Your passwords and you


lolcat

In the midst of all the preparation for the great Hackerspace events that 091 Labs have coming up in the next week (I’ll be giving a talk on photography and constructing your own camera that you must attend), I want to write down a quick word about the security of your passwords.

Whether it is a desktop or laptop, when you use a computer at the Labs you are using a public machine. We will have old members and new members and the occasional outright stranger dropping in on the Labs to attend our workshops in the coming week. Every one of these folk has as much of an expectation to use these computers as you do. :]

I need to point out that takes a determined person under five minutes to log onto a machine, locate saved sessions and passwords, and record what they find. But thankfully I do not suggest or believe that any member of 091 Labs would act so maliciously.

Instead my biggest concern is potential embarrassment from stemming from inadvertent access to personal or otherwise sensitive information. I have logged into a given computer to find private email accounts left open, Facebook and Twitter account accessible and instant messaging clients left running. I have come home from the Labs at night to find that two people had logged into their Gmail accounts on my laptop over the course of the day.

Two good things for you to do:

  1. Do not save your passwords on an 091 Labs machine. If available, use your browser’s private browsing mode. If you can’t, remember to clear your history at the end of the session.
  2. Use your own computer. That seems to be the majority action right now.

So everyone be careful and have some fun in the coming week!