I’m sure you’ve been through it: you see a computer sitting there without any screen lock, the desktop (or even some documents) open. Even worse, you probably are the person who left his computer unprotected while you went out picking up a coffee, or because your boss called you right away to his office. Oooops, what a bad idea. Are you comfortable letting someone having access to your computer?
If you’re still wondering why it’s a bad idea, this means that either you have nothing sensitive stored on your computer (can it be?), or you are not conscious about the “danger” hanging around. And, gosh, locking your screen will do no harm: depending on your operating system, it’s just a matter of simple combinations of the key pressed and then you can go away with peace in mind- so why don’t you do that?
Things you are leaving behind
Now, let’s consider that you think you have nothing sensitive on your computer and see what another user can see if he take the time to seat in front of your computer and “play” with it. Let’s see the usual things you’re leaving behind when letting access to your computer:
- the open documents: this is the most obvious one. You’ve left some documents open, it’s easy to have a look at them. But even if they aren’t open, you know that most software now comes with the “recently opened document”. So now, you know that you’re leaving some traces behind. Let’s just hope you didn’t watch some “forbidden” movies at work and that your media player “remembers” it, nor have you read some confidential documents,
- the files stored on your hard drive: you surely have photos, music or videos laying around that can be “interesting”.Do you know that some of the guys who repair your computer check for those “hidden treasures” while trying to remove that virus from your computer whenever you ask for their help? Have you ever been suggested something like “we need to bring your computer to our lab for repairing?”.Just think about it: how badly do you want some of the files you keep on your computer unfound? We all have something stored on our computer that we don’t want other to know: either it is the usual ones (adult photos and movies usually), or that photo of you drunk and trying to climb the police’s fences while you’re almost naked on a TGIF night that your best friend sent you (ok, this probably didn’t happen, but you get the idea),
- your browser’s hidden treasure: unless you’re following some of the tips I left for browsing incognito, your browser reveals a lot about your online history. Whether your browser keeps some credentials for accessing some online sites (have you noticed those “remember me” features on most websites?), or your browsing history (oops, you’ve been surfing on some “people news” website while your boss was expecting that important report for … yesterday?).In fact, if it’s only for checking what you did, you can still find a way to “minimize” it. But let’s say that your browser automatically connects you to Facebook (or whatever website), if someone really wants to harm you, it’s very simple to post something on your behalf while you are away. And remember, anything posted online is hard to remove.
Is anyone having access to your computer? Are you comfortable to let someone browsing your private data? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.