An approach to computer security exists where you have two machines. Machine #1 is your main machine, #2 is your Internet machine. The problem has been affordability and desk space. Is it convenient having two machines on your desk? Can you live with a sneakernet approach to file transfer? I talk about both of these issues and the general topic in more detail in a blog post from a few days ago.
What I did not expect was the announcement of the Dell Chromebook. Although I have not seen one in person, the description of the machine reveals a solid specification. The machine is designed for those who use the Web for all their tools. Streaming video, email, writing documents in Google Docs, news, chatting, social networks, online games, and touching up photos using specialized websites.
What may be less known is that Chromebook can be used for online banking if you approach it a certain way. I mentioned three Chromebooks. The reality is, you would need 3 when you add in things like sensitive use of the Web. I talk about that in detail elsewhere.
The great thing about two Chromebooks is that you can use one for the Web and one for offline use. The Web oriented Chromebook would take on 100% of the impact from drive-by malware as well as reduce unintended exposure of data situated on some other part of the machine such as previous downloads, certain photos and so on. Primarily because those files have been relocated to another machine.
You then configure the other Chromebook with an operating system such as Xubuntu, Linux Mint, or CentOS. With the suggested operating systems, the Dell Chromebook discussed will be suitable for writing long documents, moderate photo editing, and a wide range of activities through the many apps you can get for Linux. You then have a solid setup for a dual computer approach to security.
The memory and hard drive on the machine is not as large as can be found on other computers. Fortunately, you can upgrade the hard drive to a much larger capacity SSD. Just make sure the Chromebook model can support the capacity you have in mind. Unless you clone the operating system, you may have to reinstall it. The bottom-line, you end up with more choice with Chromebook. Security, economy, and a balanced trade-off on portability versus ergonomics.