Privacy in Cyber Cafes
A cyber cafe is a place which provides a computer user with
internet access, usually for a payment per hour or minute.
When accessing the Internet via public computers there are certain
threats from which a user should be protected, such as:
Not knowing what programs are installed on computers
For example if malicious programs like keyloggers or
spyware are installed, they can capture your keystrokes to figure
out passwords (when you type your password to read web mails,
logon to a site etc.) and other confidential information or
monitor your browsing behavior.
No matter which Internet browser you use, make sure to download
as soon as possible. These patches are the developers' response to
the newest viral threats.
Physical security in the area
Be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for anyone who
might be observing your computer screen and/or keyboard. For
example, if the counters/partitions which are used to separate one
computer from another are short, the people can peep & see what
you are doing & even capture your entries on the keyboard & the
information you are entering.
Here are some important tips which you can consider when you are
using a computer in public areas like cyber cafes:
Disable automatic login:
Do not allow your login details such as your user name & password
to be retained on public computers.
If the check mark is selected make sure to uncheck by clicking on
the square which allows login details to be kept on the local
computer as shown in the above picture.
Also, be aware of misleading links and fraudulent sites. If you
are ever unsure, move your mouse pointer over a link before
clicking. The real address of where the link will take you will
If the real address does not match up or is a strange string of
numbers, do not click. Do not open emails from unfamiliar senders,
especially if they have URGENT, IMPORTANT, or WINNER in the
Make your passwords random, lengthy,
Never use your name, your nickname, your mother's maiden name,
your pet's name, your social security number, or your address.
Though it may be hard to remember, a string of random numbers,
capitals, lowercase letters, and symbols is safest. Use entirely
different passwords for each of your different logins. Only write
down a password if you must; never store it with your computer.
Change your passwords at least every three months, or at the first
sign of hacking.
Check the URL in which you are going to enter your login
credentials. If it is an HTTPS connection then it is secure and
encrypted. That means if you're using a https connection outsiders
cannot see any of the data you send to or receive from that site
because it is encrypted. If you can't connect via https, or the
"s" disappears at some point in your browser while transmitting
your confidential information, then stop accessing the site
- Don't leave the computer with your data:
If you want to attend to any other work while you are logged to
the computer, ensure to log off before leaving the place.
Do not leave your personal belongings such as USB flash drives,
laptops, etc unattended. Always make sure to password-protect your
belongings if you are going to use them in public places like
Soft copies of documents and scanned copies must be removed from
the computer before you leave the place.
After you finish browsing always keep in mind to log out of any
sites that you logged into, such as your web mail account, and do
not simply close the window. You may notice a "Sign Out" option is
available on top of the web mail window, so use that option &
logout from it.
When you are finished browsing, log out of any sites you logged
This will prevent unauthorized access of your data by others,
especially if another person is also going to use the same service
after you. If you havenít logged out, when that person opens the
link it will automatically direct to your logged site. This is
common for chat sites, Internet Messenger windows & any other
sites. So keep in mind to Log out or Sign out from these
- Clear history and temporary files before you leave:
Internet Explorer saves links that you've visited in the History
folder and in Temporary Internet Files. Your passwords may also be
stored in the browser if that option has been enabled on the
computer that you've used. Use the following steps to clear the
Select Tools > Internet Options > Click on General
Tab > Delete... button, now the "Delete Browsing History" dialog
box will open. Select the options you want to delete and click on
Delete button to apply the settings.
Select Tools > Options > Click on Privacy tab and
select the options you want to delete. Click on OK button to apply
Select Options> Under the Hood > then select Clear Browsing Data
Double-check the browser's history, cookies, and cache. Delete
anything you find there. Close all tabs and windows. Quit the
Don't do any online financial
transactions using public computer :
It is advisable to avoid online banking or shopping where you may
be required to enter sensitive information like credit card or
bank account details. If it is urgent and you have to do it, make
sure to change your passwords as soon as you can. You should use a
more trusted computer for these types of activities.
Sri Lanka CERT|CC