Sometimes you may need or want to use a computer when away from your home or office. There are computer kiosks in every airport, hotel and library, and also in many coffee shops, but beware when using public computers. Any computer that you do not own or control should be treated as though it were infected with a virus or other malicious program and should never be trusted.
Follow these few simple rules when using a computer other than your own:
1. Never use public computers to make financial transactions or to enter personal information. Public computers may have programs that record keystrokes or other spyware that snatches confidential information. Wait until you get home to make your Internet transactions.
2. Disable the feature that stores login information and passwords. Uncheck the box on the login page so that no one can log in as you.
3. Always log out of websites by clicking “log out” on the site. It’s not enough to simply close the browser window or type in another address.
4. Erase your tracks. When using public computers, ensure you leave no trace of your activity. Delete your temporary Internet files and your browsing history.
5. 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 what you’re doing.
Using computers, smartphones or tablets in public places is now as commonplace as using them at home or in the office. Whether using your own device – or computers found in internet cafés and libraries – be sure to take proper precautions to ensure your privacy.