Page 1 of 2

Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:55 pm
by michaeljc70
I know that it is unlikely that someone will break in and steal my 2 laptops (1 Chromebook, 1 Windows). However, I wonder how bad the effects would/could be if they do. I don't lock them because I jump on and off of them at least 20 times a day and it is a hassle to unlock them. I have Quicken (with all my financial accounts/account numbers), tax returns and other normal records (copies of marriage certificate, birth certificate, SSN card, passports,etc.) on the laptops.

I am wondering if people lock their computers all the time when not using them at home or use some other method to avoid theft of data or just don't worry about it. I make a concerted effort to lock them when traveling and leaving them in a hotel room or something like that.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:59 pm
by livesoft
I'm not sure what you mean by "lock." If you mean, do I have to type a password again if I leave my computer unused for a few minutes, then Yes. But my display opens up exactly where I left off. This is just like my cell phone which needs a password if I haven't used it for few minutes. Entering a password on these devices is trivial (if you know the password).

If you mean, do I power them down and turn them off, then no, I don't do that.

I generally don't keep sensitive info on my phone nor on my laptop.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:05 pm
by Silk McCue
My PC requires that the password be entered to access it even at home. I don’t sign out while at home but it will lock after a certain amount of time. Minor issue to have to type the password in.

Cheers

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:09 pm
by michaeljc70
livesoft wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:59 pm
I'm not sure what you mean by "lock." If you mean, do I have to type a password again if I leave my computer unused for a few minutes, then Yes. But my display opens up exactly where I left off. This is just like my cell phone which needs a password if I haven't used it for few minutes. Entering a password on these devices is trivial (if you know the password).

If you mean, do I power them down and turn them off, then no, I don't do that.

I generally don't keep sensitive info on my phone nor on my laptop.
Yes, that's what I mean. You aren't logging out completely, just locking it. It sounds like you are using a screensaver lock based on time. You can do it manually too. On a Chromebook you hold the lock button in the upper right corner of the keyboard. On a Windows machine, you can press WindowsKey+L.

I do have Smart Lock (it is really unlock) setup on my Chromebook too so I can unlock it with my phone. The thing is, it takes just as long to unlock my phone and click the icon as typing a password really.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:15 pm
by livesoft
I don't press any buttons to lock it because it locks itself.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:16 pm
by michaeljc70
livesoft wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:15 pm
I don't press any buttons to lock it because it locks itself.
Right- it is time based on no activity.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:18 pm
by nisiprius
Yes, I have the lightest possible security. After twenty minutes of idleness, the screen begins showing vacation photos, and then changes to a password screen on a keypress or mouse move. I picked twenty minutes to allow snack breaks without it kicking in.

The main reason I did this not to protect against break-in or theft, but because that I read, correctly or incorrectly, that hackers can hack in over the internet through routers and gain remote access to the computer, and that this kind of account password does give one more hurdle they would need to vault.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:19 pm
by lazydavid
My computers all lock themselves after 10 minutes, I rarely do it manually. With Windows Hello, unlocking them is pretty frictionless.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:20 pm
by 3-20Characters
On a Mac, I set a time limit. Whatever you’re comfortable with. Anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour. I can also lock manually from the menu. I’m sure you have these options no matter the OS.

With a time limit of inactivity set, if you dash out of the house for something and don’t come back for a while, it reduces the chances of it falling into the wrong hands unprotected. If you have people in your house that you don’t know well, definitely be cautious. Someone gains access to your accounts and records—that’s a big deal.

It’s just good practice to set a decent passcode on all your computers and devices and have them lock after a certain amount of time passes. I have an 8-digit alpha-numeric passcode on everything. Not as strong as my online passwords but not easy to crack either.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:22 pm
by Doom&Gloom
If I leave the house, I turn mine off. Once I turn one on at home, it stays on (and logged in) as long as I am home unless I'm headed for bed. If I'm using my laptop away from home, it is off if I am not using it. SSDs make this so much more convenient than it used to be.

DW leaves her Chromebook on (and logged in) all the time unless she encounters a problem and needs to re-boot it. Sigh.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:23 pm
by bluebolt
My home computers lock quickly. They unlock with my Apple Watch, so it's super fast and convenient.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:28 pm
by luminous
Absolutely. I have had a laptop stolen from my home, and I’m very thankful that it was locked with a password.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:30 pm
by Bacchus01
I can’t even remember the last time I turned it off. It’s been years.

Nope. I don’t lock it.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
by whodidntante
*unlocks computer*

I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it. The main reason I lock it is that I'm required to do so at work, even if I'm just getting coffee or retrieving a printout. So it's easier to do it all the time.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:36 pm
by bac
I seldom do it manually, but both my desktop and laptop Windows 10 machines lock when they go into sleep mode after 10 or 15 minutes. I bought a USB fingerprint reader for my desktop that makes it a breeze to log back in; it works better than the built-in fingerprint reader on the high-end laptop.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 pm
by typical.investor
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
*unlocks computer*

I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it. The main reason I lock it is that I'm required to do so at work, even if I'm just getting coffee or retrieving a printout. So it's easier to do it all the time.
This is very important.

If your drive is not encrypted, it is easily readable even without logging in.

Either turn it on, or find a way to encrypt those files.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 pm
by gtd98765
Absolutely, my laptops need a password to turn on from off, and if unused for 15 minutes or so. That password is the only thing standing in front of my email (although I do have a password manager with a separate password for all financial sites). Of course it is unlikely that anyone will break in and steal my computer, but the probability is not zero. In any case, typing in the password takes about two seconds, so the delay is imperceptible. Same thing on my cell phone.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:40 pm
by 02nz
If it's a PC with Windows 10, you can set up a four-digit passcode, which I find is quick enough that it doesn't bother me. I have one PC with a fingerprint reader, so that's even faster. There are inexpensive USB fingerprint readers if your PC doesn't have one.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:42 pm
by 3-20Characters
typical.investor wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
*unlocks computer*

I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it. The main reason I lock it is that I'm required to do so at work, even if I'm just getting coffee or retrieving a printout. So it's easier to do it all the time.
This is very important.

If your drive is not encrypted, it is easily readable.

Either turn it on, or find a way to encrypt those files.
Agree. I just encrypt the drive from the get-go.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:42 pm
by bloom2708
Both our laptops use Face ID to log on (Windows Hello, not supported on older laptops).

They lock when you Sleep or leave them for 5 minutes.

Easy to set them to lock after a few minutes.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:43 pm
by Rowan Oak
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
*unlocks computer*

I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it. The main reason I lock it is that I'm required to do so at work, even if I'm just getting coffee or retrieving a printout. So it's easier to do it all the time.
+1

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:47 pm
by indexfundfan
It's a habit I have from work. Every time I leave my desk, I press WIN + L to lock the screen.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:50 pm
by zmdh2609
Locking is a must. Always use but locker encryptions and make sure to save recovery keys in a secure location

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:09 pm
by calmaniac
Yes, I have my laptop set to autolock after 5 minutes. I also wear seat belts, even though I have yet to have ever needed them. :happy

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:23 pm
by jhfenton
indexfundfan wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:47 pm
It's a habit I have from work. Every time I leave my desk, I press WIN + L to lock the screen.
I have that habit at work too. At home, I don't manually lock my Mac, but I do have it lock after 15 minutes of inactivity. I seldom have to enter my password, though, because it is also set to unlock automatically if my Apple Watch is unlocked on my wrist and in close proximity to my Mac. (My Watch taps me on my wrist and shows an unlocking icon when it does so, so it doesn't let anyone access the Mac surreptitiously.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:39 pm
by KSOC
We have laptops and they are password protected, plus whenever we leave the house we put all electronics away. We have nothing of value in our house anyone could smash and grab while the alarm is blaring.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:51 pm
by fourwheelcycle
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it.
+1 We do the same with our computers.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:52 pm
by tibbitts
Mine are set to lock after a while. I have a few sensitive files that are encrypted but I have only recently had a computer I thought was fast enough to not have the encryption slow the computer down.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:09 pm
by whodidntante
tibbitts wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:52 pm
Mine are set to lock after a while. I have a few sensitive files that are encrypted but I have only recently had a computer I thought was fast enough to not have the encryption slow the computer down.
Some disks support encryption in hardware so the CPU doesn't have to do it.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:31 pm
by squirm
lazydavid wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:19 pm
My computers all lock themselves after 10 minutes, I rarely do it manually. With Windows Hello, unlocking them is pretty frictionless.
Agree, Windows Hello is great. My Surface Book uses an IR camera and I'm logged in, in seconds.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:54 pm
by southerndoc
I do some consulting work for, well, I'll just leave it as sensitive consulting work.

The laptop has a FIPS fingerprint reader on it. Before it asks for your password, I have to insert a smart card. I am required to keep it secured in a safe when not using it, and I am strictly forbidden from using it for anything other than work related to my contracted position. I cannot leave it unattended ever when outside of my home. If I have it with me and stop at the grocery store, the laptop must go into the grocery store with me.

