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VNC / Apple Remote Desktop will require VPN as of September 18, 2019

Threat Level: Medium
Threat Type: Remote Access Threat
Advisory Date: 09/04/2019

Description

The University of Regina, Information Services, will be undertaking changes related to Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) services.

This change will impact users who access on-campus computers from a location off campus via these services.

Currently, users with a computer located on campus may be able to access their machines from a remote location using VNC/ARD.

However, everyday, there are thousands of VNC/ARD attempts from unauthorized parties originating from the internet. To reduce the risk of a successful unauthorized access, firewall rules are being updated to disallow connections to these services on default configuration ports 5900 and 5901.

This change will prevent on-campus computers from being directly accessed from unauthorized parties with a VNC or ARD client over port 5900/5901.

Resolution

After September 18th, 2019 users that want to connect to these services on-campus will be required to use the University VPN to access your on-campus computers in a secure manner.

By default, VNC is an insecure protocol and can be easily intercepted across the internet; ARD uses the same default protocol as VNC and will also be affected by this change.

When connecting to VPN, you will be required to authenticate using your uregina.ca (Novell) credentials before using the remote desktop client to access your internal computer.

If you require remote desktop access to a computer on campus, please install the VPN client on your remote devices prior to September 18th, 2019.

Resources

Installation instructions for the campus vpn are located at:

https://www.uregina.ca/is/common/ur/technotes/569.html