A security tool that your bank may be encouraging you to use may be giving you grief

Online BankingTrusteer Rapport (which is installed on your computer under the name of “Trusteer Endpoint Protection”) is a piece of security software from IBM that is intended to make your online banking safer by spotting fake banking websites, intercepting emails that contain misleading links to fake banking websites, and so on.

Quite probably, you have never encountered it or heard of it unless your bank installed it on your computer when you established online banking. Some of the banks that I think support it include Santander, Lloyds, and NatWest. So, it’s quite possible that it’s running on your computer now and you’ve never been aware of it. If that’s the case, don’t worry. It’s perfectly legitimate and not in any way malicious. If it hasn’t been causing you any problems up to now then I see no reason to un-install it except, perhaps, that it might be having a deleterious effect on your system’s performance.

On the other hand, you may have noticed that it can have a bad effect on your system in several ways:

  • It can interfere with your other security software to cause freezes and crashes
  • It can slow down your system
  • It can cause your browser to freeze (Google Chrome)
  • It can stop your browser from even loading up (Microsoft Edge)
  • It can produce disconcerting, irritating, and misleading popups suggesting that it is installed but not enabled, and that this situation is easily remedied (Google Chrome)

Trusteer logoI’ve been wrestling with it on behalf of several computer support clients recently, and I came to the conclusion that it’s just not worth the bother. I installed it on my own main machine and it initially caused problems with Chrome (freezing) but not Firefox (but I’ve almost stopped using Firefox, anyway). It doesn’t affect Opera for the simple reason that it doesn’t install an extension to run with Opera. I have to say that the initial problems of freezing when running Chrome seem to have stopped, but there’s no way I would have such a seemingly flakey piece of software running on my main computer if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m testing it.

Looking to find some backing for my opinion that it’s not worth using, I came across a web page entitled “Should you use Trusteer Rapport” from Which? magazine.

Its conclusions include:

  • Rapport interferes with browsers and slows systems down
  • Your browser will, anyway, probably intercept any attempt to connect to a fake banking site
  • Your antivirus program will almost certainly catch “phishing” emails
  • It’s your bank’s job – not Rapport’s – to keep your money safe.

Brian Krebs’ web page on Rapport may be old (2010), but it’s worth looking at if you are interested in gaining a more in-depth view on how Rapport works.

Assuming that you are using Windows 7 or 10, the easiest way to check to see if Rapport is installed – and to uninstall it if it is – is as follows:

  • Press Windows+R to open the Run box.
  • Type “appwiz.cpl” (without the quotes) in the box and click OK.
  • Highlight “Trusteer Endpoint Protection” (by clicking on it).
  • Click on “Uninstall” (located directly above the list of programs).
  • Follow any prompts that come up.
  • Close the Programs and Features window.

The three best ways to keep your finances safe online are quite easy and straightforward:

  • ALWAYS have up-to-date antivirus software running.
  • NEVER click on any link in any email that purports to come from your bank.
  • KEEP your browser updated.
Rapport Chrome Error Message

The error message Rapport shows in Chrome. No point in looking in Chrome extensions – it will not show that Rapport is installed. Click on the link (“Need help?) in the error message and follow the instructions to get Rapport working in Chrome. Not for the faint-hearted.

Are you fed up with browser popups that tell you the website you are about to visit “wants to know your location”?

 
Map PinI find this really irritating. It reminds of the irritation I feel whenever I go into a Nespresso shop. Actually, there are several things that annoy me about Nespresso shops, but the one I mean here is when you attempt to pay and they ask for your postcode. No – you don’t need my postcode to sell me coffee.
 
Back to the point. You can set a preference in your browser that stops websites from asking this question. As you’d probably expect, the method depends on your browser, so here’s how you do it in current versions of the major browsers:
 
Google Chrome

  • Click on Settings (3 vertical dots at the top right of the browser)
  • Scroll down to “Advanced” and click on it
  • Click on “Content Settings”
  • Click on “Location”
  • Against the “Ask before accessing (recommended)” setting, click the “switch” to the left so that the label changes to “Blocked”
  • Close the settings tab (the “x” next to “Settings” at the top of the window)

Firefox

  • Click on Options (3 horizontal bars)
  • Click on the padlock on the left side
  • Scroll down to “Permissions”
  • Click on “Settings” next to “Location”
  • Tick the box next to “Block new requests asking to access your location”
  • Click on “Save Changes”
  • Close the “Options” tab

Internet Explorer

  • Click on the “Tools” menu option
  • Click on “Internet Options”
  • Click on the “Privacy” tab
  • Place a tick against “Never allow websites to request your physical location”
  • Click on “OK”

Edge
 
You can not turn location on/off within Edge. Instead, you need to change Edge’s access to your location within Windows 10 settings: 

