It is not safe to bank online from public computers unless you have the highest levels of security, including “something you have”—a personal security device separate from the PC— that you use to login to your account. The reason it is not safe is that crimeware might be installed on the public computer that can capture your user name and password and pass it to a cybercriminal. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) estimates 39% of all PCs have crimeware installed on them.
If you use an external device as part of your login, a would-be cyber-thief cannot get into your account without the device, offering you significantly higher protection than just a password. For even stronger security find a bank that offers Sign-What-You-See (SWYS) protection. This new security technique requires you to verify and approve every transaction made from your bank account using your personal security device. SWYS prevents hackers from successfully hijacking your Web browser during an online banking session and making fraudulent transactions, something called a “man-in-the-browser” attack.