Internet Security Basics, Part 5: Passwords and Logins | Company
Many businesses and government facilities require it, and it can be something you want to do at home.
This is especially important for devices that travel, such as phones and laptops. Thousands of these devices are lost or stolen every day, and a password or PIN can prevent your information from falling into the wrong hands.
For home devices, it’s about who has physical access to the machine. Many people don’t want their children to see what’s on their computer or that other people might be in the house unattended. If you’re the one living alone in your house and no one else has access to the computer, that might not be such a big deal, but consider this: If a burglar steals your computer and turns it back on at the hideout, will they be rewarded with a treasure trove of account numbers, IDs, and password information, or will they be thwarted by a password-protected ID?
On a Windows 10 computer, click the Start button in the lower left corner. Next, click on the gear-shaped “Settings” symbol, located above the Start button. Next, select Accounts, and from Accounts, select Sign-in options and Password. On an Apple Mac, click the Apple symbol in the upper left corner and select System Preferences. Next, visit Users and Groups.
Some people won’t need this kind of protection, but if you have sensitive and private things that you wouldn’t want to share with the rest of the world, then give your computer a password. Do the same with your phones and tablets. It all depends on who has physical access to your computer. Do you have maids who come to clean your house? Think about who can actually physically touch your computer.
On iPhones and Android phones, go to Settings (the little gear symbol). On iPhones, look at FaceID and Passcode. Android phones, check lock screen and security.
You can also protect your device using the screen saver or screen timeout feature. This is also required by many government and business installations, so that after a certain period of inactivity, such as if you are going to lunch, the screen saver will turn on or, in the case of a phone, the screen turns off.
This is done so that you can take care of some activity, but you don’t have to shut down your work or shut down your computer completely. You can just pause things, but at the same time, no one can access your device until they enter the password, PIN, or verification method you choose.
On a Windows computer, (1) click the Windows Start button in the lower left corner; (2) click on the Windows “Settings” icon, located above the Start button; (3) select “Personalization”; (4) select “Lock screen;” (5) select “Screen saver settings”.
Then, check the box “On resume, show connection”; (2) select the duration before the screen saver activates; (3) select your screen saver style, or a photo, if desired; (4) click Apply, and that’s it.
On an Apple Mac, see Desktop & Screen Saver in System Preferences. There you will find the option to give your screensaver an expiration time and a password.
Next week: encryption, the ultimate protection.
Dave Moore, CISSP, has been repairing computers in Oklahoma since 1984. Founder of the non-profit Internet Safety Group Ltd, he also teaches community training workshops on Internet safety. He can be reached at 919-9901 or internetsafetygroup.org.