Tips When Using Shared Computers

Posted on: September 17, 2013 | By: Christina Bonds | Filed under: Info Security

computerlabWhen was the last time you used a shared or public computer?  Maybe it was at work,  a library,  a computer lab, a hotel, or an airport.  Although you may have your own personal computer there are still times when using a shared computer is necessary.   Protecting your identity and information is even more important when using shared computers.  Think of all the users that have the same access as you.  Here are some tips to remember when using a public or shared computer.

1.  Never check the “remember my password” or “keep me signed in” box

When a web site is visited which requires a username and password it is common to see a message asking if you would like that information to be remembered or if you should be remained signed in.  Although it is convenient when the computer is only used by you, these options should never be selected when using a shared computer.

2.  Make sure you sign off completely before leaving

Remember to sign off of all web sites you have visited.  If you don’t sign off and leave the browser window open, all the next person has to do is click the back button to see all the pages you visited.

3.  Clear the browser cache and history

To prevent the next person from clicking the back button in the browser or seeing your browsing history, clear browser cache and history.  See the browsing history post for more information.

4.  Never leave the computer unattended while you are logged in

If you need to walk away from the computer to go to the printer or the restroom, lock it  when you leave it.  If you don’t have the access to lock the computer, make sure you log off.

5.  Don’t save any files on the computer

Saved files on a shared computer will be available to the next user.  If you need to save information while using a shared computer make sure you know where your files are being saved.  Bring a USB flash drive with you and save the files there.  Don’t forget to remove the flash drive and take it with you when you leave.

Christina Bonds

Christina Bonds, CISSP, is an Application Developer at Elon University

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