Working from home securely

Dangerous emails, online communication, and our tips on how to deal with them.

  • Do you continue to receive COVID-19-related emails which try to lure you suspicious websites with supposedly important information?
  • Or emails sent supposedly by your supervisor which contain urgent requests for action, like obtaining vouchers for online shops?
  • And what about emails demanding that you renew your user account credentials, change your password or update your banking information – such as the IBAN used to pay your salary?

If you answered “yes”, then you’re not alone here.

Attackers take advantage of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and the “isolation” of working from home. In doing so, they try to benefit themselves financially or gain unauthorised access to systems and data.

Tricks as simple as they are effective

Of course, we’re all curious when comes to news about COVID-19. And yes, we all want to offer our supervisors and colleagues fast and pragmatic support, especially when working from home. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to fall for such scam emails.

Our Request

Even if emails say that something is extremely urgent, please look at them carefully before reacting.

Online Communication

Online meetings with ZOOM, Teams or similar products are or were new for most of us. Each of these tools is equipped with numerous configuration options to secure your video conferences and your privacy. It is worth investing some time and setting the options that suit you best. For example, make sure that only members of the target audience are allowed to participate in an online meeting. For larger events, such as lectures, there are ways to protect yourself from trolls. If you don’t want to show anyone your home office, you can work with displayed background images.

Detailed information

Our Tips

  • If you’re working with a device managed by your IT support group, please log in at least twice a week via VPN to ETH Zurich (VPN = Virtual Private Network, encrypted remote connection).
    The reason for this is that some software updates are distributed exclusively via VPN Login (see also “VPN usage in your home office” (Information sheet “working from home”).
  • Install software updates as soon as possible after they are announced. Once you have done this, it is necessary to restart the system. Only then are the updates activated.
  • Activate Auto-Updating of your software whenever suitable.
  • Please use a virus scanner.
  • Be suspicious if you receive emails from unknown senders that contain dubious links or strange assignments and attachments.
  • Use the security options for online meetings.
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone.

For Private Use

If you manage your own Windows PC, a helpful tip for private use is the Patch My PC Home Updater product:

You’ll find more information about IT security in everyday life on the ETH web:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or your responsible IT support.

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