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  OIT Home > Security > Guide > Lock Your Workstation
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Lock Your Workstation


There is probably no easier way to gain unauthorized access to a computer than by walking up to an unattended and unlocked workstation, pointing, and clicking; you are in. When you leave your workstation unlocked, anyone can use it and assume your network identity, gaining access to any applications or files to which you have access. As every person is responsible for keeping his or her workstation secure, you should lock your workstation whenever you leave it, even if you will only be gone for a few minutes. Your workstation screensaver should also have its password protection configured to begin after a short period of inactivity (10 minutes at most is recommended). It is very easy to get sidetracked and stay away from your desk longer than you anticipate, so it is best just to secure your workstation whenever you leave it.

How to Set Up a Screen Saver with Password Protection

On Windows:

  1. Right click on an empty space on your desktop.
  2. Click Properties and then the Screen Saver tab.
  3. Change Wait time to 10 minutes or less.
  4. Select On resume, password protect.
  5. Click Apply.

On Mac OS X:

  1. Open System Preferences (this can be done by selecting it from the Apple menu).
  2. Select Dashboard & Exposé from the Personal section.
  3. From the popup menus next to the corners of the screen graphic, select Start Screen Saver from the corner you want to be the hot corner (hot corners are corners of your computer screen where you move your mouse pointer in order to trigger an action).
  4. Click Show All at the top of the window and then select Security.
  5. Put a check in the box for Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screensaver. It's also advisable to ensure that Disable automatic login is checked.
  6. Close the System Preferences window.

How to Manually Engage the Desktop Lock

On Windows:

  1. Press the Control-Alt-Delete keys at any time, and you'll be presented with an option panel.
  2. Select Lock Workstation.

On Mac OS X:

  1. Make sure your screen saver is set up to require a password.
  2. Simply move your mouse to the "hot corner" to which you assigned the Start Screen Saver action.
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