Use This USB Drive Trick to Secure Your Laptop in Public (or Anywhere Else)

Dan Price 26-09-2017

Did you know you can use a USB stick to secure your computer 3 Tools for Turning Your USB Drive Into a Secure Unlock Key for Your PC Yes, it's possible: you can turn your USB flash drive into a physical key that locks and unlocks your computer. Read More when you’re in public?


Obviously, it can’t stop someone picking up your machine and walking away with it (unless the USB stick is made of lead), but it can stop prying eyes from having a quick look at your personal documents while you’re stood up ordering your next iced frappe-latte-mocha-chino.

Sounds great, but how can you make this magic happen? It’s all thanks to a wonderful little app called Predator.

The Predator app lets you lock and unlock your PC by removing or inserting a USB flash drive. You can use any USB stick, so you don’t have to remember to take the same one with you every time you leave the house. As long as you have a USB stick on your person, it will work.

The app works by generating a security code and placing it on the USB stick. Every few seconds, it checks to see whether the code — and by extension, the stick — is still present.

If it’s not present, the app prompts you for a password. Entering an incorrect password, or no password for 20 seconds, will cause Predator to deny access to the machine and potentially sound an alarm, depending on your settings.


When the USB stick is removed, both the keyboard and mouse are disabled, and the screen darkens.

Predator will also let you specify certain times of day when different people can use your machine, and will even give them all unique USB codes on their own sticks to let them log in. This is perfect for managing how long kids can spend The Best Tools for Limiting Your Kids Online Screen Time The time kids spend online is just as important as what they see. These are the best tools for limiting your child’s screen time on the internet and their mobile device. Read More  in front of a computer.

Best of all, if you have Predator installed on several computers (e.g. at home and in the office), you only need to have one USB stick. All the machines connect to your account will recognize it.

Oh, and don’t worry about losing the stick. You can set a master password to override the software.

A home license costs a one-time fee of $10.

Have you used Predator? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Image Credit: Studio ART via Shutterstock

Related topics: Computer Privacy, Computer Security, USB Drive.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. csp
    July 17, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    All operating systems including Windows, Bsd, or linux have a screen/computer lock function and I have used this feature on all three operating systems. Outside of this, I don't know what type of operating system you might use on a laptop in a cafe. I cannot speak for MAC since I haven't used one in years, but since it is Bsd at it's core I imagine it also has this security feature. I do not know of any advantage of the usb drive way of locking it over the built in feature in most operating systems.

  2. Neil Atkinson
    October 2, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I downloaded the zip file and opened it. Symantec immediately returned the notice that a part of the expanded files was not safe and had been automatically deleted. The notice was "not safe", not "malicious".

  3. Dan Ferraro
    October 2, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Or on a Windows Laptop you can press window button +L and lock the system until you come back

    Unix systems Ctl+ALT+L

  4. Herb Weiner
    October 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Not every laptop runs windows.

    • SHE GEEK
      October 4, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Then the app is probably useless to you. Mean spirited person.

      • Paul Lewis
        October 5, 2017 at 5:57 pm