Public Knowledge Base Solution 11432
Virtual Private Networking (VPN) at the University of Maryland (Includes Video)
Entered on 04/22/2015 at 13:12:10 EDT (GMT-0400)


This video provides an introduction and basic instructions on how to use VPN. After the video, you can read detailed information below.


VPN Video

Using Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client Software (1:43, 4MB)

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Scroll down to the 'Attachments' section for the transcript (text version) of this video.



What platforms are supported?


Supported VPN client software is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems. Click on a platform below to be connected to the download and installation instructions for that operating system (OS).


Windows:   Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
Macintosh:  Macintosh OS X 10.6 and later

Linux:        Anyconnect-Linux

iPhone:      Installing and Configuring the VPN Client for the iPad 2


What is a VPN?

VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. A VPN provides an encrypted and secure connection “tunnel” path from a user's machine to its destination through the public Internet. There are four profiles to choose from: UMD, UMapps, UMAccess, and UMD-MFA.


UMD: The current general profile is called UMD and is used by off campus users that need to connect back to the University securely. Only traffic destined to the university will be sent through the VPN tunnel.

UMapps: The UMapps profile is used by on and off campus hosts to connect to sensitive resources on campus that do not have adequate built in application security and encryption.


UMD-MFA: The profile UMD-MFA is needed to access some data center applications and is used to verify user identity before allowing access to some campus systems. The UMD-MFA profile will be used by people both on or off campus to connect to specific resources that require an extra level of security using Multi-Factor Authentication.


UMAccess: the profile UMAccess is a more secure version of the UMapps profile. The UMAccess profile will be used by people both on or off campus to connect to specific resources that require an extra level of security using Multi-Factor Authentication.



Why would you want this?

The VPN client software encrypts the data stream so that only the VPN server can understand it. This provides a method for secure communications, a feature especially relevant for wireless connections. Its use also allows your machine to appear to be connected directly into the University network, even though you're actually connecting through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This, in turn, permits access to restricted use sites and to University Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) servers for sending email.

How does it work?


As shown in the diagram below, standard Internet connections go from your machine to your ISP, through the Internet and on to the site of your choice. At any point along the connection path, the data stream is open to packet sniffing, i.e., the data can be intercepted and read.


Standard Internet Connection

Using a VPN, as in the next diagram, the connection path runs through a “tunnel,” isolating the data stream from the Internet while still remaining part of it. It connects to a VPN server which decrypts the data, provides authentication, and acts as the gatekeeper to the campus network. Because the campus network sees the VPN server as the source of the communication, your connection is considered to be direct to the network rather than from the outside.


Tunnel Connection Path

Do I need anything special in order to use the VPN?

In order to download and use the VPN client software, you will need to have a University of Maryland Directory ID and Password. This is to ensure that only members of the University of Maryland can use this service.

Is this foolproof?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the wide variety of ISP technologies, connection methods, and software configurations, there may be instances where the client is simply incompatible and won't work as required. Be assured, however, the Help Desk will make every effort to see that such instances are reported and analyzed in order to identify a possible fix or workaround.


The article above is from the Knowledge Base supported by the University of Maryland Division of Information Technology.


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