I know a lot of people who don’t have computers at home, but still go to the nearest cyber cafe to get things done online. However, these public computers, very so often, are highly infected with malicious programs. You’re actually putting your data and online accounts at high risk when you’re accessing them via a cyber cafe.
Keep the following tips in mind so that the next time you’re accessing the internet via a public centre, you can be more safe.
Besides being a host to viruses and trojans, public computers are also homes to keyloggers – programs that monitor every keystroke you press, and probably even take screenshots and transmit them to hackers. Remember: every key that you press is being logged, so how do you prevent this from happening?
Thanks to Technospot.net, there’s a simple trick that can be used to efficiently fool keyloggers. What you have to do is this: enter a few characters in the passwords box, select them with your cursor, type the first letter of your real password. You repeat the first two steps, and then press the second letter.
Or there’s another better method: Get Nero SafeKeys. Put the .exe file in your USB Drive. Or download it when you’re in the public computer, and then do your job.
With Nero SafeKeys, you can efficiently avoid keyloggers in public computers – it’s an onscreen keyboard. You use your cursor to select the right characters, and then all of them appear in the Nero SafeKeys window (hidden in asterisks). You drag and drop them in the right field. This way, you didn’t enter a key, and nothing got logged.
Use an alternative Browser
Photo by sgrah
Avoid using Internet Explorer. Use an alternative browser. IE is more prone to malicious attacks than Firefox or Opera. If the computer you’re using has a browser other than IE installed, don’t forget to use it.
You can also get a portable version of Firefox (only a few computers have USB ports, so this might be useless sometimes) that runs from your portable disk. You can carry the customized version wherever you go.
Don’t store login information
When the browser asks you whether you want the passwords to be saved, immediately ignore. You don’t want your account to be accessible by others, do you?
Clear Cookies & History, Log Off
Make sure you log off from all your online accounts before you leave the system. If you don’t sign out, any body else could misuse your account. Never forget to sign out.
Also, if you downloaded any important documents while browsing make sure you delete them as well.
Use a Live CD
Photo by djspinnet
I’ve spoken about this before, but I want to stress this once again. Grab a Linux Distro ISO from here, burn it onto a CD. Pop it into the computer you’re on, and you have a whole new OS. So safe that you don’t have to care about the other methods I’ve mentioned above.
Everything is read only, so you don’t leave a trace. And moreover, viruses don’t attack Linux the way they’re widespread in Windows, so it’s guaranteed that you’re very much safe.
But not all cyber cafes these days give access to CD Drives though. Some of them even have stripped down PCs that have very less RAM so this is something that you can’t rely on.