Monday Productivity Pointers: Using Public Computers Safely

Published by | Monday, June 10th, 2013

It’s wonderful that I can go to a public library to use a computer—but there’s an element of vulnerability about it, too. Each day, hundreds of people will use the same computer that I just used. This week on Monday Productivity Pointers, I’ll give some options for public browsing, as well as some settings to consider for the various computers you may have.

For example, I maintain entirely different browser settings for my laptop, which I travel with and could easily lose, than I do on my desktop computer, which could only be used by someone else if they broke into my house.

The first video will show you how to have Facebook send a PIN code to your phone via text message instead of using the same password every time. This way, my cell phone has to be near me to receive the login PIN before I can log in to my Facebook account. I’ll also show you how to configure Facebook to send you a text message whenever your account is accessed from somewhere new.

You’ll even discover how to set your web browser to browse privately. Every modern web browser has a private browsing feature which, when enabled, will allow you to surf the web without storing personal information such as browser, search, and download history, web form history, cookies, or any temporary Internet files on the computer you’re using. In fact, the only things that will be saved from a private browsing session are any files that are actually downloaded.

The second, member-exclusive video will demonstrate how to clean up your browser trail before logging out, in case you’ve forgotten to enable private browsing beforehand. I’ll also show you a neat trick to stop the Amazon homepage from recommending certain products to you—which is especially convenient if you make an out-of-character purchase.

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