You Need to Lock Your Screen

The information stored inside your devices is valuable. Contacts, emails, browser history, cached logins to Facebook, storefronts, banking sites: all of these can be accessed and compromised in a pinch by someone who has access to your phone, tablet, or laptop, if you don't bother to lock it. Do not give potential thieves or other malicious actors that opportunity. Make them work for it. Lock your screens.

Table of Contents

Lock Your Computer and Laptop Screens

When you step away from your laptop for any reason, lock the screen. If you close the lid on your laptop, most should lock the screen automatically, unless you have disabled it for some reason.

If your laptop's lid is always open, or you are connected to an external monitor, manually lock your screen when you step away from your desk. All major operating systems have keyboard shortcuts that can easily do this.

Practice locking your screen until it becomes a habit. No one should be able to examine or modify your computer except you.

All operating systems that have a screenlock also have an option to automatically engage the screenlock if the device is left idle for a certain amount of time.

Lock Your Tablets

While the vast majority of tablets are used for entertainment purposes, the number of people who do shopping on their mobile devices has skyrocketed. If you buy books, music, or even apps through your tablet, your tablet has access to a credit card. Don't leave this device unattended. Ensure that your tablet has a lock screen, and turn it on.

For the Love of God, Lock Your Phones

The smartphone is an incredibly vulnerable device because we do so much on it and we have it with us all the time. That makes it a target. A computer or a tablet that rarely leaves your house (or is useless without a wifi connection) can be considered relatively safe from being randomly stolen. Not so with a phone, that might literally be swiped out of your hand as you walk down the street. It is bad enough if a thief should steal your phone: do not let him also steal your credit cards, Facebook login, or bank information that might be accessible on your phone. Lock your screens.

Android devices running version 5.0 (Lollipop) or above have a feature called Smart Lock, which allows the device to disable the screen lock when it is in a Trusted Location (i.e. your house) or connected via Bluetooth to a Trusted Device (e.g. your car). This can make the screen lock less cumbersome to deal with.

Choosing a Good Password

When choosing a password for your lockscreen, whether the password is a numeric PIN or an alphanumeric passcode, there are some DO's and DONT's to follow: