InfoSec Blog - Do you lock your laptop?

Laptop Lock

August 18, 2017

Its 9pm and a quiet night at the library. You are just about to finish your psychology report but your empty stomach tells you it's time for a break. Knowing that Starbucks is right across from you and they would have the perfect lemon loaf to satisfy your hunger, you ask your friend to watch your laptop while you quickly grab the treat. Everything should be fine as you make a quick visit and leave your laptop unattended and open. 

As much as relying on your friend for security is reassuring, you should take further action in securing your laptop while it is unattended. A basic security technique to keep your identity, network and data safe is “locking” your laptop. Locking your system will prevent others from accessing it without your login password. Locking does not alter or make changes to the documents that you have currently open and does not close any browsers while in lock mode.

You may be wondering why you would lock your laptop when your trustworthy friend is cautiously looking after it. Ultimately, the most shocking thing he/she could do to you is to go onto your laptop and change your profile picture to something goofy from the internet. As much as this is a harmful and funny joke, it portrays how vulnerable you are when you leave your laptop unlocked. Not only is it open for your friend, but it is open to anyone who can have access to any of your information that you keep on your laptop.

Here are simple ways you can lock your laptops:

For PC:

  • Press the Windows+L keys together on the laptop keyboard (Windows key can also look like the Windows logo), or

  • Manually, by clicking the start button at the left corner, click the lock symbol which is beside the shutdown button

Either option will lock your system and prompt you to enter your login password to unlock.

On Macs:

  • In order to allow Mac lock screen command to work, you must first configure the keys and set up a password. Go to Systems Preferences > Security & Privacy > General.  Check the “Required Password” box. 

  • Press the keys: Control + Shift + Eject together to lock your screen immediately


So get into the simple habit of locking your computers and laptops whenever you go to the bathroom, to grab a snack or anytime you leave your devices unattended. Don't make it easy for anyone to access your personal information!


Written by: Jerry Hwang (CCS Coop Student)