A computer is no longer a luxury. Odds are, you have your own personal computer, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, or a good old desktop. Even then, from time to time you may have to use computers that are public. Whether it’s for work or school, you’re on a computer that doesn’t belong to you and as such the risks multiply.
We all know the dangers of public Wi-Fi, but computers may be even more dangerous. If you have to use a system that the public can see, you need to take some precautions in order to get the most security.
Do Not Save Login Information
We all know that browsers and websites allow you to stay signed in even after you close your browser. It makes it easy, and if you have a personal computer, it’s okay to use. But if you’re on someone else’s computer, it’s common sense that you should make sure you’re logged out of everything before you stop using it.
If you’re logged into a site, manually log out. Do not think that the browser will do it for you. Do not keep your email and password saved, either. Even if it’s not for long, it can cause some woes if someone manages to find it.
If you accidentally do save your information, clear it as soon as you can. This brings us to the next step:
Clean Your History
We all know that your browsing history can reveal a lot about you, so obviously you don’t want that lying around when you’re on a computer that doesn’t belong to you. Clear all your browsing history when you’re finished, and do not leave any traces behind. Kill the cache, filled forms, and cookies. This will restart it all, and no one will be able to find your email or passwords.
A better way to browse that doesn’t require all this deleting is to simply use incognito mode. Your browser should have one, and it allows you to browser privately and log in a site using multiple accounts. It does not save anything, and it allows you to be safe.
Others Can Spy on Your Actions
Here’s a common sense rule that you need to apply. If you’re using a computer that hasn’t been customized by you, you need to assume that someone’s always watching. Don’t use PayPal or your bank accounts, and try avoiding passwords.
The public computer may have a Keylogger on it, which is a malicious program that records all your keystrokes and then sends them to a third party.
Is the device being monitored by spy software apps? Check out Reflex Software Guides here to find out just how intrusive apps such as FlexiSpy and mSpy are – and how easy they are to download and install.
They can be avoided, but on a public computer this is a fruitless effort. Instead, you need to make sure that you don’t post anything too personal. Things can wait until you’re on a private computer.
Look at Other Ways to Boot
The public computer you use probably runs Windows, so unless their BIOS is locked down, you can boot another OS on the computer, such as Linux. Carrying around your own OS to use on any computer is great, not only for familiarity, but for security, and you can bypass malware designed for Windows. Of course, the Internet may not be secure, so it isn’t foolproof. Just make sure that your USB is good to boot from.
Remember That Others Are Watching
If you’re using a public computer, you need to use your noggin. Odds are, there are lots of people around you, and it’s not smart to leave your computer open and walk away, since someone can grab it when you’re not looking.
In addition, you should make sure you know what you’re opening beforehand. If you open up an important document, make sure no one’s looking. And it would be embarrassing to open up an X-rated website in a public library. Using tools such as VariablySFW can help you look at websites before you open them to make sure that they’re appropriate for your setting.
Just remember, you cannot tell how safe a computer that’s not yours is. Most likely, it’s safe, but there’s always that chance that it has a horrifying virus that can steal all your personal info. But if you take these precautions before you use them, you’ll probably be fine. Also, make sure that your own computer is secure. Private computers can be tampered too!