  • Click on the “Start” button
  • Type “location” without the quotes
  • Click on “Location privacy settings”
  • If “location” is “off” you do not need to do anything more
  • If “location” is on, scroll down to the list of apps and turn Edge off
  • Close the Settings window

Safari
 
As with Edge (above), the setting is no longer within the browser but is part of system-wide settings:
 

  • Click on the apple (at top left of all screens)
  • Click on “System Preferences”
  • Click on “Security & Privacy”
  • Click on “Location Services” (you may also need to click on the padlock below this to unlock changes to settings)
  • Remove the tick next to “Enable Location Services”
  • Close System Preferences

Map PinsOpera
 
I was unable to find the setting in the current version of Opera. Opera’s own help page suggests the following:
 
“go to Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Network, and uncheck “Allow websites to request my physical location””
 
but, unless I’m losing the plot, that setting no longer exists.

Want to move to a different browser?

Favorites folderYou may have thought of trying a different browser, but can’t face the thought of starting afresh with your collection of internet favorites (known as bookmarks in some browsers). Well, don’t let that stop you. It’s fairly easy to copy your favorites from one browser to another (technically, we are “importing” rather than “copying”, but that’s splitting hairs).

So, just look down to find the section relating to the browser you wish to start using, and follow the instructions. As usual with my blog posts of this kind, the instructions relate to the latest versions of the browsers.

Chrome

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top righthand corner of the browser
  • Click on “bookmarks”
  • Click on “import bookmarks and settings”
  • If Firefox isn’t the browser from which you are copying bookmarks, click on the triangle next to it and choose either Edge or Internet Explorer instead. The last option in the list (“Bookmarks HTML file”) is for when you are transferring Chrome bookmarks between computers
  • Uncheck any items that you con’t wish to copy from your previous browser
  • Click on “Import”
  • If you have your previous browser open, then close it now and then click “Continue”

After the importing has been completed, you can see where Chrome has put your bookmarks and move move them around using the Bookmarks Manager:

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top righthand corner of the browser
  • Click on “bookmarks”
  • Click on “bookmark manager”

BookmarkFirefox

  • Click on the icon of the clipboard (it has the tooltip “show your bookmarks”) that is next to the star that bookmarks the current page
  • Click on “show all bookmarks”
  • Click on “Import and Backup” at the top of the screen
  • Click on “Import Data from Another Browser”
  • Select the browser and click “Next”
  • De-select any items you do not wish to import
  • Click “Next”
  • Click “Finish” when you see the message “The following items were successfully imported: Favorites”

Firefox leaves you in the Bookmark Manager, so you can see the imported items (in a folder called, for instance, “From Intenet Explorer”) and move them around as desired.

Internet Explorer

  • Click on the “File” command
  • Click on “Import and Export”
  • Ensure that “Import from another browser” is selected
  • Click on “Next”
  • Select Safari or Chrome (note that Microsoft don’t give you the option to import from “Edge” (their other browser))
  • Click on “Import”
  • Click on “Finish”

To organise your favorites in Internet Explorer:

  • Click on the icon of the star (top right of browser)
  • Click on the triangle next to “Add to favorites”
  • Click on “organize favorites”

StarEdge

  • Click on the three horizontal dots (top right of browser)
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Click on “View favorites settings”
  • Select the browser from which to import the favorites (note that Microsoft are happy to give us the option to import from Internet Explorer to Edge, but not vice versa)
  • Click on “Import”

To organise your favorites in Edge:

  • Click on the icon with three unequal-length horizontal bars (apparently, this is called “the hub”)
  • In the popup, click on the favorites icon (the star)
  • You can now drag and drop favorites to move them around, or right-click to rename or delete

Safari (on a Mac)

  • Click on the “File” command
  • Click on “Import from” and then select the browser whose favorites/bookmarks you wish to copy
  • Untick “history” if you do not want to import it
  • Click on “import”

When I tried this, I found my “bookmarks” imported from Chrome were placed inside a bookmarks folder called “favorites” (accessible by clicking on the “bookmarks” command). No, I couldn’t figure that one out.

Globe and Keys

Do you get hassled by your browser offering to save passwords?

All major browsers can be configured to save the username and password of your account at the website you have just accessed. That’s all very well if:

  • You don’t use a password manager (such as LastPass) to handle this for you and
  • You trust the browser to keep the information safe

If either of these conditions is untrue then you may prefer your browser to stop being so eager to help. Detailed below are the instructions for configuring the current versions of the major browsers.

