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Don't Forget To Lock Your Computer


Change desktop wallpaper to rival sports team, which is bound to annoy them.

My pastor from years back had a Coke classic theme on his computer. I goated his computer to display a Pepsi theme. He was not amused.

Another time, I changed his screen saver to display my picture, just so he would know. Then I left. Another friend saw what I had done, opened my picture in paint, edited it so it looked like I was sticking out my tongue, and set a screen saver password. Yes, the goater got goated.

Similarly, I changed the associate pastor’s screen saver to display the picture of one of the young ladies who worked in the office (no password). The AP was single. She happened to be talking to him the first time it flicked on. She gave him a quizzical look, he looked, blushed and said it must have been me. Her response was, “So, you’re saying I’m not a catch?”


Ahh, yes. I miss those days. I work in advertising, so people used to get very creative with what they sent out. Lots of “I like stickers and unicorns” type messages.

Apparently not enough people learned their lesson about locking their stations, though, and eventually the only solution was for management to take away access the whole-office distribution list. :frowning:


At my last job we called this “noiding” (after the Pizza Hut/Domino’s guy from the ad campaign back in the day).

What many of you are missing is this is a tactic to embarrass people into remembering to lock their computers. If it is an official policy, it won’t be against policy, will it? The point isn’t that your co-workers are nefarious (though some are) but if your office is open to people, any of them could get information off of your computer, and many people do have information that could be useful in the “wrong hands”.

I have worked in multiple offices that have had people gain access to the office, during office hours, and stolen items and been gone before it was discovered. Now imagine that what was stolen wasn’t a purse or wallet, but accounting information or passwords…


CAA said:
"… In a public company, modifying another employee’s computer without his consent is usually a serious security violation that can get you fired. …

Reread your company’s policies on this kind of stuff before adopting any of these ideas."

Yes, yes indeed. Please do read your company’s policies on security. For somewhere as strict as you make it sound, I would be quite shocked if there wasn’t something in there about users locking their workstations. Most companies require that you lock your computer, many force it with a short screensaver time-out that’s password protected.


GNOME keyboard shortcut for locking your desktop:



my favorite trick is to turn off their spacebar (or the key of your choice)… it’s a quick little reghack, especially if you’ve got the .reg file prepared — info @ http://www.usnetizen.com/fix_capslock.html

you can use these powers for good as well on your own computer, for example i’ve turned off my CAPSLOCK and insert keys…


insert keys


and by CTRL+SHIFT+L, of course, I meant CTRL+ALT+L.


If you really want computer user security principles drilled in to you, work for the DoD for a while. Every time I stand up from my computer I lock it out of pure habit. If you don’t, you are violating the use agreement and subject to loss of computer privileges, which would ultimately lead to untimely termination.


While some commenters here are shocked at this infantile behavior, I think that there are environments where this is a good idea.

I work at a University. Our building is open to the public, and will remain that way. Non-employees can and do enter our building. Laptops have been stolen when people forget to lock the door to their office.

Most people around me are very good about closing the door to their office when they leave, but a few are not. Polite reminders are not always successful at convincing them to close their office. Sometimes a mild prank is a good way of reminding someone of their vulnerability.

I prefer very mild pranks. For instance, on Unix-type computers I like to edit their login so that it prints out a message when they login. Harmless and easy to remove (for the folks that are here) but a good reminder.

A mild prank is better than a stolen laptop.


See the Jargon File entry under “baggy pantsing”.

Security, shmecurity, goating is FUN! Someone gets goated every day around here.

This morning’s: “I wish procreating was as simple as matrix multiplication.”


At my school, all of the teachers are given complete local administrator access. They also have complete access to all of our (the students’) private information - grades, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, some health information and I’m not even sure what else. Despite this, they often leave their computers unlocked for extended periods of time, with the student information software wide open. It’s a miracle no students have changed their own grades yet. I don’t understand why IT restricts the students so much that we can’t even change the screen resolution (yes, really) but can’t be bothered to implement a policy to require password protected screensavers.


At Research in Motion, if someone leaves his computer unlocked, he often finds that he’s subsequently offered to purchase a box of donuts for his entire team. (Of course, regardless of whether or not he actually produced the e-mail, he’s now responsible for the team’s donut coverage.)

Back at SFU, we called it “Baggy Pantsing”, and it usually ended up with an e-mail to everyone about the very baggy condition of one’s pants. (I think the terminology was lifted from the Jargon File)


Since I work with sensitive data, we are all required to lock the computer if we get up from our desk. If you forget to do this, the computer locks automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity. That’s goo in theory, but when you are staring at the screen trying to figure out why an algorithm isn’t working and the computer locks on you it really gets frustrating.

If we happen to forget and walk away and one of the security guys comes by, they will leave a big SECURITY VIOLATION message in a Notepad window on your desktop. It’s a joke to some, but I think they might actually log when that happens. Just building the case for when the axe starts swinging…



At my last job, the tradition was to use an unlocked workstation to send an email to the group saying something like, “You know, I really love you guys. I really do.”

Obviously, variations occur–I once “got” the most avid gamer in the group by “offering” his new Xbox 360 for “$100 (or best offer)” :slight_smile:


My favorite:

Email “I’m not wearing any pants”.


Pssst… “these two” point at the same URL as eachother.


Back in college, if you walked away from the NeXT terminal without logging out, a friend of mine was fond of sending an email to yourself with the following:

“Name, this is you from some odd year. Whatever you do, don’t talk to the monkey!”


I really really don’t understand this. I’ve never worked anyplace where stunts like this were pulled. I don’t think I would want to.

Are you guys still in Junior High or what?


In the early 90s when I administered the CS labs at Old Dominion University, inserting “logout” as the first line in .login was an effective goating technique. We only ever used it on other staff members who knew better.