For my personal computers and main work laptop, I use Apple's TouchID except my iMac. It's password protected.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:21 pm
by penumbra
I’m the second responder who’s had my laptop (my wife’s also) stolen from my home. Both were shut down since we were on vacation, and both our current Mac’s also set to time out, requiring a password. Would never leave them without requiring password.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:25 pm
by whodidntante
southerndoc wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:54 pm
I do some consulting work for, well, I'll just leave it as sensitive consulting work.
I'll just read the Snowden report to find out. :happy

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:00 am
by Starfish
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:55 pm
I know that it is unlikely that someone will break in and steal my 2 laptops (1 Chromebook, 1 Windows). However, I wonder how bad the effects would/could be if they do. I don't lock them because I jump on and off of them at least 20 times a day and it is a hassle to unlock them. I have Quicken (with all my financial accounts/account numbers), tax returns and other normal records (copies of marriage certificate, birth certificate, SSN card, passports,etc.) on the laptops.

I am wondering if people lock their computers all the time when not using them at home or use some other method to avoid theft of data or just don't worry about it. I make a concerted effort to lock them when traveling and leaving them in a hotel room or something like that.
I don't know about chrome but it is useless in windows if one gets physical access to the HDD.
Unless you encrypt the whole thing.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:06 am
by Starfish
indexfundfan wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:47 pm
It's a habit I have from work. Every time I leave my desk, I press WIN + L to lock the screen.
Most people don't lock computers at my work and common pranks we used to do is set some horrible picture as desktop background (a favorite one was a crocodile with somebody's arm in its mouth) or writing resignation emails to the boss.
Good times.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:36 am
by permport
I lock my computers, yes. However, it's mostly so that nobody can see what I'm doing or mess with important documents.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:47 am
by HawkeyePierce
I always lock mine. I can type my very long password in about two seconds, though my latest laptop has Touch ID so I no longer even need to do that.

Lock your computer and use full disk encryption. Always.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:46 am
by Freefun
bluebolt wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:23 pm
My home computers lock quickly. They unlock with my Apple Watch, so it's super fast and convenient.
+1

I have apple devices e.g. MacBooks or iMac. They lock themselves and automatically unlock when I approach wearing my Apple Watch. I addition I use apple FileVault so if someone steals the entire device all my data is encrypted.

I don’t think things can be any easier.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:33 am
by gtd98765
Starfish wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:00 am

I don't know about chrome but it is useless in windows if one gets physical access to the HDD.
Unless you encrypt the whole thing.
Encrypting a Windows hard disk, unless you spring an extra $100 for Win 10 Pro, is non-trivial. I would not want to discourage people from taking important basic security measures like using a password by saying it's worthless unless you encrypt.

You have to look at the real threat. Your basic burglar in 99% of the cases is not going to have the interest or skills to remove your HDD and try to see if there is anything interesting there. If you have any reason to think that you personally are a target of the KGB or a sophisticated crime syndicate, yes you should figure out how to encrypt your hard drive. But for most people who are burgled, the burglar does not know or care who you are -- you are just the house with the breakable window in the back.

Using an account password is an easy way to put another barrier in place against a lucky discovery on a stolen computer, and will deter 99% of crooks. Remember the story of running away from the bear - you don't have to outrun the bear, just the other guy running away. Similarly, in most cases you don't have to have the most unbreakable computer - just one that is less breakable than your neighbor's.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 am
by SlowMovingInvestor
I don't think you need sophisticated tools to bypass password protection --- all you need is the ability to boot off a USB drive or set boot order. That can be disabled in most PCs if you want to be more secure.

Slightly off topic, but how does one securely destroy old desktop disks physically that have been removed from a computer (without putting them back in a chassis and running a program on them) ? I know one can destroy them oneself, by opening them and running a drill through the platters, but I wanted to know if there is a chain/company that'll run them through an e-shredder.

There are plenty of services that'll do this for commercial sites, but I don't know if there's say a storefront you can take these disks to, and see them destroyed physically in front of you.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:05 am
by 3-20Characters
SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 am
I don't think you need sophisticated tools to bypass password protection --- all you need is the ability to boot off a USB drive or set boot order. That can be disabled in most PCs if you want to be more secure.

Slightly off topic, but how does one securely destroy old desktop disks physically that have been removed from a computer (without putting them back in a chassis and running a program on them) ? I know one can destroy them oneself, by opening them and running a drill through the platters, but I wanted to know if there is a chain/company that'll run them through an e-shredder.

There are plenty of services that'll do this for commercial sites, but I don't know if there's say a storefront you can take these disks to, and see them destroyed physically in front of you.
I’ve been using personal computers since the early 80s and whenever a computer died, I removed the HD and threw it into a box. We downsized 5 years ago and I got rid all the HDs at a local shredding event sponsored by the town/local biz. They had a truck on site and I saw them shred the paper but I don’t recall what they did with the HDs (probably put them in a container to shred at facility). I suppose there’s an element of risk doing this but probably no more than paying a company to do it because essentially, that’s what this company did, only for free this particular day. Also, I got free doughnuts so that counts for something. I see such events from time to time in the local paper but I have only paper to shred at this time and I can get that shredded for free the the local copy center every Friday.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:16 am
by gtd98765
SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 am
I don't think you need sophisticated tools to bypass password protection --- all you need is the ability to boot off a USB drive or set boot order. That can be disabled in most PCs if you want to be more secure.
How many burglars know how to do that? If they are really good computer people, they can make more money doing computer stuff than robbing homes. Again, you have to balance your mitigations with the threat you face. TV shows have got us all thinking that spies and computer thieves are around every corner and are after us personally, when in 99% of situations that is not true.

