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Using public computers

Stay safe and avoid using public computers to perform any personal or financial transactions.

Computers at internet cafés, libraries, airports and hotels are convenient, but because so many people use them, they are more likely to be infected with malicious software than other computers.

Assume they are already compromised with malware that can track anything you do online, including capturing passwords or content you view online.

Steps to protect yourself when using public computers

  • If using public Wi-Fi don't log onto secure sites or make online purchases as your details may be intercepted.
  • Don't allow the browser to save your username and password. Turn off the option when logging into your email account and other websites. Always log out when leaving a website.
  • Make sure no one is watching you.
  • Log out if you leave the computer, even if it is for a moment.
  • Delete your browsing history before you log out of the computer. Go to the tools menu of the browser and select options or internet options.
  • Make sure the browser has any auto complete function turned off, delete cookies and clear the history.
  • Do not type in sensitive information. Keystroke loggers can capture your password, credit card number and bank details as you enter them. Avoid financial transactions on public computers that may reveal sensitive information.
  • Avoid using your USB memory stick. It could pick up malicious software from the public computer and spread it to other computers, including your computer at home. If you need to use your memory stick, scan it with your anti-virus program before you use it again.
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