Helping you balance your online life

Q&A: Is Leaving a Website Open On My Computer Dangerous?

Q. Is leaving a website open on my computer dangerous? Does it make my computer more susceptible to hackers?

A. Most of us tend to leave websites and browsers open on our computers while we walk away - sometimes even for lengthy periods of time. This act itself is not dangerous. Why? Most websites are static, so you are not more susceptible to hackers or viruses if you leave them open. They display content when you first visit them, but then they don’t do anything else, like run programs or access your machine. They are literally just sitting idle waiting for you.

What is a security risk though is your computer. If you walk away from an unsecure computer, then it’s not really secure. Think of the chance that someone could access or abuse your computer while you're not around. Could they access a private file, steal your personal information or drain your account if you leave your bank website up? If yes, lock your computer before you walk away.

Otherwise, it’s ok to leave a website open. I tend to do it myself all the time when I’m multitasking or as a reminder to go back to it to complete some unfinished task. Sometimes I even leave them open for days at a time (shhh, don’t tell anyone).