Are internet cafes safe?

Even on vacation you can't do without it. Doing without the Internet for two weeks, not checking e-mails, neglecting the online game - unthinkable for many. In many hotels, no matter how remote, there is WiFi or at least an internet-enabled computer. And if necessary, there are also internet cafes. However, one should not rely on the security of hotel and public computers. Private data is not always protected here. We show the sources of danger:

Missing virus protection:

The anti-virus program and the firewall on other computers are often not up to date or not installed at all. Trojans, espionage programs and malware are lurking on foreign computers, warns the Federal Office for Information Security. This means that external storage media such as USB sticks or camera chips can also be contaminated with viruses and worms, which in turn can infect your own computer.

Tips: Find out in advance from the provider that the firewall and virus protection are up to date. Only connect external storage media if the protection is intact.

Course is visible

Subsequent users can easily track the activities of their predecessor in Internet cafés using the browser's history function such as Internet Explorer (IE) or Mozilla Firefox. Depending on the setting, even the passwords you typed are saved.

Tips: Always log out of all applications after surfing and delete the history manually. In Firefox and IE this is done in the “Tools” menu. Firefox offers the function “Delete recent history”. With the Explorer there is the function "Delete browsing history". All ticks must be set in each case.

Data loss

Devices used by many users are more prone to crashes. This can cause important data to be lost.

Tips: In principle, you should not edit confidential data on publicly accessible computers. Save important information on external storage media and print them out.

Online banking

On the one hand, access data and codes can be intercepted using spy software. On the other hand, one cannot estimate in the holiday country how secure the provider is through which the internet connection is established. There may be a higher risk of so-called pharming attacks.

Tips: Always enter Internet addresses manually. Never follow links to bank pages from an email. Pay attention to the "https: / /" in the address line and the small lock in the lower right corner of the taskbar. These symbols indicate that the data is being transmitted in encrypted form. Check the account movements and, if necessary, agree on a limit for daily money movements in advance. The best thing to do is to do without online banking on someone else's computers.

Wireless Internet access

Public WiFi hotspots are usually unencrypted. It is no problem for criminals to track the data traffic including passwords. In addition, WiFi-enabled devices always have the same factory settings such as user name and password.

Tips: The protection software on the computer must be up-to-date. If possible, surf over encrypted networks. Encryption according to the WPA-2 standard is best here. Call up confidential data via an SSL-secured connection (recognizable by the "https: / /" and the lock logo) or use the "Virtual Private Network" (VPN) of your home or company network, if available. If necessary, create a usage profile with restricted rights. This makes it difficult for criminals to install malware. Never log in as an administrator and change the standard password of the wireless access point. Even if it is more expensive: it is better to use a UMTS stick, here the data is encrypted by default. Only switch on your WiFi when you are using it.