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Does minimizing the time data is spent in use improve security?


I’m doing financial work. How safe is it if the program and specifically the
data are never actually written to disk except when doing operations?

In this excerpt from
Answercast #99
I look at the idea of minimizing the time that data is used
and whether it will make you more safe on the internet.

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Improving data security

Well, it’s a little unclear as to exactly what you mean by “doing
operations” but I will say this: it’s no more or less safe than any other

The fact is that if malware compromises your computer it can basically do
anything! That means that it can access the data that’s stored on your disk; it
could access the data that’s being processed in RAM. It can do a lot of

Avoid malware

So, the best thing by far is to, naturally, avoid malware. Do all of the
things that it takes to keep your computer safe on the internet. Run
anti-malware scans. Make sure you’re behind a firewall. Keep your system up to

Use good behavior – that’s probably the single most important thing. Don’t
download things you’re not supposed to download; you know the drill; right?

This is all pretty much internet common sense these days. So I’ll point you
at the article, “Internet
Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet?
” but to
specifically answer your question, I don’t think the kinds of things that I
think you’re describing actually make a difference.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

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2 comments on “Does minimizing the time data is spent in use improve security?”

  1. Related, but unsure if this will help the questioner:
    I use Windows for most of my online activity. For banking, I use a live Linux disk, with a firewall. I know the disk is clean, and if there’s anything nasty in my Windows OS, it has no effect while I’m in Linux.

  2. Also important to know about what the questioner is doing. To me it sounds like they are using software for financial purposes (Quicken, etc). If they are never saving it to the disk, then any power outage is gonna lose everything they have been working on. Ironic thing is that this just happened to my office mate about 5 minutes ago.


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