What all these convenient places to log in to your FastMail account have in common is that they are commonly available. Anybody can sit down at your computer after you have left — and if you don't pay attention they may be able to sneak into your account or restore an email you have just read or sent.
How this is possible? To avoid downloading pages again and again redundantly, browsers save them in a cache. This speeds up access, but there may be leftover cache files from your FastMail session on the computer after you left it. Fortunately, FastMail has an option that tells the browser not to cache any pages (emails, address book entries, notes,...) you load on FastMail. This makes sure nobody can unveil them afterwards.
Another thing to remember is that everything you send over the internet can be intercepted. If somebody manages to capture the communication between your computer and FastMail, they can read every email you read or send, and they can save your password, too. Fortunately, FastMail has an option against this virulent threat, too. You can opt for all traffic between the terminal you use to access your account and FastMail to be encrypted. The emails you send are still delivered in plain text from FastMail onwards, but the danger is reduced, especially if you're working in an environment you do not trust.
But even if you made sure that none of the pages you visited at FastMail can be retrieved later and use secure, encrypted communications, you should still log out of your FastMail account actively when you leave, or the next person may simply continue your session.
Use FastMail Securely from a Public Computer
So, to use FastMail securely from a public computer:
- Make sure Public terminal (no cache) is checked when you log on.
- Optionally, to extend your session beyond 30 minutes (which means that after half an hour of inactivity on FastMail, you'll have to log in freshly):
- Click + More.
- Make sure the desired time is selected under Session time:.
- (30 minutes is the most secure choice.)
- Click Log Out when you have finished your FastMail session.
Make sure, also, that nobody is looking over your shoulder as you read and write emails.
(Updated September 2011)