How to Use a Public Computer Safely
Using a public computer is becoming less common. However, imagine needing to access your work emails or your social media accounts – and your laptop’s at home and your phone just died.
A public computer would be a reasonable choice, but it’s risky. Did you know that it could put your private information at risk?
Using a public computer presents similar threats as using public Wi-Fi (find out how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi). That’s why we put together a few tips that will help you protect your data and use a public computer safely.
1: Delete downloaded files
If you need to download anything to a public computer (i.e. your flight tickets or your booking confirmations), always make sure to delete these files and empty the Recycle Bin.
It’s even better to use memory stick for your files. Instead of saving downloads on the computer, just save them on your USB.
2: Delete your browser history
Right after you’ve finished browsing, delete all of your history, cookies, and temporary Internet files.
Usually, you can do this by clicking ‘History’ or ‘Privacy’ tabs on your browser. If you’re using Chrome, click on the three-dash icon on the upper right-hand corner and select ‘History’. From here, it’s easy to clear your browsing data. For Firefox, go to ‘Settings’, click on ‘Privacy & Security’, and then choose ‘Clear private data’.
3: Don’t save passwords
If you need to access a website that requires your login details and/or your password, never click ‘remember me’ or ‘save password’. This might seem obvious, but most people are so used to clicking these buttons that they automatically do so on public computers.
If you do accidentally end up saving your password, don’t panic. You can delete this information too. It is a bit more complicated, but if you ever need to, follow these instructions.
4: Don’t enter highly sensitive information
A public computer is not the best place to check your bank account or shop online, nor should you use it with your work network. Not only could hackers compromise your credentials, they could also get into your work network and access your company’s information.
The same goes for sensitive personal data, like bank account logins or anything that requires your government ID information.
5: Restart the computer
One way to make sure that your private information is safe is to restart your computer when you’re done with it. The next guy in line may not like it, but it might save you from a massive headache.
Restarting your computer will not only clear out temporary files, it will also clear the public computer’s physical memory (RAM).
6: Apply the same security rules as you would at home
Just because you are using a public computer doesn’t mean that you should use the internet carelessly. You should still avoid accessing unknown websites or downloading suspicious files. (If you are unsure how to avoid bad internet behaviors or how to fix them, check out this post)
7: Don’t forget to sign out
You would be surprised to see how many people forget to sign out of their accounts. Make sure you don’t , because the next person to use the computer might accidentally open your account. Don’t leave your data in the hands of a stranger.
8: Watch your surroundings
Watch what’s happening around you. Pay attention. Is someone looking over your shoulder? How about security cameras? Someone might be snooping over you in the physical world and collecting your data.
9: Use your common sense
Lastly, you should always use your common sense. Keep an eye out for things that might feel odd. For example, if your connection speed suddenly drops, that might mean that someone is leaking your data. If in doubt, it’s better to disconnect the internet, or at least to avoid visiting websites that ask for your personal information.
When comes to the issue of online privacy and security, we suggest to use a VPN, and our recommendation is RitaVPN. RitaVPN is an excellent tool for protecting your online privacy and security. And with the using of RitaVPN, you can also access your favorite geo-blocked content. It allows P2P connections on all servers and offers specialized servers for Netflix and other favorite streaming channels. RitaVPN is a relatively new VPN service, but it’s already making a name for itself，which makes it one of the best VPN in 2019.