How entangled is our physical life today with the digital world? Personal mail and documents, private social media postings, family photos and videos, your favourite music and films... Getting a look at the hard disk of your computer might give similar insights to a tour of your house or apartment. So, the basic question is: why would anybody leave an office containing their laptop open and unlocked while nobody would ever leave their house with the door unlocked?
A short walk through any arbitrary CERN office building during lunchtime allows anyone to take an in-depth look into the private lives of our colleagues. Office doors left open. Computer screens unlocked and glowing. Owners out for lunch. Bingo — with a bit of malicious intent and some chutzpah, the curious can now sit down in your living room and marvel at your life. And we are not talking about a few isolated instances, there are plenty. Open days at home! Your full privacy sphere exposed.
Do yourself a favour: protect your privacy, protect your computer. Lock the screen when leaving your laptop unattended — in your office, at a meeting — even if you just walk away to fetch something from the printer, buy a coffee or answer a call of nature. The screen-lock is just one keystroke away: “Windows-L” for Windows PCs, “CTRL-ALT-L” on Linux systems (depending on your favourite Linux flavour), “Control+Shift+Power” on Macbooks. Also, consider protecting your laptop with a chain (a “Kensington”-lock) and locking your office with a key when you leave: it is not unusual for laptops to disappear from offices… forever.
For further information, questions or help, check our website or contact us at Computer.Security@cern.ch.
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