Klaus Zimmermann's Corner

Even my bank thinks Linux is better than Windows

I have always done my online banking without any problem from several Linux systems. Come to think of it, I've only done it from Linux, because when I opened an account there I had already done the switch to Linux full time.

Today, however, something very interesting happened. By chance, I accessed it from a container tab whose user-agent was set to emulate Windows. I do that sometimes because some websites I have to use don't "trust" Linux and block it. Surely enough an immediate red flag was raised: my bank's site said that I could not access my account until I had installed their "security" software on my computer. For my own safety, of course!

At first I was super scared - did these cabbage heads really decide that their shitty "antivirus" thing must be used in Linux as well? But then I re-read the screen and realized about the user-agent thing and immedeately went whew!

And that's when I realized: my bank actually makes some smart assumptions about the user based on the OS being advertised. If it's windows, they assume the worst of the worst, so better ensure some additional security is in place so that at least no passwords are keylogged out. If you're on the mobile app, they assume their app is coded securely enough to prevent it (which still sounds a little dubious to me, but oh well). But if you're on Linux... they assume you're protected enough already! Ok, you are an adult, you know what you're doing; come right in!

This might be some sort of discrimination based on the user-agent in the end, but in a way I was pleased with it. Being a Linux user, I'm well used to having to be my own tech support and solving things my way. And let's just say that it's a much more desirable outcome than having to run some shady proprietary "security" program that might make things worse than without it.