Posted by: bhalley | 07/12/2010

Browsing Safely on Public Computers

How many of you have used a public access computer to browse the web like at a library or college?  Do you really know how safe these machines are?  Where did you go when you used it?  I hope not a site that you had to login.  You never know what may be installed on these machines as far as malware, key-loggers, and the such.  How do you ensure your safety when you are browsing?  I have a few suggestions for you to think about before you jump on that public computer.

1.  Do not visit sites that require you to login.  Identity theft is one of the biggest industries and folks on the web are just waiting to get hold of your login credentials.  Many times we use the same login and passwords for different sites so once they get it, they can start trying other sites with your information.

2.  Use Portable Applications that can be run from a flash drive.  There are some browsers that you can install to a flash drive and carry with.  Just plug-in and start browsing.  The beauty of these type of apps is that it doesn’t leave any of your information back on the machine and if you have logged in to a site and forgot to logout, because the application goes with you when you leave (unless you forget your drive) no one can open back up to the page you were visiting.  Portable Firefox Portable Opera

3.  While some places with public machines do try to control access to the machines and also prevent malware and key-loggers, the next person jumping on the machine could have access to your info if you forgot to logout and are using a portable app as mentioned in #2.

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Responses

  1. One other thing people need to be aware of are hardware keyloggers. These are physical devices that are inserted between the keyboard cable and the computer. Even if those managing the computer are honest, it doesn’t mean that everyone that has physical access to the computer is honest.


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