Security Slogans: Ctrl-Alt-Del when you leave your seat

Few of us are probably lucky enough to invent something as contagious as a Security-Tubby or a Barney character. Instead, we are stuck with the task of creating “fun” posters with slogans.

One of my more successful ones so far has been based on the saying “Ctrl-Alt-Del when you leave your seat”.

People tell me that no matter how rediculous they might find security slogans at first, eventually this one grows on them and they can’t help but sing it aloud when they leave the office. You know you have won over your users when they start to beg for more effective ways to comply with the “Ctrl-Alt-Del song”.

I usually give them a tip like the following:

Although a screen lock button is already provided in most X distros, including Linux, Windows folks are usually in need of a shortcut. They’re simple to create with the following command:

%windir%\system32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

Then change the icon to something that looks like a “lock”. The orange key seems most popular among XP users (consistency helps the helpdesk) and can be found in the following library:


Lock Workstation Icon

Just put the button wherever convenient (desktop, taskbar, start, etc.) Although the setup is easily scripted and deployed over the network, sometimes it is best to hand it out to all your users like a present during the holiday season — “Security wishes you a safe and secure holiday. We hope you enjoy this new button.”

And believe it or not, people who start using this button will still say “hey, I did the Ctrl-Alt-Del thing, go check my screen”, even though they no longer are touching the keyboard when they step away. Ah, the power of security slogans.

loose lipsUnfortunately not all slogans are as catchy. Messages from security easily get lost in the sea of information users have to process every day and most of the other material they hear is so polished that phrases like “don’t get hooked by phishers” tend to blend right into the wallpaper. Thus, I believe the world of security would be far better off if more wordsmiths and poets were employed to craft our message, perhaps even at the state or federal level. Nothing too fancy would be necessary as the slogans that always seem to do best are the simple ones — “loose lips might sink ships”.

5 thoughts on “Security Slogans: Ctrl-Alt-Del when you leave your seat”

  1. I have used the Security Slogan. Found it quite impressive.
    Best regards.

    Maj. Asif

  2. I love to investigate and research “stuff” and “things.” In that regard, In this site Davi Ottenheimer takes credit for “creating “fun” posters with slogans.” Ottenheimer adds, that “one of my more successful ones so far has been on the saying “Ctrl-Alt-Del when you leave your seat”. I cannot conclude from his statement whether he invented the phrase or pioneered its use in a poster. Can someone provide insight?

  3. I have learned from Davi Ottenheimer that he created the Security Awareness saying, “Ctrl-Alt-Del when you leave your seat” in 2005, on his own and independent of anyone else, and that it was published with a copyright notice on this blog on January 12, 2006. Thank you Davi

  4. The “winning slogan” for a recent Security Awareness Slogan Contest at a high profile employer was: “Control, Alt, Delete Before You Leave Your Seat!” Awareness products featuring the winning slogan will be used throughout the coming year!

  5. Hi TJ, thank you for your comments. I’ve confirmed the U.S. TSA has adopted my slogan as their winning entry. Very exciting! The bad news, as you indicated, is that someone else has claimed it as their own. The good news is the slogan is educating people and working as it was intended.

    My more recent security slogan is related to the increasing popularity of Apple among government agencies. The iOS keyboard shortcut to lock the desktop is Ctrl-Shift-Eject.

    Can you guess the rhyme?

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