Regarding computer crime, we are far more at risk of having our financial accounts hacked over the internet because we use weak passwords. This hacking occurs from Russia or some other country and requires no physical access to your computer.

Again, I think setting up an account password on Windows is a straightforward, easy mitigation that would go a long way to protect an average person's computer in the unlikely event it is stolen.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:21 am
by JPH
typical.investor wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
*unlocks computer*

I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it. The main reason I lock it is that I'm required to do so at work, even if I'm just getting coffee or retrieving a printout. So it's easier to do it all the time.
This is very important.

If your drive is not encrypted, it is easily readable even without logging in.

Either turn it on, or find a way to encrypt those files.
Can you recommend software to encrypt a hard drive?

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:22 am
by 3-20Characters
gtd98765 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:16 am
SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 am
I don't think you need sophisticated tools to bypass password protection --- all you need is the ability to boot off a USB drive or set boot order. That can be disabled in most PCs if you want to be more secure.
How many burglars know how to do that? If they are really good computer people, they can make more money doing computer stuff than robbing homes. Again, you have to balance your mitigations with the threat you face. TV shows have got us all thinking that spies and computer thieves are around every corner and are after us personally, when in 99% of situations that is not true.

Regarding computer crime, we are far more at risk of having our financial accounts hacked over the internet because we use weak passwords. This hacking occurs from Russia or some other country and requires no physical access to your computer.

Again, I think setting up an account password on Windows is a straightforward, easy mitigation that would go a long way to protect an average person's computer in the unlikely event it is stolen.
I see both sides of the argument. I don’t think there’s much risk (compared to other risks) that someone who breaks in will bother with paperwork and looking through computer files—much less go to great lengths to do so. OTOH, a snatched computer could find itself anywhere after the robbery and I’m not sure I like that idea. I used to worry about this a little bit (very little) when Macs had FileVault as an option but my hardware was not up to snuff to make it useful. It’s a no brainer nowadays to default to FileVault and add a strong passcode. What I certainly don’t envision or worry about is a burglar using Israeli level cracking tools to get at my data.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:27 am
by DecumulatorDoc
I did not lock my laptops until I read the posts on this thread. I do now! Thanks Bogleheads. :beer

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:42 am
by anon_investor
We password lock our computers for sure, especially since they're laptops. When I was in school in a not that great area, I actually had a physical notebook cable lock on my computer to my desk...

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:56 am
by Ice-9
I realize I'm probably not the norm.

I only access financial or other sensitive accounts via:
* encrypted Linux virtual machine
or, more recent option added:
* Chromebook login specifically for financial accounts

My LastPass is set up only in these two places. On my Mac, which otherwise is not set to lock, I shut down the virtual machine when I'm done doing financial stuff. Takes less than a minute to start back up when I need it. On the Chromebook, I log out of the financial login when I'm done. If I'm using the other login for youtube videos or whatever, sometimes I don't bother logging out, but I always log out of the financial login.

Sensitive files are kept in Veracrypt containers, which are in cloud folders so they can be accessed remotely if needed, and backed up by Backblaze.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:24 am
by chesley
JPH wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:21 am
typical.investor wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:34 pm
*unlocks computer*

I use full disk encryption on every drive, including removable drives. And I lock the computer when I'm not physically sitting at it. The main reason I lock it is that I'm required to do so at work, even if I'm just getting coffee or retrieving a printout. So it's easier to do it all the time.
This is very important.

If your drive is not encrypted, it is easily readable even without logging in.

Either turn it on, or find a way to encrypt those files.
Can you recommend software to encrypt a hard drive?
On Windows 10, you can use BitLocker with Enterprise, Pro, or Education editions. For most with Windows 10 Home, you can use a 3rd party encryption.

I don't encrypt the whole drive. I did this at work but at home I encrypt my financials folders and use a password manager to keep passwords.

I don't use online password managers. Password Safe is very secure and stores passwords locally. The same Yubikey that I use with 2 factor Vanguard logon works with Password Safe For encryption I use VeraCrypt. It is open source/free and straightforward to create a virtual drive that hold folders with financial and sensitive documents.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:27 am
by RollTide31457
Yes. Lock every device when it is not within line of sight.

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:30 am
by tim1999
I've always locked it since an ex-girlfriend years ago snooped around on my non-password protected desktop computer while I wasn't home, and found my stash of "adult entertainment" files.