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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Hi there, this is Jess and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. It's great that I can go to a public computer or kiosk and work or do research on that computer, but there's also a sense of vulnerability about it. Hundreds of people per day are going to be using that same computer, and I need to know that my data is safe on it. Today I'm going to be giving you some settings that you can use when you're using a public computer. As well as some Facebook settings, that you can do, to make sure that nobody's logging in as you without you knowing about it. Here's a quick Facebook Security Setting for some peace of mind.
I can have Facebook send my phone a text message when I try to log in somewhere new. The password I use will be the contents of the text message. This way no one can log in as me unless they have my cell phone. Now the great thing about this, is that it's totally secure. The downside is, of course, I have to have my cell phone with me to log into Facebook, but it hasn't been a problem for me yet. To enable this setting, go into Facebook, click on the gear in the top right-hand and go into Account Settings.
From there click Security on the left-hand side. So there's two settings that I'm interested in the first one is Login Notifications. I have text messaging enabled, to send me a text message when my account is accessed from a computer that I have never used before. I also have Login Approval selected. This will require a security code to access my account from any unknown browser. It's going to send the code to the phone number that I specify, and that code is what I put in instead of a password.
It's a simple setting, but it'll give me some peace of mind whenever I use a public browser. The next feature that I want to talk about is called Private Browsing. Every modern web browser has a feature in which when I enable Private Browsing I can surf the web and there are certain items that aren't going to be saved, such as browser history, search history, download history, web forms, cookies, autofill, or even temporary internet files. The only thing that's actually going to be saved through my session, is any file that I actually downloaded onto the computer.
It won't be known that I downloaded it, but the download will still remain. Each browser has a different way to turn on private browsing. I'm in Safari right now on the Mac. And to enable Private Browsing, from the Safari menu, just select Private Browsing. It's going to prompt me to click OK to turn on Private Browsing. And now, where ever I go, it's not going to be tracked. I'll know that I'm in Private Browsing still because of this button in the top right-hand side that says Private. When I want to turn it off I can either click Private and select OK to be sure to turn it off or I can close the browser.
I think closing the browser is a better habit to get into. So if you can get into the habit of always closing a browser when you're done with it, you'll be that much safer online. Another popular browser is Google Chrome. Google Chrome's version of Private Browsing, is called Incognito, and to access this feature go all the way over on the left, click the three lines and select New Incognito Window. It's going to open up a new window. It's going to tell me that I've gone incognito, and anything I type into this window will not be tracked in a similar fashion.
Now I'll know I'm still using the right window because it's dark blue at the top and has a little spy man in the top right-hand corner. To close out of the browser, I just click the tab and I've stopped going incognito. Internet Explorer is not on this computer, but is has a similar fashion. Now, it's important to note that it doesn't stop tracking everything. An experienced network professional can view DNS entries that are stored deep in the computer. These things could be backtraced to the URLs of websites you visit. You can get rid of these by using command prompts, but I don't recommend that.
I could hinder the network operation of the computer that you are actually using. They are usually used as troubleshooting tools, not so much as privacy tools. But I did want to mention that you are not as private and secure as you may think. So, now that you know how to start private browsing the real trick is to turn it into a habit so that you don't even have to think about it the next time you sit down at a public computer.
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