Cybersecurity Tip: Lock Your Computer Screen!

lock your computer screen

Protect Your Confidential Work Files

Cybersecurity has become increasingly important in recent years as technology has become more and more ubiquitous in our lives.

For employees who work from home, it is especially important to take precautions to protect your computer and personal information.

In addition, for employees who work in an office, it is important to be aware of the various ways that cyberattacks can occur in order to protect your company’s data.

“Just over 4 in 10 Canadians (42%) experienced at least one type of cyber security incident since the beginning of 2020, including phishing attacks, malware, fraud and hacked accounts.” – Stats Canada.

Cybercriminals don’t take time off, so it’s important to remain vigilant against potential data leaks. Locking your computer screen is one of the simplest and most effective ways to guard against becoming a target of cyber-crime.

Always Lock Your Computer Screen

While many companies and organizations have a policy that sets your screen to lock after a certain period of time, leaving your desk for just 5 minutes can leave you vulnerable.

Locking your screen before you step away from your computer is a crucial step. Failing to do so can leave you open to all kinds of security risks.

You should also have a strong and unique login password for added security.  This should include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and at least one special character – and it shouldn’t be easy for others to guess. For best results, don’t use names of your kids, your dog, birth dates and other easily identifiable information.

If you use remote access, it’s still important to keep security in mind. When you’re using a private connection from outside of your own home, a good rule of thumb is to pretend that you’re using a public computer. This will help you to stay on your guard, making sure the screen is locked and your computer isn’t accessible to anyone but yourself. A family member may log on and unknowingly click on a wrong email or website and install malware.

If a computer is used by multiple employees in your office, you always want to create individual accounts with unique logins, multifactor authentication and strong passwords for each.

Whether it’s a desktop, tablet, laptop, or mobile device, these same practices should be put in place to keep you safe. Never set the option that allows a computer to remember your password.

Remember, strong authentication is key and multifactor authentication is key!

How to Lock Your Computer Screen

Knowing how to lock your screen is just as important.

For Windows 10/11 users, there are several options:

  • Windows Key + L
  • Lock your computer in the start menu. Click the Start Button (Windows Icon), select account name, and click lock
  • Ctrl+Alt+Delete

While Ctrl+Alt+Delete is typically used to close unresponsive software, it can be used to lock your computer as well.

You can set your PC to lock after a certain period of inactivity, at which point a screensaver will appear. . That screensaver should be password protected such that you need to logon with your username and password to re-enter your computer.

For Mac users, here are the steps:

  • Control+Command+Q
  • Click the Apple Icon in the top left, and the lock screen option will be at the bottom of the dropdown menu

Remember, whether you’re at home or work, your desktop can be at risk. With personal files and confidential work files, cyber security is a top priority.

What Happens If Someone Gains Unauthorized Access?

Let’s say you forget to lock your desktop and walk away for a moment. What happens if a co-worker gains access to your computer?

We know you don’t live in a spy movie, but you can never be too careful. The information you have on your computer and in your database is sensitive information, not just for your employees, but your investors and clients as well.

It’s important to know that in just a few minutes, a rogue co-worker could download malicious files from the Internet to be executed on your computer. Malware, spyware, and keyloggers can run rampant. As a result, any confidential work files or folders are at risk.

If you save passwords in your browser (which is also a bad idea), they can potentially access your online banking, social insurance number, medical records, social media and more.

Emails can be sent as if they’re coming from you to other co-workers, your boss, and business contacts.

Besides locking your computer screen, what other cybercriminal tricks should you be aware of?

  • Baiting

This is when someone leaves a malware-infected device (such as a USB flash drive) with the intent of a victim finding it, so they load the infected device into their computer.

  • Phishing

When a recipient is tricked by someone posing as a trusted source into installing malware or sharing personal, financial, or business information.

  • Pretexting

This is when a cybercriminal fabricates a story to trick a victim into giving sensitive data or providing access to protected systems.

  • Quid Pro Quo

Also known as “The Nigerian Prince” scam. This is when an attacker requests private information in exchange for money or gifts.

  • Spear Phishing

Similar to phishing, this is a highly targeted attack that focuses on a specific person or company.

  • Tailgating

This is a physical technique when an unauthorized person gains access by following employees into a secure location.

Remember, if you receive a suspicious email, phone call, or message, report it immediately to your company so other employees don’t fall victim.

Cybersecurity Tips

Besides locking your screen and being aware of potential scams, what else can you do to keep your work files safe?

  • Keep software up-to-date

Turn on automatic updates and use web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox with frequent security updates. Make sure your browser plugins are up-to-date as well.

  • Ensure your anti-virus software is up-to-date

This will protect you from malware, spyware, ransomware, phishing, spam, etc.

  • Avoid public Wi-Fi networks

Make sure you’re using a secure network before you start browsing. Anyone can intercept your login credentials and data in a public network.

  • Safeguard data with encryption

This is the best protection method for keeping your data safe. Set your browsing preferences to access websites that use secure transmission protocols. These sites will have an ‘https://’ before the web address, and a locked padlock symbol on your browser. Make sure your privacy tools, add-ons, and other patches are in working order.

  • Avoid clicking on unknown websites or downloading untrusted software

These can host malware that is automatically and silently installed on your device.

  • Back up your data

Besides being able to restore specific data which may have been deleted or corrupted, an image-based backup will allow you to completely restore your computer including all its settings, applications and data.

BSC Solutions Group Will Help With Cybersecurity

By locking your computer screen and staying vigilant against other attacks, your personal and professional information is much safer.

Physical security of your desktop, tablet, laptop, and mobile device is just as important as technical security. For instance, don’t leave your devices in your vehicle where they can be seen.

At BSC Solutions Group, our professionals provide expert cybersecurity solutions with full IT support. We will be there to ensure your data is backed up, and that best practices are being followed to keep your network as secure as possible. We’ll also be there to fix any issues that have the potential to impact your teams’ productivity.

Contact us today to learn more about cybersecurity and how to secure your organization’s network.