There's no place like the office for protection from cyber criminals

Learn more about the technologies that protect your computer when you are connected to the UNC Health Care network and how to protect your laptop when you are offsite.

If you have been issued a laptop computer by UNC Health Care, this article is especially for you. There are several (most often) transparent technologies that protect all of the computers that are connected to our network.

We have firewalls, web gateways, and other network threat prevention devices that automatically inspect all of the network traffic coming and going between our computers and the Internet. Some of these devices block traffic outright from entering or leaving our network while others inspect the data packets detecting and blocking harmful files. When you are using your UNC Health Care laptop offsite (home, hotel, coffee shop, convention center, etc.) you are not protected by these technologies. 

Let us consider how these technologies protect our computers from malicious advertisements that are all too often displayed as part of a legitimate webpage. First, our web gateway blocks most advertisements in general. Second, if the ad is not blocked and the code within it redirects your web browser to a site that is serving malware, our web gateway should block access to this site based on its reputation or categorization. Third, if this site is so new that it doesn't have a reputation score or hasn't been categorized, your web browser will try to download the malware, our other network monitoring technologies will recognize the malware and prevent it from being downloaded. 

While using the laptop offsite you should be extra cautious as you do not have the benefits of these protections. The best way to regain the protections provided by our network is to connect back to our network using our VPN client. Once you have the VPN client engaged and you are logged in, your computer has a secure connection to our network even though you are at a remote location. This not only provides the best security but it also affords you the convenience of having access to all of the same resources you have when you are in the office. Additionally, when working remotely you should only connect to networks that you are familiar with and trust. For example, BEFORE connecting to the Wi-Fi at a hotel or convention center you should verify with the front desk which wireless network name is the one provided by the facility. Do not connect to just any free Wi-Fi access that is detected by the computer. 

If you are not familiar with how to use the VPN client, please contact the Service Desk at 984-974-4357.

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