5 Safety Tips for Using a Public Computer or WiFi

November 25, 2019

In today’s fast-paced, on-the-go world, many of us have had the occasion to use a public computer. Whether our internet-powered personal device is running out of battery, or we have to do work or personal business while on vacation or at a local library, public computers can be a lifesaver. However, they can also be a security risk, if the proper precautions aren’t taken. It’s important to understand basic safety tips for using a public computer before doing so. And, equally key is an appreciation for the steps we should all take when using public WiFi, which can be another threat to privacy if not handled appropriately.


Here are a few of the most important safety tips for using a public computer or WiFi:


  1. Don’t divulge personal information: Think hard about what type of business you want to conduct on a public computer. It’s impossible to know who may use the computer before and after you, and the extent to which your information is protected — or could be monitored — so avoid any financial transactions or transmitting any other sensitive information on public computers.


  1. Only use secure sites: Make sure the sites you visit begin with the prefix https; without the “s,” the site is considered unsecured and could put your browsing at risk of prying eyes.


  1. Don’t save logins: We’re often prompted to save passwords or usernames when visiting a password-protected site, which should be avoided as one of the top safety tips for using a public computer.


  1. Use private email: End-to-end encryption and secure storage are just a few of the benefits of private email. In addition, when using a public computer, email users can have the peace of mind that their information is as secure as possible.


  1. Avoid public WiFi: It’s best to only rely on WiFi you personally set up; however, if you can’t connect to your own or access a personal hotspot, only consider connecting to public networks from known entities. For instance, connecting to a WiFi network operated by a coffee shop you visit frequently is preferable to a public network from an anonymous source. Hackers can create dummy hotspots and trick users into logging into that public WiFi in order to steal their information.


Knowing the top safety tips for public computer users can help save you from a world of hurt. Keeping your information safe is a must, so always use your judgment when using a public computer. Remember, you can never be too safe with your private information online.

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