Installed the drivers; the response was more to my liking. I then downloaded CTupdate 5 and updated XP to the current patches. I then proceeded to install the firewall, anti-spyware, anti-virus and registry & disk cleaner utilities. I then defragged the hard drive which was at 40% fragmentation.

Looking back all I had to show for it was a computer which outperformed my main computer. I now have another two computers to carry out a complete reinstall. The reason being XP registry cleaners do not clean out all the rubbish in the XP registry. That is apparent when I compare the two computers will almost identical CPU and Motherboard specifications.

I am getting too old for self inflicted pain.

I have two identical computers which need an upgrade. The only difference being that one computer has two IDE hard drive caddies. I installed PCLinixOS 2009.1 on an 80GB HD. The installation took 30 minutes with all the required drivers, networking and firewall; and it worked first time out onto the net.

My requirements for the computer are that I need a secure connection. I use online banking therefore all the protection protocols have to be in place. Apart from that my needs are simple; web surfing and downloading. All the other work can be done on the XP machine. I do not need to dual boot; I have 4 spare 80GB hard drives which are more than adequate for the purpose. I can just swap the drives as required. I have an 8GB thumb drive in case I need to manually transfer data from one computer to the other.

For security reasons, at this stage, I do not want the computers communicating with each other. I have run CAT6 through the house; at a later stage it may be a necessity and will address the issue when it arises.

Computer specifications:
Intel D915 PBL motherboard.
Intel Pentium 4 530J, 3000MHz
1024MB DDR2-533 RAM.
Realtec ALC880D onboard audio.
NVIDIA GeForce 600GT graphics.
Antec 4x 5 inch bay box. 450 watt power supply.

Netgear DG834G 4 port ADSL2 modem router.

XP computer: 2x320GB Seagate HD; 1X 500GB WD; 2x LG IDE DVD burners.

Other computer as above expect no internal drives; 2xIDE caddies; 1x LG SATA DVD burner.

I tried PC-BSD 1.4 about one year ago. The only thing I could not get to work was the onboard audio. I have been reluctant to proceed farther because of the problems and feedback on the forum. It is now time to make a decision. My circumstances have changed in the last year. I do not have the patience to endue the pain of long term maintaining XP. I have a copy of Vista which I installed and booted off within a week of the installation. From what I read on the net, Windows 7 under a new name, is just a Vista marketing smoke screen.

Therefore it is either Linux or PC-BSD or both. Security is the main issue. My main reason for keeping XP is burning, photography and video editing. Again my requirements are basic. I do not need expensive bloatware; simple freeware packages do my job.

Is PC-BSD secure enough for internet banking and how reliable is the current version of PC-BSD for everyday computing tasks?
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Old 03-17-2009, 07:27 PM
longview longview is offline
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Default Re: How secure and reliable is PC-BSD?
Is PC-BSD secure enough for internet banking and how reliable is the current version of PC-BSD for everyday computing tasks?
I use PC-BSD 1.5.1 as my one and only OS at home.
It handles everything that I need it to do.
There are even graphics apps available that may allow you to get away from your "need" for an XP box.

I havent tried the latest version (7.1 Beta) yet.
I have tried 7.0. While it is good, KDE4 is just too rough around the edges for me to make the leap. PC-BSD 1.5.1 is great and very stable.

Your internet banking is probably through an SSL connection with the browser. The security is handled that way. The OS has little to do with it.
Konqueror and/or Firefox will have no problem handling it in PC-BSD.
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Old 03-17-2009, 07:49 PM
Oko Oko is offline
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Default Re: How secure and reliable is PC-BSD?
Originally Posted by databoy

Is PC-BSD secure enough for internet banking
The answer to your question depends on the level of security you expect from your system.
Security is very relative notion. What is acceptable level of security for you might be
unacceptable level of security for me or Pentagon.

PC-BSD is not secure enough for internet banking in my book nor there is the way to be made secure enough by a person with your level of technical competence (judging from your post) with all due respect. I do not know if the latest versions of PC-BSD have simple way of creating and turning on PF rules. If that is the case system is relatively secure comparing to other commonly using platforms for internet banking.

