Have you ever logged into your home computer and noticed the search history from your phone was also showing up in your home internet browser? More and more, companies like Google and Microsoft are requiring you to have a user account for their browsers in an effort to link your browsing preferences across various devices and provide a synchronous user experience. The algorithm Google uses to learn your interests based on search results and retain your history is mostly beneficial, however, it is important to remember that these services store your personal data in the cloud and it is your responsibility not to link any accounts to work computers or public devices.
Your search results are just some of the over 100 billion searches processed by Google every month, which is staggering when considering Google is just one of many online search engines. Those search results, as well as any data you have saved online are tired directly to whatever account you created when downloading Chrome, Firefox or similar web browsers. For instance, users with a Gmail account may check their mail from their home, work and public computers. Depending on whether their password has been cached on any one computer, they are open to an easy breach of security.
Many of us are guilty of checking personal websites at work and save the login credentials for non-work related websites in our work browser, as a result. This makes it faster to access your mail, shopping sites and financial institutions, but also leaves you at risk of having someone else access your data. If you leave your job, or someone else uses your work computer, those cached credentials will enable the next user to potentially log into the sites that contain your personal and financial data. To safeguard against such a scenario do not save your username or password for any account containing personal interests or information on devices used by anyone other than yourself. Most browsers include a feature to disable password saving, which is strongly recommended on computers used by more than one person. It is far more likely to have your data jeopardized due to misuse of your browser than it is for your password to be stolen.
When it comes to your online safety, a password is only as good as the way you are managing it. Remember, it is not your banking website or Gmail account that is saving your password, it is your browser. If you are using public or corporate devices, make it a point to refrain from checking personal accounts and clear your cache prior to logging off. Our personnel browsing habits play a big part in staying safe online.