An average of 85.1 percent of American homes have a computer, ranging from 76 percent to 92.3 percent depending on what state you live in. But while most of us have access to some kind of private device, there may come a time when we have to use a public computer or public Wi-Fi for one reason or another. How can you ensure safe internet activity when you are on a device or internet connection that is not your own? That is the topic of my new Tech and Business video (brought to you by Microsoft).
Public computers are found in a range of places, including libraries, schools and universities, cafes, and more. Free public Wi-Fi hotspots are also popping up all around us, including restaurants, airports and coffee shops.
These public internet access points get used extensively.
In fact, in 2010 a national study found that 77 million people – that is one-third of the American population 14 and older – used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet within the past year. Researchers found that over 75 percent of these people had Internet access elsewhere but used the public computer for convenience.
That convenience comes with a price. Using a public computer can put your data at risk, including usernames, passwords, and other private information. Hackings of public computers frequently make the news, including just recently as the St. Louis Public Library system was hacked and held for ransom on January 19. 2017. And while there are no estimates of how often hacking occurs on public Wi-FI, we do know it is eerily simple for an experienced hacker.
This brings me to my latest Tech and Business video where I share four tips to keep your info safe when using a public computer. I will share the essential tips below, but please watch the video for more valuable information.
- Don’t save your login information.
- Use private browsing.
- Be careful what you enter.
- Choose technology that has security software built in.