King County Security Tips: Lock Your Screen

Locking your screen when you get up from your desk is a security action that is often overlooked and can have dangerous consequences. Failing to lock your screen can open you up to several vulnerabilities–some more serious than others.

Although many organizations have a policy which automatically locks your screen with a screen saver after a certain amount of inactivity, not all screen savers are password-protected, leaving your workstation defenseless.

Here are a few actions the bad guys can do when you leave your workstation unlocked and unattended:

  • Files can be downloaded from the internet and executed on your computers, such as malware, spyware, keyloggers, and other types of malicious software.
  • Emails can be sent from your email address to coworkers, your boss, or other business contacts.
  • If you save passwords in your browser (another no-no), they now have access to your online banking, Facebook, and other accounts.

Locking your workstation before you get up from your desk is simple and can prevent you from ending up in a bad situation.

Here are some ways you can lock your workstation:

For Windows:

  • Press the Windows key + the L key at the same time on your keyboard.
  • Press and hold Ctrl+Alt+Del and then choose Lock This Computer.

For Mac:

  • If using Mac OS X (2015 and later), be sure to enable the lock screen ability. Find this under System Preferences > Security & Privacy > and look for the “Require password…” setting under the General tab.
    • Then, press Control+Command+Q on your keyboard, or do a quick web search to learn the keyboard shortcut for your Mac’s Operating System.
  • Set up hot corners, which allows you to push your cursor to a certain corner of your screen to lock the computer. This can be set up under System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver then choosing Hot Corners.

Get in the habit of locking your screen. If nothing else, it will prevent coworkers from sending prank emails from your account!
If you have any questions, contact