Allowing your computer or a website to remember you (or info about you, like your username) is a double-edged sword. On one hand there’s the convenience of not having to type things in over and over, and on the other there are security concerns that can leave your computer or your online accounts vulnerable. Knowing what you’re committing when you let something remember you is very important, and is something you should consider before checking the box to OK.
There are several common places where something will let you remember you or your information. Each one has its own set of ups and downs with regards to keeping your info in its memory:
- Public Computers:
If you’re using a public computer, at the library for example, you should never allow passwords to be stored. If you do, it’s kind of like inviting anyone to view your accounts. You wouldn’t give a stranger the key to your house; don’t give them a key to your online accounts.
- Private Computers:
To keep friends and family from accidentally mucking up your settings, consider using separate user profiles may help alleviate this problem. Then you’ll just have to remember to log out of your profile when you’re done.
Having a website remember you and/or your password should only be done on private computers, and even then you might consider only doing it if you have a separate profile as mentioned above. Sure, you’re not going to have strangers rummaging through your PC (and if you do, you’ve got bigger problems), but a friend or family member could accidentally erase an email, click on a buy button, or lose a setting. S
I’ve got a new iPhone (no iPhone hater commentary, please), and I used it without protecting it with a pass code for the first month. Then a friend asked to check it out and asked why I didn’t use a pass code. I was a bit taken aback because I hadn’t considered it. Then he pointed out that if I lose my iPhone, all of my emails, etc. are wide open for whomever finds it. Good point! Why it didn’t occur to me I don’t know, but I’m using a pass code now and you should do the same on any gadget or gizmo that lets you protect it that way.
If you have the ability to use a username and password (or pass code), do so. But think about having the PC, site, or gadget remember those settings before you press the OK button. Having your info stored is a balancing act between safety and convenience, and you’re going to have to make that call for yourself based on what it is and who has access to it.