All of the encryption software in the world is meaningless if you fail to practice a couple of simple habits regarding physical security.


I was a very trusting person when I started college. I left my room unlocked most of the time, and didn't care that my laptop was exposed sitting on my desk.[ref]To be clear, it was attached to the wall with a cable lock, so I wasn't that trusting.[/ref]

One day, a friend thought he'd play a prank. I came back from class to find some ... interesting photos set up as my desktop background and screensaver. I found similar phrases littered throughout a few yet-to-be-submitted essays that, sadly, took longer to fix than they had to write in the first place.

This was the last day I ever left my computer without a lock screen password.

Making sure your computer is protected against unauthorized access is one of the first things you should do if concerned about digital security. Having the most secure banking, email, or social network passwords possible is meaningless if your physical machine - which may have those passwords stored somewhere - is open to anyone who comes across the keyboard.


Twitter and other real-time social media outlets have generated a plethora of interesting stories. Many are funny or embarrassing. Most are also tagged with a clever "OH" for "over heard."

It's an ever-present reminder that little, if anything, of what we say in public venues is private. Client phone calls, discussions with colleagues, even emails sitting on-screen while at the coffee shop. There's no guarantee that anything said or written will remain privileged information.

Being aware of your surroundings while you work is key to keeping information private when it should be private.

What other physical steps - beyond restricting access to your machine and being aware of where you hold privileged conversations - would you take to keep your information secure?