Safety Tips for Using a Public Computer

By on Sep 3, 2009

Is it safe to access the Web from public computers at libraries, Internet cafes, airports, and coffee shops? It depends. If you follow these steps, you can help keep your personal and business information private.

    • Don’t save your login information. If you are browsing secure sites that require a login, always log out. It’s not enough to simply close the browser window or type in another address.
    • Many programs include automatic login features that save your username and password. Disable this option so no one can log in using your stored information.
    • Don’t leave your computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen.
    • Erase your tracks. Web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, keep a record of passwords and pages you visit, even after you close them and log out.
    • Delete temporary Internet files in History. In Internet Explorer, select Tools, then Internet Options. On the General tab, under Browsing history, select Delete. In Firefox, select Tools, then Clear Recent History.
    • Watch for over-the-shoulder snoops. When you use a public computer, be on the lookout for thieves who look over your shoulder or watch as you enter passwords.
    • Don’t enter sensitive information into a public computer. An industrious hacker might have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that records every keystroke and then e-mails that information back to him. If you really want to be safe, avoid typing your credit card number or any other financial (or otherwise sensitive information) into any public computer.

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