Bellevue U

John B. Muller Administrative Services Building at Bellevue University. The independent, private, nonprofit university marks its 50th anniversary on Oct. 28.

Since the start of Bellevue University’s 100% online learning amid the coronavirus outbreak, the cybersecurity team has worked to ensure the BU community is free of any malicious activity while working remotely.

Ron Woerner, an instructor in the College of Science and Technology, said some programs such as Zoom, a video chat website commonly used for meetings, lectures and more, have seen increased security and privacy issues.

“What BU has done is we’re working with not only the instructors, but all employees who now are using Zoom just to set down basics of what they need to do with their Zoom rooms,” he said.

“(We want) to make sure that there are no internet trolls who enter the classroom to reduce the reduce the prevalence of malware, and just to stop those common security challenges.”

Woerner said there are cybersecurity department employees at Bellevue University who are “threat experts,” himself included.

“We all are in constant communication of what we’re seeing that’s happening on the internet and we talk about how it could impact Bellevue University,” he said.

“We’re all aware of potential threats, and it’s common threats we’ve seen all along that keeps getting enhanced given this work at home nature.”

Some common influxes Woerner has seen during a time where more people are working from home is phishing attacks — emails that appear to be from real companies that are sent out to obtain personal information from recipients — which pertain to COVID-19.

Overall, Woerner said, there is always a bigger cybersecurity threat when working remotely.

“When we’re working from an office, the university is providing the safety and security from the office,” he said. “When we’re working from home, we don’t have that, and so many people may or may not have basic security in place, like locking down on their internet routers, using secure passwords.

“We’re all sitting somewhat exposed. We’re all responsible now for our own cyber safety.”

Woerner said it’s imperative people are educated on potential cybersecurity threats while working from home.

“There’s a simple technique for anyone to protect themselves online: if you see something, say something,” he said. “If something doesn’t feel right, ask somebody for help.”

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