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OIT is announcing today the roll-out of a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. While we have had VPN services for a long time, this new service is more stable and more secure than the legacy VPN. We are encouraging everyone using VPN today to begin using the new VPN service as soon as possible. Operation of the legacy VPN service will be discontinued in the coming months. Detailed instructions for using the new VPN service can be found at myBama > Tech Tab.
In addition to the rollout of this new VPN service, OIT will begin blocking direct remote desktop access (RDP) starting April 1, 2014. From that date forward, remote desktop access from off campus will require a VPN connection. If you use remote desktop to access your on-campus computer from off-campus, please use the link referenced above to learn how to setup VPN and begin establishing a VPN connection before connecting with remote desktop.
Why are we making this change:
This change is necessary because in recent months there has been an upsurge in certain types of network security attacks from outside entities focused on using our open Remote Desktop Protocol channels as a way to gain unauthorized access to UA servers and end-user computers. Our security organization reports that in the last 10 months, there have been more than 65 million unauthorized attempts to access UA computers using the Remote Desktop channels. Not all such attacks can be detected or blocked and those that do succeed can be very harmful to our operations.
Note that users will still be able to directly access email (though web mail, or on smart phones and tablets), and access Banner or any other University public web site from the Internet without a VPN/RDP connection just as they do today. On campus, RDP connections will generally not require a VPN unless regulatory compliance such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) or other University policy states otherwise.
If VPN access is needed by non UA employees, the Dean, Director or Department Head should send an email to ITSD@ua.edu to request access.