5 Safety Tips for Using a Public Computer

Sometimes patrons utilize computers at the local public library without fully understanding the risks involved. Public terminals are just that public—meaning they are used by hundreds of thousands of people each year. Below are five simple tips that are easy to follow and make it much harder for someone to gain access to your personal information when using a public computer.

1. Do not save your login information & always logout!

Avoid selecting any options for saving your login information especially when signing into financial account, medical/insurance accounts, email accounts and the like. Always logout of any site you visit instead of closing the browser window or typing a new address over the existing address. This help keep others from accessing your personal information.

2. Do not leave the computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen!

If you must leave the computer unattended, make sure that you utilize the “Lock” feature available in PCReservation to prevent another patron from getting onto that computer.

3. Erase your tracks!

When you are done using a public computer, you should delete at a minimum all the temporary Internet files and cookies and/or the Internet history (if preferred).

4. Watch for people watching your screen!

Consider this the old-fashioned way of snooping. When you are using a public computer, watch for people who collect your information by looking over your shoulder or watching as you enter passwords.

5. Do not enter sensitive information into a public computer!

As mentioned above, if you really want to be safe on a public computer, avoid typing your credit card number, social security number, or any other financial or otherwise sensitive information into a public computer. You should perform these types of actions on your home PC.
(Posting adapted from an article at Microsoft.com by the same title)

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