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Today's IT tip: Lock it when you leave it

Oct. 31, 2007
By Sean O'Malley

Editor's note: Through October, the Office of Information Technology will offer information security best practices in observance of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This is the final tip in this series. 

How many times a day do you step away from your desk? Whether it?s for a meeting, lunch or just a trip to the restroom, any time you leave your computer unattended, you could be exposing yourself or the university to a data security risk.

"Leaving a computer unattended and unlocked is like parking a car with the windows down and the key in the ignition," says OIT senior security analyst Ed Carter.  "All it takes is for the wrong person to walk by."

Fortunately, locking a computer is just as easy as locking a car. 

On a Windows machine, just press Ctrl-Alt-Del and choose "Lock Workstation." On a Macintosh, you'll first need to password protect your screensaver and enable "hot corners." Once you have done that, any time you want to lock your Mac, just move your mouse to the specified corner of your screen. Unlocking either system is simply a matter of entering your password.

Of course, locking your computer does little good if you don't have a good password. For tips on choosing a good password, see this Outlook story.


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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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