Thursday, October 9, 2008

Safety Tips For Using Public Computers

Public computers at libraries, Internet cafes, airports, and coffee shops are convenient, cheaper than buying your own laptop, and sometimes even free to use. But are they safe? Depends on how you use them. Here are 5 tips on using public computers without compromising your personal or financial information.

1) Don't save your login information

Always logout of Web sites by pressing logout on the site, instead of by closing the browser window or by typing in another address. This will help keep other users from accessing your information. Many programs (especially instant messenger programs) include automatic login features that will save your username and password. Disable this option so no one accidentally (or on purpose) logs in as you.

2) Don't leave the computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen If you have to leave the public computer for any amount of time, logout of all programs and close all windows that may include sensitive information.

3) Erase your tracks

When you're done using a public computer you should delete all the temporary files and your Internet history.
To delete your temporary Internet files and your history
1. In Internet Explorer ###### Tools and then ###### Internet Options.
2. On the General tab, under Temporary Internet files ###### Delete Files and then ###### Delete Cookies.
3. Under History, ###### Clear History.

4) Watch for over-the-shoulder snoops
Because there's so much in the news about how hackers can digitally sneak into your personal files, we sometimes forget about the old fashioned version of snooping. When you're using a public computer, be on the look out for thieves who collect your information by looking over your shoulder or watching as you enter sensitive passwords.

5) Don't enter sensitive information into a public computer
The measures listed above will provide some protection against casual hackers who use a public computer after you have. However, an industrious thief may have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that will record every keystroke and then e-mail that information back to the thief. Then it doesn't matter if you haven't saved your information or if you've erased your tracks. They still have access to this information. If you really want to be safe, avoid typing your credit card number or any other financial or otherwise sensitive information into a public computer.

credit: showstopper28(symbianize)

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