Using Public Computers

public-wi-fiMany people use computers in internet cafes, airports and libraries to access the Internet while away on business or holiday.

But are they safe? To cut to the chase… No.

Public computers are ideal for web browsing, reading news checking the weather and accessing your favourite news websites, and that is about it.

They are not meant for anything that is private! So you shouldn’t be using a public Internet computer for:

  • Checking your email
  • Accessing you bank account
  • Accessing membership sites
  • Buying
  • Transferring money via PayPal
  • Accessing Facebook or twitter etc

In short if you are required to enter a user name/ password or credit card then it is not to be done on a public computer.

Many will be surprised at the first on the list.. checking email, as it is probably the number one use of public computers.

Logging on to your private email account from a public computer means that you have to enter a username/password combination.

This information can easily be obtained using free/inexpensive software or keyloggers on the computer.

If you are going to access email then access a non sensitive account like Yahoo or MSN and treat the information that you send/receive as if it was being sent on a postcard.

Microsoft offer safety tips on using a public computer. In my opinion they are next to worthless as you probably won’t be able to change the settings anyway and if you can, you may forget, and even if you do it is still not safe.

So don’t be fooled.. public computers aren’t safe, and you can’t make them safe so treat them as such.

Jim Stickley Demonstrates The Risks of Using Public Computers -Video

Other Resources:

Things To Know When Using a WiFi Hotspot Or a Public PC