Updated On May 13, 2019 - 8:55am

UCLA to Block Wi-Fi and VPN Access to Compromising Sites

UPDATE: 6/25/19 -- This implementation has been postponed until further notice.

 

UCLA is continuously looking out for your cyber safety. One of the ways we are increasing cyber safety is blocking known malicious threats on the VPN and Wi-Fi networks, effective June 17, 2019. 

Why is UCLA implementing this now?

In the recent years, cyber security has become a forefront concern for everyone. Cyber-attacks are a daily threat, and implementing blocking will help safeguard devices and networks by preemptively stopping a malicious threat before it can infect a system. At UCLA, your online security and privacy is paramount to our core beliefs. We want to continue to provide your online experience, and ensure that all your devices are protected while connected to UCLA.

What does this mean?

Though VPN networks secure your privacy while online, the Wi-Fi and VPN networks are traditionally less secure when it comes to cyber-attacks, and are the source of many online threats that affect UCLA departments and personal devices. The IT Security Office intends to reduce your risk of an attack by implementing security devices on the VPN and Wi-Fi networks to block known malicious traffic and malware threats.

What is malicious traffic? (What will be blocked?) 

Some examples of malicious traffic that will be blocked include:

  • When a user requests to download a known malicious file.
  • When a system is observed ‘calling back’ to a malicious website for further instruction, (i.e. the system has been infected). Blocking activity such as call backs will prevent further malicious activity on the system or spread to other systems.

Who will it affect?

These security changes will only affect users connected to the campus Wi-Fi (eduroam, UCLA_WEB, and UCLA_WIFI) and the campus VPN (BOL VPN).

What is the VPN network?

The VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secured private network connection built on top of publicly accessible infrastructure. The Campus VPN provides an alternative to using the proxy server for remote access to the UCLA Library and other campus resources. For more information on the VPN, see the BOL website here: https://www.it.ucla.edu/bol/services/virtual-private-network-vpn-clients.

Can UCLA use this to block anything that I am doing on the internet? 

No, the technology cannot be used to block legitimate activity. It is designed to help prevent malicious activity and protect UCLA users from online threats. This technology is only in place to protect and ensure our community’s safety online.

What if something is blocked?

When a user is connected to either the Wi-Fi or VPN networks and attempts to visit a malicious page, they will receive a notification indicating that the page they are attempting to access is blocked due to security restrictions. The notification will also provide a link to a web form that will submit a ticket to the IT Security Office if the user believes the page requested was blocked in error. The IT Security Office will evaluate the request, and investigate why the activity was determined to be malicious and subsequently blocked. If the content is legitimate, the IT Security Office will remove the block within 24 hours of receiving notice.

Example of notification that the user will receive:

wi-fi blocked message

I have more questions, who can I talk to?

Please contact the IT Security Office at [email protected] with any additional questions.