One browser will quite happily display all your passwords without asking for any credentials at all. So, anyone accessing your computer can easily see these passwords. And which one is it? Firefox – see below

Firefox logoFirefox

  • Click on Menu option (three horizontal bars at top right)
  • Click on “Options”
  • Click on “Security”
  • Untick “Remember login for sites”
  • Close the “options” tab (or the entire browser)

Note that, before closing Options, you can click on “Saved Logins” and then “Show Passwords” to display all the passwords you’ve asked Firefox to save for you. I can’t imagine why they make this so insecure.

Chrome logoChrome

  • Click on Menu option (three dots at top right)
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Scroll down to “Advanced” and click on it
  • Scroll down further and, under the “passwords and forms” section, click the arrow to the right of “manage passwords” and slide the blue switch left to the “off” position
  • Close the “Settings” tab (or the entire browser)

Note that, a bit further down, there is a section called “Saved Passwords”. If you click the 3 dots to the right of a saved password then you can click on details. In the popup window, you can then click on the “eye” symbol to see the password. It will then ask you for your Windows password. This is the password you use to log on as a Windows user. It won’t accept a pin (even if that’s your normal logon method). I haven’t tested what happens if you sign on to your computer as a local user with no password.

Safari logoSafari (on a Mac)

  • Click on the “Safari” menu option
  • Click on “Preferences”
  • Click on the “passwords” tab
  • Untick “Autofill user names and passwords”
  • Close the passwords window

IE11 - iconInternet Explorer

  • Click on the Settings “cog wheel”
  • Click on “Internet Options”
  • Click on the “Content” tab
  • Click on “Settings” in the AutoComplete section
  • Untick “User names and passwords on forms”
  • Click on “OK” on each of the two open boxes

Note that there is an option “Manage Passwords”. Clicking on this (in Wondows 10, anyway) will open Windows “Web Credentials”. You will need to supply your Windows user password to access the stored passwords.

Edge logoEdge

  • Click on menu (3 horizontal dots)
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Scroll down and click on “View advanced settings”
  • Scroll down and slide the switch leftwards that is next to “offer to save passwords”
  • Click somewhere to the left of the “Settings” menu to close it

Unless you are a Safari user, you can set your browser to delete any cookies set by websites during the current session (ie cookies set since you opened your browser)

Stamp on CookiesAccording to Wikipedia (source):

“An HTTP cookie (also called web cookie, Internet cookie, browser cookie or simply cookie) is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing.”

Some cookies are definitely useful. For instance, on a shopping site, the information about the stuff that the user has put into their “shopping basket” is kept in cookies. Other cookies, however, are simply there for the purposes of recording the user’s browsing history. We’re not just talking about which websites have been visited. We’re talking about what pages the user looked at, how long they looked, where they went next, and so on. A lot of people find this intrusive, and even creepy. If you go to a website and look at, say, pink elephants, and then go to a completely unrelated site a couple of days later and are presented with adverts for pink elephants, you can be sure that cookies have been tracking you around.

It is possible to set browsers so that cookies can not be set. This, however, is probably not a good idea as it could make the website difficult, if not impossible, to use. So another approach to improving your privacy online is to delete all cookies as soon as you close your browser. This means that those who would track you around cyberspace have to start all over again each time you open your browser.

The way that you set your browser is detailed below for the major browsers. Note that I’m assuming that you have the latest version of the browser. If you don’t have the latest version then it’s a good idea to get it. If your operating system is too old for the latest version of the browser (you XP users know who I’m talking about) then maybe it’s time to start thinking about a new computer.

Sweep cookies awayChrome

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser
  • Click on “settings”
  • Scroll down and click on “Show advanced settings”
  • Under “Privacy”, click on “Content settings”
  • Click on the button next to “Keep local data only until you quit your browser”
  • Click on “Done” at the bottom right of the screen and close the “Settings” tab (by clicking “x” on the the tab or by closing the browser)

Firefox

  • Click on the three horizontal bars at the top right of the browser
  • Click on “Options”
  • Click on the “Privacy” option at the left of the window
  • Under “History”, next to “Firefox will:”, select “Use custom settings for history”
  • Next to “Keep until:”, select “I close Firefox”
  • Close the options tab (by clicking “x” on the the tab or by closing the browser)

Internet Explorer

  • Click on the gear icon at the top right of the browser
  • Click on “Internet Options”
  • Click on the “General” tab
  • Place a tick in the box next to “Delete browsing history on exit” (by clicking on the box)
  • Click on “OK”

Cookie MonsterEdge

  • Click on the three dots at the top right of the browser
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Beneath the text “Clear browsing data”, click on “Choose what to clear”
  • Place a tick against “Cookies and saved website data” (and any other items you would like to clear)
  • Slide the switch underneath “Always clear this when I close the browser” to the right (so that it says “on” next to it)
  • Close the “Settings” by clicking on the three dots again

Safari

You can’t – but you might want to have a look at this Apple Communities page on Safari and cookies

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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