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IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

April 17, 2018

New network security enhancements begin April 24, may impact off-campus users

This message is being sent to all UW students, faculty, staff, and UW Medicine employees, with approval of the Vice President for UW Information Technology and CIO, and the Chief Information Officer for UW Medicine.

As announced in February 2018, upcoming security enhancements to the UW network may affect anyone who connects to UW resources from off-campus. We are taking these steps to protect your personal and University data from an increasing number of malicious attacks.

What’s changing?

If you access UW resources from off-campus through a remote desktop or network file-sharing application, you will be required to first use a UW or UW Medicine secure virtual private network (VPN) service. These changes will start on April 24, 2018.

If you are connecting from on-campus (the Seattle campus and related facilities, UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and at UW Medicine facilities), you should not be impacted by this change.

Not sure if you are connected to a UW network? Use the Networks Portal tool from any computer to see if you are on a UW network, or visit the Frequently Asked Questions section on the Network Port Blocking web page for more information.

What’s not changing?

These changes will not affect web-based UW resources and services, such as access to email, Canvas, uw.edu web pages, UW Libraries, Google Drive or Office 365. It will also not affect access to Dropbox, peer-to-peer (P2P) or secure file transfer (FTP) programs.

How to prepare for the changes

If you are not currently using a UW or UW Medicine VPN, please see below for options and follow the instructions on the web page to set up this service.

If you need help, please contact UW-IT’s Service Center at help@uw.edu with the subject line: “Network Port Blocking.”

VPN options include:

  • Current students, faculty, including emeriti, and staff can use Husky OnNet, a free service. Please review the information on this page, and get the software.
  • UW Medicine and clinical department users with AMC accounts can use the SSL VPN (Pulse Secure). For more information about Pulse Secure, please visit the UW Medicine IT Services web page or contact UW Medicine IT Services.
  • Alumni and retirees can contact their unit or department’s IT group to see if a VPN is available.
  • Departmental VPN: Contact your unit or department’s IT group to see if they provide a VPN for your use.
  • College/Division/Department/Units can find more information and options by visiting the Network Port Blocking web page on IT Connect. These options include the new for-fee Husky OnNet-Department service, which can provide secure access for retirees, alumni and other groups. If alternative solutions are not readily available and you would like to learn about the exemption process, please contact UW-IT’s Service Center at help@uw.edu with the subject line: “Network Port Blocking.”

How does this work?

If you are off-campus, connect first with a UW or UW Medicine VPN application before running your remote desktop or network file-sharing application. If you are not familiar with these terms, please visit the Network Port Blocking web page for more information. If you do not use any of these applications, no action is needed on your part.

Why are these changes necessary?

The increasing attacks on the UW network present a serious security risk to the University. A large volume of this hostile traffic comes through specific network “ports” related to file-sharing and remote desktop applications.

To reduce the attacks, we will block these ports. Other ports may be blocked in the future, and we will notify you before any additional ports are blocked.

These security enhancements are a common practice used by many large organizations, including numerous higher education institutions. They will apply to the entire UW network, including in Seattle and at UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and UW Medicine facilities.

We understand that change is difficult, but these security enhancements are necessary to protect your personal and University information and data.

Questions?

For more information regarding these changes and for Frequently Asked Questions, please see the Network Port Blocking web page on IT Connect.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact UW-IT’s Service Center at help@uw.edu with the subject line: “Network Port Blocking.”

Thank you for your support in implementing these important security enhancements.