A security tool that your bank may be encouraging you to use may be giving you grief
Trusteer 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)
I’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.