Here’s the 1 security step you can’t afford to skip on Windows PC or Mac

Mar 26, 2023, 5:00 AM

(Pexels Photo)...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to get your money and info, and your phone has one vulnerability you probably never considered.

Stop making this simple and dangerous mistake.

Even your printer could serve as a way in for hackers. Here are the security steps you probably didn’t know you should take.

Stepping away from your computer creates an opportunity for hackers, crooks, or simply nosy people with nothing better to do than snoop. Here’s how to prevent them from getting a look at what you’re doing.

Protect your Windows PC

You probably lock your phone when you put it in your pocket without thinking about it, but what about your computer? The same principle applies — always lock your device.

Even if you trust the people around you, it doesn’t take more than a passing glance for someone to cause some serious damage. That’s especially true if you work from home and have sensitive business info on your computer.

Here are some ways to lock your Windows PC:

● Hit Windows + L to lock your computer in just one step.
● Press Ctrl + Alt + Del, then select the Lock option.

Make it easier on yourself and set your computer to lock automatically after a set amount of inactivity. On a Windows machine:

● Open Settings and go to Personalization, then select Lock Screen.
● Click Screen saver settings and select any option (except None) from the Screen saver dropdown menu.
● Set a time for Windows to wait before locking. A few minutes should be fine.
● Check the box for On resume, display logon screen then hit OK.
● Click the Start button, then select your user icon and hit Lock.

You can also set your PC to lock automatically when you step away from it. Windows uses devices paired with your PC via Bluetooth to help detect when you’re away. Pretty neat.

First, you need to pair your device. Your phone is a good choice since you will likely take it when you get up. Find instructions for pairing any device to Windows 10 here and Windows 11 here.

With your phone paired to your computer, here’s how to set your computer to lock when it senses your phone has moved away:

● Select Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options.
● Select Dynamic lock, then select the Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you’re away check box.
● Take your phone with you when you move away from your PC, and it will automatically lock a minute or so after you’re out of Bluetooth range. Note that Bluetooth range can vary. Do a test run to find the distance where your computer locks.

There’s a lot built into your computer’s settings to keep you safe — if you know where to look. Here are some essentials for Windows PCs and Macs.

Lock down your Mac

Use a Mac? Here are some of the different ways to lock your screen.

● Choose Apple menu > Lock Screen.
● Press Touch ID if it’s available on your Mac or Magic Keyboard.
● Press the Lock Screen button if it’s available on your Magic Keyboard.
● Use hot corners, which let you take action when moving your mouse pointer to the corner of the screen:

– Choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Desktop & Dock.
– Click Hot Corners and click the pop-up menu for any corner and choose Lock Screen.
– Click Done. When you move your pointer to that corner, your screen will lock.

To set your computer to lock after a set amount of inactivity automatically:

● Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
● Click Desktop & Screen Save > Screen Saver.
● Use the slider to choose a time.
● Click Show All to go back to the main System Preferences window.
● Click Security, then click Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver.
● Close the System Preferences window.

Here’s how to set your Mac to log out when not in use:

● Choose Apple menu > System Settings.
● Click Privacy & Security > Advanced.
● Turn on Log out automatically after inactivity.
● Click the Log out after pop-up menu, then choose the time before you’re automatically logged out.

What about laptops?

Your laptop may automatically lock when you close the lid, but you should get into the habit of locking it first. You may not push the lid all the way down, and locking your computer every time you step away is good practice, so make it a habit.

Portable temptation

You don’t leave your phone unattended, right? Anyone walking by could slip it into their pocket. I know this is obvious, but even a locked phone is still a liability to your privacy and security.

The same goes for laptops and tablets. If you’re at a coffee shop, it’s not the same as at work. Don’t leave them unattended! Packing up your computer to run to the bathroom might be annoying, but it’s worth it.

The same applies to flash drives. You can encrypt them, but the temptation for a crook to take yours or you losing it is too great.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Kim Komando

Home surveillance on the walls....

Kim Komando

The story about when a SWAT team stormed my house

Discover a chilling real-life account of a home invasion thwarted by Phoenix SWAT and learn how to protect your home from similar threats with advanced security measures.

16 hours ago

Image of a voice assistant....

Kim Komando

7 things you should never ask Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant

As technology evolves, so should our knowledge of it. Here are seven things you should NEVER ask your smart assistant!

7 days ago

Person upset with phone....

Kim Komando

Here are the signs that you need a new phone, like, now

As time goes on, the battery level on your phone will drop. Here are the signs you should know that hint you need a new phone ASAP.

8 days ago

Woman sitting at her computer....

Kim Komando

Here are tech life upgrades smarter than the stuff on TikTok

This story delves into the pitfalls of relying solely on online guidance, particularly in the realm of finance and technology, where clickbait and hype often overshadow genuine insight.

14 days ago

Anything connected is a hacker target, and you better believe that includes all the Internet gadget...

Kim Komando

Tech security to-do: Lock down your smart stuff before it can be hacked

Anything connected is a hacker target, and you better believe that includes all the Internet of Things gadgets in your home.

15 days ago

Family siting on couch....

Kim Komando

Unlocking online safety: The secret text code every family needs

For those who don't have one yet, here's a guide to a secret text code that every family needs to be using these days.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Here’s the 1 security step you can’t afford to skip on Windows PC or Mac