XKCD cartoon reminds users to log out for better security

Filed Under: Cryptography, Data loss, Featured, Privacy

It's disturbing just how many people seem to leave their computers permanently logged in to online services.

Yes, an admin password can prevent a passer-by from installing a keylogger on your computer without your knowledge, but just *what* have you left your computer logged into from its desktop browser?

Sometimes an XKCD cartoon can tell it better than words.

XKCD cartoon

The moral? Remember to log out.

And if you want to do an even better job of keeping your information secure, use some kind of full disk encryption.

If your computer's hard disk isn't fully encrypted, a determined thief might be able to access your data after stealing the device, whether or not the computer is logged in or not.


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4 Responses to XKCD cartoon reminds users to log out for better security

  1. Great article. Short, sweet, and to the point.d

  2. Brad · 898 days ago

    And of course, the XKCD comics usually have an associated extra punch line that show up if you hover over the comic on the XKCD site. For this one, it says:
    "Before you say anything, no, I know not to leave my computer sitting out logged in to all my accounts. I have it set up so after a few minutes of inactivity it automatically switches to my brother's."

  3. Jake · 898 days ago

    You should emphasize how easy it is to get into a machine once a thief or other type of miscreant has a physical access. My cousin followed the instructions from a YouTube video and was able to recover access to the admin and user accounts of a laptop. There are tools that make it a piece of cake these days.

    • John · 897 days ago

      Unless the hard drive is encrypted. It is great to see FDE included in Windows, MacOSX and Ubuntu, as well as in Android and iOS (D for Device instead of Drive)!

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley