ITS at CBU offers tips to stay cyber secure when working remotely
Riverside, Calif. (April 9, 2020) – Cyber security has become increasingly important due to social distancing measures being implemented nationwide in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With the shift to remote instruction for students and most staff and faculty members working from home, the California Baptist University Information Technology Services is helping ensure that individuals are aware of helpful security measures to implement at home.
Dr. Tran Hong, associate vice president of technology, said hackers are not taking any time off during this pandemic.
“It is important to continue awareness of cyber security because bad actors will take advantage of this challenging time to exploit human and technology vulnerabilities,” Hong said. He listed several practical tips to observe while checking email remotely.
- Continue to be vigilant and skeptical of any emails that ask the user to click on a link or any emails that ask for personal information such as user ID or password.
- Hover the mouse cursor over a URL/link to see where it really points to but do not click on it.
- Check/double check the email address of the originator as it may be meant to deceive.
- Outlook has the ability to preview a message/attachment instead of opening it.
- Never open an unexpected or seemingly suspicious attachment.
- Reach out to the originator to confirm/verify the email.
- Trust your intuition and suspicion.
- Avoid clicking on “Unsubscribe” – mark it as SPAM instead
CBU will never ask students and employees for personal information via email. When in doubt, email firstname.lastname@example.org, Hong added.
When using a home computer to access campus resources, other tips include:
- Ensure the computer is protected with antivirus/antimalware software.
- Ensure the Windows or Mac operating system has the latest security patches.
- Update the latest Firefox/Chrome browser.
- Practice good browsing habits and avoid clicking on strange links or browsing odd sites.
- Avoid downloading confidential data or personal identifiable information data to your home computer. If it is needed as a course of daily work, be sure to delete immediately after completion of task.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is used to connect remote computers to the campus environment. At CBU, VPN is only issued to staff or faculty member users who have a campus-issued laptop and is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Caution must be taken while on VPN as it is an open door to the campus network. When accessing the CBU Virtual Private Network (VPN) remember that the university’s network appropriate use policy still applies.
There are other safe and secure tools that can be used in place of VPN. If the purpose is to access, share and collaborate on documents, then Box.com can be used. For web collaboration and video/voice conferencing, use WebEx Meeting.
Additionally, activating multifactor authentication (MFA or sometimes referred to as 2-factor authentication) for accessing private information is a recommended practice. MFA can apply to all personal emails such as Yahoo or Gmail. MFA is also being rolled out at CBU for email and related logins. MFA along with complex passwords can significantly help improve security.
Other simple and effective tips for employees and students include:
- Avoid using public wireless
- Do not insert or use unknown USB drives in your computer
- Turn off Bluetooth in public settings
- Use HTTPS – look for the lock icon next the URL address bar
- Backup your personal data in the cloud or flash-drive
- Use strong passwords (phrases) and MFA
Here is a CBU video related to safeguarding personal identifiable information.