Why you should not use public computers while travelling.
When it comes to keeping your information safe, there is no worse option than using a public computer to access any of your information.
Recent studies by the Australian Institute of Criminology showed that 1 in 5 Australians have had their personal information misused. 1 in 10 Australians have had this occur within the last 12 months!
There are quite a few ways that personal details (and company information) can be compromised and not surprisingly, the internet is one of the biggest.
Interested in reading the full study? You can check it out here.
Here are 5 of the most important reasons not to use public computers, even while traveling
It's easy to accidentally leave yourself logged into accounts
It's very common for travellers to accidentally themselves locked in to their email, Facebook or other accounts. If somebody can gain access to your email, there is a lot of information that most people have stored in their including passwords, a list of all the main services that you use, a full list of all the people that you communicate with and more.
Accidentally leaving yourself logged in to your accounts leaves you open to people impersonating you, potentially stealing your identity, and gaining access to other accounts.
It's not uncommon for people to log back into their social media accounts to find that somebody has used their account to ask their friends for money claiming that they have had some troubles while they are travelling overseas and are in desperate need of some money. Since they are communicating on your account this scam often works.
If you don't you somebody else's computer, you can't accidentally leave yourself logged in.
Viruses and key logging information is common on shared computers
Often, the computers that are shared are old, poorly maintained and have little to no security in place to protect them. Generally, the people maintaining the computers simply want to make sure that there is a computer are available and have little to no interest in security and privacy of that computer.
This often means that there is no antivirus (or a low quality free antivirus product is being used), and that Windows security patches are unlikely to be installed on time or if at all.
On a computer that is rarely used, and only used by one or two people this might be okay. But on a computer that is shared by many people (including some that may want to steal your information), this level of security is simply not safe enough.
It's easy to forget your USB sticks
Not only is it a major hassle to accidentally leave a USB stick with your photos on somewhere, but it can be a major security risk. Many large companies have found themselves in major drop when an employee accidentally loses a USB stick containing sensitive information. Whether you’re carrying sensitive company data or simply your own information, it is important to make sure that you don't accidentally leave it anywhere.
It is never safe to assume that they are private
Given that these computers are in public areas, are prone to viruses, may have software installed designed to snoop on your activities and you may even be travelling in a country where Internet privacy doesn't really exist, you have to remember that these computers are not private. That means anything that you would want to do only in private (such as online banking, spending money etc) is considered very unsafe.
Because any problem that you have while you are travelling is harder to deal with
Losing access to your bank account is a major hassle, but if your bank is just around the corner it's pretty easy to go there and sort things out. But if you are halfway across the world, getting access to your money again after your credit card number or password has been compromised is much harder. And you are on holidays! No one wants to have a problem while they are on holidays.
So in short, avoid using public computers. There are so many other ways to keep in touch while you are travelling that they need to these computers has substantially declined over the past few years.
Whether you are travelling with a laptop, a smart phone or a tablet, check out the Webbing Spot, it's a great way to make sure that your communications remain secure while you are travelling.