If you leave your PC unattended and running in a public area, how do you keep people from using it? You have several options, but one of the easiest we've tried is Predator Free. This free security tool locks and unlocks your PC when you remove or insert a USB drive. When your thumbdrive is removed, Predator locks your PC and darkens your screen if anyone tried to use it without entering the password. You can enable passwords for every operation or just once, which adds convenience if you're often away from your desk. It also logs activity and can sound an optional alarm. If you lose your USB drive or don't have it handy, you can still unlock your PC with your password.
Predator Free is available in separate downloads for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows. To set up the program, you need to create a password and a security key, but it's easy to do. When Predator's monitoring is active, it places an icon in the system tray that lets users Pause or Edit the program, view log files, and access the Preferences, which include password and encryption key tools, alarm options, and Advanced options, including the ability to enable Twitter-based logging. Predator is very easy to use. We removed our USB drive using the Safely Remove Hardware function in Windows, automatically activating the security key in the set time. We started to use the PC, but the screen went completely blank in seconds. Reinserting the USB drive restored our normal functions.
Some of the program's Advanced options are disabled in the free version, such as the splash screen option and Task Manager. But all the essentials are there, plus some useful extras, such as the ability to use your own sound file for an alarm. For office workers who must leave their PCs on but want to limit access, for students in dorms, for families, or for anyone who wants to restrict unattended access to a running PC, try Predator Free.
With Predator, you can lock and unlock your PC by simply removing or inserting a USB flash drive. You can use any USB stick, the program will generate a security code and place it on the device to identify it as the key. It will then check every few seconds if the drive is still inserted and if it is not, the program will lock your computer. If anyone attempts to access your PC while the USB stick is removed, he will be prompted for a password and, if the correct password is not entered within 20 seconds, an alarm will sound and access is denied. Optionally, Predator will take a picture with your webcam and email it to you. Predator has a built-in scheduler where you define the times of day when each user may use the computer. You can make specific rules for each user and each day of the week. Out of authorized periods you can either lock the desktop, logoff the user or shutdown the computer. PREDATOR logs the access attempt and notifies you the next time you unlock your PC. Unlocking your computer is as simple as inserting the USB key drive, if you happen to lose your USB stick, you can unlock your computer with a password that you specify during setup. Furthermore, Predator frequently changes the security codes recorded on your USB drive, so even if an intruder manages to copy your stick, this copy will not work because the codes on your own stick will have changed in the meantime.
What's new in this version:
- If there are several user accounts in your computer, now you can define different Predator settings for each user.
- When several user sessions are opened simultaneously Predator protects each of them with its own settings.
- Snapshots, email messaging, ftp are easier to configure: new input fields have been added to the Preferences window.
- A built-in scheduler limits the users sessions to the times of day you have selected in a weekly calendar.
- You can define custom co... See all new features »