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Maintaining Privacy at an Internet Cafe

September 11th, 2006

Accessing any protected system from an Internet Cafe-type situation is always a risk. This is because you have no way of knowing whether there is any spy/sniffing/keylogging software on the PC – either installed by another user or by the sysadmin. The following are tips to minimise the risks

(Originally from here)

If you cannot trust the network you are using when you are in an Internet Cafe then you should not use it for sensitive issues.

When using email you can use an encrypted service such as http://www.hushmail.com/

However, a system with a keylogger installed will obviously bypass the encryption of data.

The only way I can think you could protect against software such as a keylogger installed on the PC you are using is to perform an online spyware scan using one of the following:

http://www.webroot.com/services/spyaudit_03.htm

http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor

http://download.zonelabs.com/bin/promotions/spywaredetector/index3.html

In addition to a spyware scan you can also perform virus / trojan scans in the same way using a service like http://housecall.antivirus.com/housecall/start_frame.asp

If you are familiar with the version of Windows (and the normal running processes) the Cafe uses and can access the task manager to establish if they are any suspect running procceses.

Also, the visual keyboard on windows does nothing but slow you down, a software keylogger will pick this up (if it’s any good), but a hardware would likely not.

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