The Catholic University of America

Home Computer Security for Off-Campus Computing

Cardinal Station is the university's web portal to administrative applications such as Cardinal Students and Cardinal Financials. Other administrative systems are available off-campus through the web or terminal services as well.

How to Protect Yourself and the University

The best advice is that we all be careful. Before we access Cardinal Station or other administrative systems from home, we should ask ourselves, "Is it really crucial that this be done tonight? Shouldn't I do this in the morning from work?"

If you must access data from home, here are some simple steps that you should take to minimize your risk:

  • Run virus protection software, and make sure that it is kept up to date. Perform a full scan of your hard drives regularly. This will protect you from the majority of Internet malware.
     
  • Run a software firewall. This will help to protect your computer from outside searches - and attacks.
     
  • Set your machine to download and install updates from Microsoft or Apple automatically. This will keep your computer patched against known attacks.
     
  • Your computer, even at home, should be protected with a strong password. You should never allow your browser or other software to automatically remember your CUA password--type it each time.
     
  • Log out of your home computer or lock its screen before walking away from it. It is one thing to let your sixteen year-old read your email; it is quite another to leave your Cardinal Station session open on the screen.
     
  • Check your USB and other data ports front and back before turning on your computer to make sure there are no unexpected devices such as memory sticks connected to your computer.  If there are, remove them before turning on the computer and run a full scan of your hard drives before accessing any CUA systems.

Many of these topics are discussed in more detail, with links to technical resources, in the Safe Computing Practices document. Most of the topics in that document are applicable to your home computer.

Faculty or staff who do need to access administrative systems from home should contact their dean or supervisor so that he or she may request this access on your behalf. Remote access to CUA's administrative systems is provided through terminal services.