How to Hide and Protect your Programs & Files on a Computer at Work
Surfing the Internet at work, logging onto Facebook, checking emails, exchanging IMs--we're not supposed to be doing these things but we all do it anyway. With new programs and websites popping up every single day, friends updating blogs and former highschool sweethearts finding you on Facebook, the urge to surf is irresistable. But it's not cheating unless you get caught, right? Here's a few possible ways to keep that from happening.
The Stealth Switch is a foot switch that plugs into any available USB port and hides in the shadows underneath your desk. The reason for the Stealth Switch is that you're conducting shady business and you know it. Whether you're playing a game when you should be studying or checking your email when you should be working, the Stealth Switch can be programmed to instantly close the windows you have open with just a tap the toe. It can be customized to close all windows, certain specified windows or just the active window, as well as instantaneously mute sound and hide desktop icons. Immediately close games and IM sessions while still leaving important work documents open.
Aether Antiboss is a shareware program (it's free to try, $25.00 to buy) that lets you mark software as hidden and remain invisible while you are using it. Drag and drop the folders you want to hide to the Aether Aether window and poof! Customizable hot keys allow you to toggle between the hidden program and the standard desktop. Programs that you install onto your computer and hide in Aether will be undetectable to anyone else who logs on to your PC.
AxCrypt File Encryption
If you don't have Word Perfect (the only program I know of that offers built-in password protection on all documents) AxCrypt is an easy to use program that encrypts files on a case by case basis. It allows you to choose which files to protect and then lets you set a password for each of them. If someone else tries to open the document, they will be prompted for the password and without it the file will not be shown.
Max Folder Secure
Max Folder Secure is a free security tool that does it all. It protects information from prying eyes by locking your files behind a password you choose. It can also protect entire programs by making them either password-protected, invisible, inaccessible or accessible just in read-only mode. This prevents third parties from either viewing, changing or deleting your files.
If you're interested in hiding your IP address, IP Changer is one option. According to the website, the IP Changer is basically like a Caller ID for your computer. It changes your IP address as you surf the web to ensure your privacy and prevent hackers from breaking into your system, accessing your information and determining your location. IP Changer allows you to surf anonymously and absolutely does NOT condone using the program for illegal gain.
As a disclaimer, there is a limit to the amount of privacy you can secure at your place of employment. Most average-sized companies have surveillance and hardcore IT techs who can and will annihilate any barriers you attempt to construct. If you're worried about the repercussions of getting caught, it's best to avoid it in the first place. Keep in mind that you are at work, not at home, and while it's common to want to use the workplace computer for emailing or blog updating, you may want to restrain from shopping for lingerie or other more disreputable activities.