Is it safe to walk away?

Is it safe to walk away?  A reader wants to know.

“My husband leaves his PC open on a site or email and walks away for hours. This I know he should not do, but does anyway.”

Truth be told. I do it, too. While I would never, ever suggest doing it at work or away from home or if you have roommates, if you’re home by yourself or home with your spouse (whom I assume you trust), it really isn’t that big of a security risk.

Of course, as long as you have your PC set to lock after a few minutes of inactivity, other people won’t be able to get on it and check out what’s been happening in your browser or read your email.

Unless your PC is infected with malware (which is going to keep working whether you leave the browser open or not), nothing is really going to happen as long as you have proper security protection in place on your PC.

The biggest problem you might face with leaving multiple browser tabs open is they could gobble up your system resources, burning more power and taking up bandwidth on your Internet connection. If, for example, a site left open keeps auto-playing videos, that could drain the battery on a laptop or cause it to get hot.

I suppose there’s always the possibility that someone might have hacked a webcam and could listen in or spy on you but you’d need to be infected with some serious malware and not have proper security protection in place.

The biggest danger with leaving a browser open is a human sitting down at your computer and snooping in your business for passwords or reading your email. If there aren’t other people around, it really shouldn’t be much of a problem.

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