An Internet café is a place which provides internet access to public for a fee. Internet cafés have become more popular since the first Internet café started in July 1991 by Wayne Gregori in San Francisco named as SFnet Coffeehouse Network. Subsequently in June 1994, The Binary Café, Canada’s first Internet café started in Toronto, Ontario.  To cope with the increasing demand for Internet access new Internet cafes have come into play.

In India many people go to Internet café to carryout their day to day online activities. Most of the people are aware of how to use Internet for meeting their needs. We usually go to Internet café for checking our mails, chat with friends online, play online games, book travel tickets, etc. The same Internet café used by a common man is also used by Anti-social elements, Criminals and terrorists to perform their illegal activities over the Internet. Hackers sometimes install malicious software on the public computers in Internet Café in order to get sensitive information from the users who are visiting that particular Café.  

The Internet café owners have to follow the guidelines to prove their innocence in case of any incident. Let us see a case with cyber crime cell of pune. A mail was sent to pune police commissionerate threatening disruptive activities during Ganesh Puja. Police were trying to trace the person who sent the email, they arrested owners of the Internet café from where the email was sent on August 25,2012.  Police arrested the owner of Internet cafe for not verifying the credentials of the customer who sent the threat mail and for not keeping any record of the customers. In this case if the owners have followed the rules they might have proved their innocence. This incident have made it clear that Internet café owners should follow the guidelines strictly.

Not only should the owners of Internet café, users visiting the Internet café also take certain precautions to surf the web safely in order to avoid hackers. Let us see some of the guidelines issued by Government of India for Internet café owners; and also some useful tips/guidelines for users visiting Internet café.

GUIDELINES FOR INTERNET CAFÉ OWNERS

  • Maintain a register for Identity of the visitor.
  • The Identity of the visitor/User shall be established through Voter card, identity card, ration card, driving license, passport or PAN card.
  • If any activity of the visitor is suspicious the owner of the cybercafé should inform to the near by police station.

GUIDELINES FOR INTERNET CAFÉ VISITORS

  • Never pass or tell the Cyber Cafe Owner or anyone else in Cyber Café about your email username and password to check your e-mail. This may sound little bit odd but the surveys saying that small kids or many old aged persons have no idea about the risks of information theft. Username and passwords always be entered by their owners and at most you may request for guidance to reach login page.
  • If you store or download any personal information on Desktop in cyber cafe make sure you delete all the documents after you are done with your work.
  • When surfing the Internet, you always should check about the browser security to avoid risks of exposing personal information such as disabling the option “Remember my ID on this computer”. User ID or Username also should be secured along with password to avoid trail passwords by next user.
  • A keylogger is basically spyware and logs or records your keystrokes so that your username and password are made available to Cyber cafe owner or any Attacker.  Some of Cyber Cafes may use Hardware key loggers so that you check that there is an intermediate device between your keyboard and CPU.
  • Whenever you go to Cyber Cafe, make sure that it has up to date Anti Virus and Anti spam software. These may help to stop some of the key loggers, Trojans and other malware. .
  • Do not surf the web through already opened web browsers, open a new web browser to surf the web.
  • Don't leave the computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen.
  • Disable the feature that stores passwords.
  • Don't enter sensitive information into a public computer.
  • Force Cyber Cafe Owner to allocate you a computer loaded with updated antivirus software.
  • Finally, always make sure to logout properly when you leave Cyber cafe.
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