Personal Safety when Using Public PCs – Onsite Computer Services Recommendations

October 21, 2008

Microsoft clients of Onsite Computer Services in New Orleans who travel via the airlines often choose to leave their laptops at home and use public computers upon reaching their destinations.  The hassle of carrying and the potential of breaking a laptop, along with the possible seizure by the TSA, is generally enough inspiration to forego your laptop and use a public computer when traveling.  However, public PCs present a special set of security considerations.  Microsoft recommends the following measures to limit exposure to security problems with public computers:

When you logon to websites, NEVER save your logon information and ALWAYS log out by clicking “Log Out”.

Many programs include automatic login features that will save your user name and password. ALWAYS disable this option to preserve the integrity of your account.

To disable the feature that stores passwords before you go to the Web, turn off the Internet Explorer feature that “remembers” your passwords.

1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools, and then click Internet Options.

2. Click the Content tab, and then click AutoComplete.

3. Click to clear both check boxes having to do with passwords.

NEVER leave a public computer unattended with sensitive information – if you have to leave the public computer, than ALWAYS log out of all programs and close all windows that might display sensitive information.

Erase your tracks. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer keep a record of your passwords and every page you visit, even after you’ve closed them and logged out.

To delete your temporary Internet files and your history when you finish your use of a public computer, you should delete all the temporary files and your Internet history.

1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools, and then click Internet Options.

2. On the General tab, under Temporary Internet files, click Delete Files, and then click Delete

Cookies.

3. Under History, click Clear History.

To delete other files saved by corporate portals, such as Sharepoint Portal Server if you’re using a corporate Web site that allows you to view internal corporate documents, you may be inadvertently storing sensitive documents on the public computer.

1. Delete all the files in the temporary folder of your user account which you can find by browsing to C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp.

2. If your company uses Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server, empty the temporary folder (My Documents\SharePoint Drafts).

Watch for over-the-shoulder snoops. When you use a public computer, be on the look out for thieves who look over your shoulder or watch as you enter sensitive passwords to collect your information.

Don’t enter sensitive information into a public computer. These measures provide some protection against casual hackers who use a public computer after you have.

But keep in mind that an industrious thief might have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that records every keystroke and then e-mails that information back to the thief.

Then it doesn’t matter if you haven’t saved your information or if you’ve erased your tracks. They still have access to this information.

If you really want to be safe, avoid typing your credit card number or any other financial or otherwise sensitive information into any public computer.

Onsite Computer Services in New Orleans realizes the above steps might require a short time to implement.  However, we hope these steps will preserve your personal security and reduce the inconvenience of traveling without your laptop.  What do you think?

If you’re searching for New Orleans computer service or repair of your Microsoft based system or network, then call the Microsoft specialists at 504-469-6991. Onsite Computer Services, Inc. in New Orleans

You may also be interested in Onsite Computer’s Blog.

This New Orleans On-Site Computer Service post was provided by Eli Lucas. Eli can be reached at eli@onsitenola.com. Onsite Computer serves the Microsoft computing needs of small businesses throughout the Greater New Orleans area including Uptown, Lakeview, Broadmoor, Mid-City, Metairie, Jefferson, Kenner, Westbank, French Quarter, and the Warehouse District. Please visit our website for New Orleans Computer Service.

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