Difference between 'logging out' and just 'closing' a website's open tab(s) *without* logging out (re: security)

Does closing a website’s tab(s) achieve the same result in terms of privacy, whether or not you have logged out of the website?

E.g., I often close all open Twitter tabs without logging out because logging in is usually so difficult (extended CAPTCHAs, even with two-factor authentication enabled).

Am I more vulnerable to any kind of intrusion, attack, etc. because I haven’t logged out, even though no Twitter tabs are open?


If you don’t log out, with most sites you will still be logged in if the browser is re-opened as an authentication cookie will still be stored on your machine.

This means if the computer itself is compromised, there is a somewhat elevated risk that that cookie, or browser, could be used to access whatever accounts were left logged in. Note that if it’s a multi-user computer where others use the same account, or if you tend to leave it unlocked in an unsecured space, then the same obviously applies because someone else could just use your sessions.

That being said, at that point you probably have bigger problems to worry about, and you might even just log in again without even realizing the computer is compromised, so you end up with the same problem.

As far as attacks being successful from outside of that computer – I don’t think it exposes you to significant additional risk of someone taking over an account/session from anyplace else.


Excellent response here!

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Thanks for that reply. I really wasn’t thinking in terms of local intrusions, but those from the Internet.

Primarily, I wondered whether closing websites’ tabs, without logging out of those websites, hides them (their content) from hackers.

If I understood your reply correctly, it probably does – though perhaps not from the website that you’ve ‘left’ (closed all related tabs) but not logged out of.


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