Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Physically protecting a computer and laptop, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- Here's some things that you can do to physically protect your computer or laptop. When you have a desktop computer versus a laptop, it's likely that you won't be moving it around, so while there's little to no danger that you'll lose it, there's some safeguards that you can do to secure it from physical access. The first one is simply, don't write down your passwords on sticky notes and tape them to your monitor. You never know who's going to see it. I'll be talking about passwords more in this chapter, including why we write down our passwords on sticky notes. Secondly, always lock your computer when you're walking away from it, and make sure that you do have a password to get back into it.
If you're using a Mac, to lock the Mac, on the keyboard, hold the control key plus the shift key plus the eject key, or control, shift, power, if your Mac doesn't have an eject key. To lock a Windows computer, hold down the Windows key and hit L. This is going to instantly lock your screen as you can see. To get back into it, you need to first unlock it, and put in your Windows password. I like to recommend that computers have multiple accounts on them. Even if you're the only person who uses the computer, having multiple user accounts on a computer will prevent your computer from going to a default account on startup.
It will also be one additional point of password access, and another user would have to determine which account to get into, if they wanted to break into your computer. To add an additional user account in Windows, open the Charms bar and in the search bar type "PC Settings". Click "PC settings", and on the left hand side, click "Accounts". Click "Other accounts" on the left hand side and then, simply click "Add an account" and follow all the steps to add an additional user account. Now there's a few more additional points to consider if you have a laptop versus a computer.
To physically protect your laptop, the most important thing that you can do when travelling, is to make sure that you're using a backpack, or some other inconspicuous non-laptop bag while you're travelling. You don't want to call attention to the fact that you have a laptop in there. Something else that I like to do is always make sure my laptop is physically touching me in some way. If I'm at a coffee shop, my hand's on the keyboard while I'm typing, but if I turn away from it, even to talk to somebody, I still keep one hand on my laptop.
That way you'll know in a second if it's swiped off the table. If you're going to put it below you, you can put it in between your feet or keep it leaning against one leg. That way, you get used to always having it there, and it's also a great safeguard against forgetting it somewhere. You can also consider purchasing something called a cable lock to keep your laptop in place. A cable lock can be purchased from sites like Amazon.com and it attaches to your laptop and some other immobile object, like a table or a chair.
Finally, use password management software on a laptop. A laptop is not a place that you want to store passwords directly in the browser. Password management software will allow you to input passwords as you need them, and you need one password to actually get into that password management software. So it's a great thing to use for a laptop, and I will be talking about that in a future video. So while we usually think of computer security in a virtual sense, it's easy to forget that the first point of entry to a computer or laptop is getting to it physically.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings