Tip of the Week: 2 Ways to Ensure Privacy When Using a Public PC
Before we dive into this week’s tip, it has to be said: if you have a choice, you should probably avoid using a public computer. As a rule, these machines feature minimal security precautions, along with maximum risk to any data accessed by the PC. Although, if a situation ever arises in which you have no choice but to use a public computer, be sure to follow these security best practices.
In the interest of a user’s convenience, most web browsers are configured to store informative things like browsing history, passwords, and downloads. On a private machine, these features can be pretty useful. However, if a public-access machine saves this data and you’re not careful, a stranger could access it and piece together your sensitive information.
Using a private browser helps to keep your personal browsing safe, even on a public computer. Private browsing is a function that’s built into many browsers that will erase any tracks you leave behind on the machine itself by wiping the local data. Although, be warned that private browsing only prevents the machine you are using from recalling what you accessed, but Internet providers, advertisers, and search engines still keep track of this information.
Make Use of a VPN
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are great for private web browsing. Once you’ve logged in to your VPN, it shields your IP address and conceals your activity in a virtual tunnel, hidden under layers of encryption. Your identity and even your location are kept anonymous, thanks to the use of proxy servers the world over, protecting you from opportunistic attacks.
VPNs come in both free and reasonably-priced varieties. Additionally, if you plan on accessing your office network from an outside location using a VPN, it’s important to first setup your network so you can do this securely.
For more help securing your business assets in situations like this, as well as many other scenarios, give White Mountain IT Services a call at 603-889-0800.