PC-BSD security can be only improved so much even by a very competent system administrator due to the simplified installation process which completely undermines security. Even if I give you my OpenBSD machine which is very, well configured and very secure it might be still insecure due to your internet infrastructure. Firstly local (your home network settings) which easily can be fixed and then global (your ISP). Unless you personally control servers of your internet service provider and your bank there is absolutely no way that internet banking is even relatively speaking safe thing to do. Why people do it? I do not know. Maybe because the level of risk seems acceptable for having convenience of banking from the home.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:49 AM
databoy databoy is offline
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Default Re: How secure and reliable is PC-BSD?
Thanks for the replies.

I am Windows literate competent; *nix is an OS I have no experience with.

I can set up an XPSP2 install and the drivers in two hours.

I just carried out a major upgrade to XP on one computer and found that there were changes within SP3 that I was not happy with. I have another two computers and four installs to do. Most people would have just installed SP3 over an SP2 upgrade and left it. There is nothing wrong with that, but I found that a clean slipstream and install worked smoother. All I can say is that on two identical machines side by side, the way XPSP2 upgraded to XPSP3 operated and responded is noticeable to a XPSP3 slipstream install. Why, I do not know because the files are identical.

Hardening XP for internet banking is a very easy and simple process. I have a hardware firewall modem/router. Install Comodo software firewall, Comodo VerfificationEngine, CurrPorts, Ad-Aware, Spybot and Hosts Manager. In Firefox install Adblock Plus, NoScript; Comodo VerfificationEngine is automatically installed into Firefox. I can switch off all the un-necessary services through Control Panel – Administrative tools – Services and terminate any un-required open ports in Firefox through CurrPorts. Internet banking is perfectly safe. It is impossible to penetrate XPSP3 to get to the browser or execute a Trojan/keylogger etc. Comodo VerfificationEngine highlights the border of the browser with a bright green box when the mouse pointer is placed on the web site logo. It also confirms the site security credentials with a logo on the bottom right hand corner. I have complete control of any incoming and outgoing service and executable through the above programs. I actually have to acknowledge an executable before it will function.

My two XP 320GB hard drives are partitioned as: 5GB swap, 15GB XP and programs, remainder for non executable programs. XP uses the swap space on the other hard drive. One 15GB partition is used purely for internet use the other is for photography, video editing, music, burning, etc. I use an anti-virus on the internet partition, non for the other partition. The second partition is usually isolated from internet communications. If I require using the internet, I reboot into the internet partition; it can be a painful exercise.

The reason for the second computer is to isolate the functions. I have managed three years without a re-install. The big problem with XP is current anti-virus programs see a number of programs as false positives and it is getting worse; registry, spyware and defragmenter maintenance consumes time.

I can live with doing internet banking through XP. I want to cut down the XP maintenance time. Most of the Linux forums seem to be inhabited by ankle bitters complaining about the Microsoft tax. There seems to be very little intelligent technical discussions. I have about 10 Linux ebooks which I can use as reference manuals. This site seems to be inhabited by people who know what they are talking about. I have noticed in a few posts that PC-BSD seems to be going through teething problems. From the documents I have read; learning FreeBSD is not an option. I am a hardware person not software; the learning curve is too great. Basically I want an OS which does not have the administration overhead headaches of XP.

Am I wasting my time pursuing the PC-BSD path?
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:15 PM
marco123 marco123 is offline
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Default Re: How secure and reliable is PC-BSD?
I use and enjoy both PC BSD and Ubuntu Linux.

I think if you are after an OS that "just works" has masses of drivers, thousands of programs that can be installed with 1 click, and is completely free of viruses, spyware, file system fragmentation and gradual system slowdown (caused by design flaws like the "Registry"), and with no open ports on public interfaces, then Ubuntu is probably better for you.

If you are behind a Router's hardware firewall then all you need to install on Ubuntu are the noscript and adblock plus add ons for Firefox. You could also create an Apparmor profile for Firefox if you wanted.

You shouldn't really have any problems securing PC BSD, as both OS are free from viruses and spyware, and you can install the same add ons in Firefox. PC BSD does require a bit more work from the user to setup some drivers, but it all depends on your hardware and the amount of time you have available.

I personally love both, but when it comes to core Operating System security I think I would have to give the edge to BSD which is truly world class in this area.

Cheers, Marco.
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