Not everyone has printers or takes their personal laptop with them everywhere. Instances arise when you have to use a public computer and not all public computers are secured with the latest and best antivirus (since it is for public use. Wink Wink). So we have compiled a list on how to use a public computer safely.
But before let us understand:
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The Risks of Using Public Computer
#1 Data Theft
If you don’t take appropriate measures when using a public computer then you are risking your data.
To make it clear a lot of times you might be doing confidential tasks on a public computer without proper measures, you might not be aware but someone might be snooping over your shoulder, etc.
#2 Malware attacks
If you don’t have a printer at your home then you would probably copy that document in a USB Drive and go to a place where you can get a printout.
In order to do that you will have to insert your USB Drive in the computer and what if the malware enters your USB Drive and later infects your personal computer?
|13 Tips on How To Use a Public Computer Safely|
How to Use a Public Computer Safely
#1 Avoid financial transactions
It is understood that in some cases that you might have to enter your bank details to complete a transaction or send money to your friend or family member.
But a public computer is not a suitable place to carry out such confidential tasks.
There are various reasons as to why you shouldn’t do it such as:
- Computers might be infected with keyloggers.
- Phishing attacks can be carried out easily.
#2 Consider using an onscreen keyboard
The reason behind using an on-screen keyboard is that the keyloggers can easily store the data from the keys you press.
But they can’t do when you use an onscreen keyboard.
#3 Delete downloaded files
Sometimes we tend to download images or pdf of important things such as flight ticket bookings, appointment letter etc. which can be easily stolen by any person without your knowledge.
So the best option is to as soon as you download it and take a print of it straight away permanently delete that file by selecting that file and pressing “Shift+Delete”.
#4 Don’t forget to sign out
A lot of time people forget to sign out of their Gmail/ email account or any other important account.
This increases the risk of someone hijacking your account with your permission although unknowingly.
Also, don’t forget to remove your account from that website completely using the next method.
#5 Erase history and cookies
When you are done with your computer work on a public computer the very first thing you need to do is delete history and all the saved cookies.
Cookies contain information of login details which can be easily decoded by a hacker.
So to delete all the history and cookies goto:
- “Settings” (on chrome)
- Scroll down to “Advanced“
- Select “Clear browsing data“.
- Now select “Advanced” and select each and every box and hit “Clear data“.
Now you have deleted all your data and you have not left any footprints.
#6 Don’t save passwords
Whenever you login into a social media site or any website there is an option of “remember me” or “save password”.
Even the browsers pop-ups every time to login into any site either to save the password or not.
Straightaway click on CANCEL.
Even if you click on “save password” you can still delete it.
If you use chrome then:
- Goto “Settings“.
- Click on “Passwords“.
- Now you will see all the saved passwords. Click on the cross to delete the saved password.
#7 Restart the computer
Though this might be annoying to you and person waiting for his chance to use the computer but restarting the computer will make sure that the changes you have made in the settings take place.
It also deletes the temporary files stored in the RAM.
#8 Change passwords once you’re on a secured machine
This is another a bit annoying practice but the most important one to follow.
After you are done downloading the files and taking prints of them whenever you reach home or have free time on your hand just change the password of that account.
Even if the hacker gets access to your login details it will be as old as Liverpool winning league (😜).
Because only you know the new password.
#9 Do not walk away from a machine while it’s in use
Walking away from the computer while you have logged into your account is surely not a great thing to do.
The person standing behind you might be able to take advantage of this situation.
This brings us to the next point.
#10 Be attentive
Have a look of your surrounding as to what is happening.
Someone might be snooping over your shoulders or might be recording a video with a cellphone camera.
#11 Avoid USB Drives:
Avoid taking your own USB Drives and using it in public computers as hackers might have already infected that computer with malware.
It could have been programmed to function in such a way that whenever a USB-Drive is inserted in the computer it would transfer the malware inside the USB Drive.
Another downside is you might forget your USB-Drive in hurry.
#12 Clear the Page File
The page file is a virtual memory stored inside your computer.
It is used to swap out data from the RAM so that it makes space for more memory and swap back in whenever is needed.
To delete Page File:
- Open “Control Panel” and select “System and Security“.
- Goto “System“.
- Now click on “Advanced System Settings“.
- Under the “Advanced” tab, select the “Performance Settings option“.
- Now again select the “Advanced” tab. Under the “Virtual memory” options, click on “Change“.
- Uncheck the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives”.
- Now select the “No paging file” option and click “Set” then press “OK“.
- Click “OK” and then “Apply“.
|How to clear page file|
#13 Create a Temporary Email Account
If sometimes there is no need for you to enter your regular email id you can choose to enter disposable email id.
These emails are available for a fixed amount of time and most sites bypass this type of emails.
So this is a list of how to use a public computer safety.
Make sure you follow each step to keep your bank, social media and other account details.
If you think I missed any tip then comment down below and let me know.
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