Internet Cafe Security

It is very difficult to achieve Internet Cafe security. When you use a public computer at an Internet Cafe or at a school or a library, you are at considerable risk. The biggest risk is that the computer that you are using is running some form of a spyware that will record your user accounts and password.

In general it is not a good idea to transact any sensitive transaction on a computer at an Internet Cafe. In particular stay away from accessing any online banking accounts.

If possible, carry with you a bootable disk and boot the computer with it to your own known secure operating system.. This will defeat any software keylogger installed on the computer.

There may still be a hardware keylogger present on the keyboard. To defeat that, use a virtual keyboard or carry your own keyboard.

Another option is to simply unplug the public computer from the network and plug in your own computer if you have it. If the Internet Cafe does a low level hardware (MAC) based access control, this may not work.

Another way is through the use of one time passwords if the accounts you want to use allow it. One time passwords are valid for one session only, so even if a your user id and password are captured at the public computer through hardware or software keylogging, the captured password cannot be used to access your account.

The problem with One Time Password is how do you get the one time password each time. If you will be away for a short time and need only log in for one session you can set up the One Time Password before you travel. If you need to access your accounts from a public computer for an extended duration you need a secure means of receiving One Time Passwords. Some websites deliver One Time Passwords to you over phone.

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