Skip to main content

A baker’s dozen cybersecurity tips for working, teaching, and learning remotely

You don’t need to be a technical expert to make the computer at your home office harder to hack

Services and support Apr 15, 2020

Hackers, malicious actors, and thieves may be working remotely, but they’re as obnoxiously active and dangerous as ever. In fact, cybersecurity experts have seen a strong uptick in attacks during the past several weeks.

Working remotely means you’re outside many of the safeguards provided by the IU network. So, to keep your system and data secure, you’ll need to assume more of the responsibility for cybersecurity. 

The good news is that you don’t need to be a technical expert to make the computer at your home office harder to hack. Here are a baker’s dozen tips to make your system and your data more secure. As always, if you need help contact your IT Pro or campus UITS Support Center.

  1. Keep it current! Be sure all software, especially your antivirus software, is current. For Mac. For Windows.
  2. Beware the phish! Be extra cautious about possible phishing emails when accessing these links from home since IU cannot protect you by blocking malicious URLs.
  3. Dodge ransomware! To reduce catastrophic ransomware incidents, avoid directly connecting to file servers from your (unmanaged) endpoint; instead, use IUanyWare.
  4. Use the allowed cloud! Use virtualized and approved cloud services when possible (Box, IUanyWare, etc.) to minimize institutional data leakage to personal/home devices. Store your data and documents in approved IU cloud services like Box (for institutional data), Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive (for personal data) to facilitate sharing and collaboration without storing information on personal devices. Alternatively, store your data on approved file servers and access it only through a secure VPN connection.
  5. Lock it down! Set secure passwords, codes, or screen locks for all devices so information can’t easily be accessed if the device is lost or stolen. Set up a locking screen saver or session timeout to discourage other family members from accessing your IU session when you walk away from your computer.
  6. Back it up! Routinely back up important data to a secure location (possibly an approved cloud storage service), and routinely test those backups.
  7. Double down on Duo! Enroll a secondary Duo device for your IU account.
  8. Enroll today! Be enrolled in and prepared to use the remote wipe capabilities provided by the manufacturer (such as Apple’s iCloud) or IU (Exchange ActiveSync).
  9. Sound the alert! Continue to report incidents to
  10. Ditch the ads! Use an ad blocker. Script and Ad blockers such as Privacy Badger, AdBlock Plus, and others listed in this Lifehacker article can eliminate ads and tracking across the Internet. However, some sites may not function correctly.
  11. Play to win! Keep gaming activity on a separate account (or, preferably, a separate computer) that does not have access to the cloud drives or your personal account files.
  12. Build a Zoombomb shelter. There’s a new kind of troll on the internet, and it’s just waiting to disrupt your Zoom meeting. Secure your Zoom meeting with these tips.
  13. Sharing is not caring! Avoid sharing computers among family members, but if it must be done, use a separate account for each family member and a separate account for administrative tasks on the system.

Houston, we have a problem

If you feel your system or data have been compromised or your meeting Zoombombed, report it to the IU Information Security Office at, then contact your IT Pro or campus UITS Support Center for next steps.

Find out more

IU’s Knowledge Base contains great information on working remotely during prolonged closures as well as these tips for preventing and managing Zoom disruptions.

More stories