Tag Archives: public computers

The things people leave behind

I’m on the way back to Melbourne now from my trip to Sydney.

Waiting at the Qantas Club waiting for my flight, I’m using a public computer to logon and check my email. (Laptop battery flat because I surrendered my power pack to a staff member who forgot theirs)

it’s interesting (but not surprising) to see the documents people have downloaded onto this public terminal but not deleted.
I did go looking for them but merely stumbled upon them when saving a temp document (nothing sensitive) myself.

Dividend reports, names and addresses, they’re all there.

Would you really want to trust a public terminal with private and confidential information?

This is also possibly a bad reflection on Qantas. They should have a more stringent cleanout policy in place to reset a system after use.

My advise:
-where possible, don’t use a public terminal
-never log into sensitive sites such as financial sites
-if you must, it must be secure, not clear text.
-where possible, use a web based service to access files. Citrix if your company offers it, that way no data leaves the corporate network.
-if you have to download files to the public machine, know where you save them and delete them. Directly opening a file from a browser will open the file from a temporary location you may not be able to find or delete. (Although it should get cleaned out)
-Always restart the computer when you are finished.
Many cleanout routines only take effect on a reboot and not a logoff.