Ignorance Has No Place in Your Cyber Space

Always Log Out on a Public Device

Last time, I briefly discussed about My Cyber Space, what is was and why it is important. Today, I will talk about how ignorance could leave you vulnerable to exploitation. How many times have you failed to log out from Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or any other website when accessing them from a public computer? This public computer could be a Cyber Café, office, or at a friend’s place. The log out button is not a decorative feature in these applications. In fact, tech companies largely invest in three areas when it comes to software and application development. These are:-

  1. Authentication – Ensuring that the right and valid person has access to the right and valid features
  2. Non-repudiation – Ensuring that a user does not deny carrying out an activity using a certain system. For example, ensuring that someone does not log onto Facebook, make a post and later deny ever doing that
  3. Log Out – Ensuring that an authenticated user is able to leave the system safely without being susceptible to compromise.

When you fail to log out, the person who makes use of the computer immediately afterwards has complete control over that part of your cyber space. In the case of Facebook, for instance, they will be able to view your friends, chats, photos, posts e.t.c. They will also be able to modify (add, edit and delete) content in your Facebook account. Once people notice strange posts on your page and alert you, you panic and claim that you have been hacked. Well, you haven’t been hacked. Your ignorance played you.


Never Save Login Credentials on a Browser Publicly Accessible

Something else that we often do out of ignorance, especially on public computers, is click “Save” when that browser popup comes up asking you to save your username and password when you log into a website. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, save your login credentials on any public computer. That information can be used by someone else to gain access to your account. Your password in the password field is never encrypted but only masked. There are so many ways of unmasking the password field to reveal the human readable version. Heck, there are browser plugins that can also unmask it for you. So, please, for your own safety, never save your username and password on a browser installed on a public computer.

User Incognito Mode

Many browsers come with an incognito mode. Incognito mode does not save your passwords, cookies or browsing history. When on a public computer, we strongly recommend using the incognito mode and once done with your activity, log out. This will save you a ton of worries when your cyber space is trespassed.

Jones Baraza is the founder of Swift Intellect, a software and Cyber Security firm based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also the founder and project manager for IsVipi OSSN, an open source social networking software with over 1 million downloads. He is passionate about tech and security. You can follow him on Twitter @JonesBaraza