Remote Access Security

remote access vigilance

We know that keeping our distance from others — specifically six feet or more — can protect us from becoming ill. But in our new COVID-19 reality, “keeping your distance,” might actually make you more vulnerable to a different kind of problem: cyber attacks while learning and working remotely.

As SDSU moves to hybrid and virtual offerings, it is imperative to maintain cyber vigilance. The need to address security risks that emerge when working remotely has never been greater. Cybercriminals are poised to exploit security flaws often present in home systems, such as unsecured networks and easily decoded passwords. They can then use your personally identifiable information to access anything from financial accounts to private University data.

Just as social distancing is crucial to maintaining your personal health during the pandemic, protecting your data is key to maintaining your digital health. Here are six rules of thumb for studying and working safely from home.

Best Practices

  1. Protect You and Your Information

    Protect your passwords. Many data breaches occur at the password level. Make sure to use complex passwords for each of your accounts, and never reuse your credentials across different platforms.

    Stay vigilant. Watch out for social media questionnaires that ask for personal information, such as the names of your pets or the neighborhood you grew up in. These can later be used to determine your password or answer security questions.

  2. Protect Your Devices

    Software upgrades keep your software in good working order and provide you with the latest protections. Update everything on your devices, including operating systems, web browsers, and apps. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in old versions of software.

    If necessary, consider upgrading to a newer device with stronger security settings. If you do get a new device, be sure to perform a factory reset on your old device to prevent your personal or work data from being passed on.

  3. Protect Your Network

    The San Diego State University VPN provides secure access to specific University networks and systems (such as network drives or your work computer) from unknown networks like your home. The goal is to enable users to work remotely as if you’re on campus.

    Be sure to change the default password of any new Wi-Fi routers or other network devices. Always be aware of what devices are connected to your home network. If you see any devices you don’t recognize, disable the network. Also, use safe file-sharing tools that can protect important and/or sensitive communications.

  4. Protect Your Privacy

    Make sure your devices and apps are using the strongest privacy settings, particularly for app location settings. Regularly review the apps you have installed and remove any that might be sharing your personal data without your knowledge.

  5. Protect Your Work

    Frequently save and backup your work regularly! Make sure you have all files and data backed up offline and run backups regularly so that you can restore uncompromised data after a cyberattack.

  6. Protect Your Friends and Family

    Share these tips with friends and family members so that they, too, can protect themselves against cyberattacks.

Resources

SDSU has introduced a public-facing site with information about COVID-19, including decisions the University is making to directly address concerns with the global public health issue. In addition, there are additional resources provided below to help preserve your digital health while working from home. Please visit these sites frequently, as they are regularly updated.

COVID-19

Technology & Collaboration Tools

Thriving Remotely

Policies and Guidelines