A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides students, faculty, staff and Sponsored Account holders with end-to-end secure remote access between a computer or device in a remote location and on-campus resources, such as your Northeastern computer and servers. While remotely connected, all connections to Northeastern’s campus resources are encrypted, while connections to other internet sites are not. Northeastern uses Palo Alto GlobalProtect software as our VPN client.
The VPN ensures that the data sent and received through an internet connection is secure and encrypted, keeping that data safe. While on campus you have access to Northeastern’s secure networks NUnet and NUwave, but when you are off campus you may be accessing untrusted, unsecured networks – putting your information at risk. When you connect through the VPN, it ensures that any network connection you are using outside of Northeastern is now secure, encrypting your data and keeping it safe (click image to enlarge).
In addition to keeping information secure, the VPN allows you to access certain network resources when you are not physically in the same location. For example:
- Researchers, faculty and staff can connect to the VPN, and then log in to research or office workstations using remote desktop/terminal sessions.
- Faculty and staff members connected to the VPN can also access shared network folders (Q drive) directly from home.
Web-based university resources such as myNortheastern, Blackboard and Sharepoint do not require the VPN for access.
The VPN makes it possible for Northeastern faculty and staff to seamlessly work from both within and outside of Northeastern’s networks.
Keep in mind – using the VPN connects you directly from your remote computer to the university network. It is essential that you have up-to-date antivirus software installed on the remote computer, along with any operating system and application patches. Also remember to maintain the confidentiality of university information by ensuring that others are not observing your work and that you log off before leaving your remote workstation.
Beginning in September 2017, Northeastern has a new security authentication tool called Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Because the VPN requires this tool, you will need to register your mobile device with DUO, the tool provider, so they can send you an activation link either through a phone call, a text message or mobile application.
The VPN is available to students, faculty, staff and sponsored account holders. For remote access via the VPN, Palo Alto GlobalProtect must be installed on the remote computer or device being utilized. Once installed, launch the software and follow the prompts to log into the VPN. After you enter your username and password in the VPN access process, the VPN login will pause while you approve the activation link sent to your registered mobile device. Once you approve the notification, the login process will complete.
NOTE: If you are unable to connect and have not received a notification, confirm your device or telephone numbers are properly registered by returning to the registration page.
If you are a sponsored employee and do not have the ability to log into a Northeastern computer, contact your sponsor who will need to modify your account to grant you access to NUnet. For more information on sponsored accounts, visit the Sponsored Account information at https://its.northeastern.edu/services/sponsored/.
Prior to installing the necessary VPN software, you will need to confirm that the remote computer you are using to connect meets the minimum system requirements (see the Platform Support section at the bottom). You also will need to register your computer with DUO (see above), and have your myNortheastern username and password.
- ITS-managed Windows computers can install GlobalProtect through Software Center.
- ITS-managed Mac computers can install GlobalProtect through Self Service.
- Un-managed Northeastern-owned and personal Windows and Mac computers can access and install the VPN software at https://vpn.northeastern.edu. In order to access the download page you must enter your myNortheastern username and password, and then click the link that corresponds to your machine’s operating system to download the software. To learn more, see the How-To links below.
- Linux computers, follow the instructions in the How-To links below.
- Mobile devices can install GlobalProtect through the main app store for that device (App Store or Google Play). To learn more, see the How-To links below.
Once GlobalProtect is installed, you can connect to the VPN by launching the software on your computer or device. You will be prompted to enter the code provided by DUO and your myNortheastern username and password. Additional information is available in the Remote Access Service (VPN) – How To.
The vpn address is vpn.northeastern.edu.
Read this before connecting to VPN
The Health of Your Remote Computer Is CRITICAL
When using Northeastern’s VPN, you are connected DIRECTLY from your remote computer into the university network. It is much like sitting at your university workstation. For this reason, the health and maintenance of your computer is critical.
The VPN will apply a layer of antivirus, threats and vulnerability protection, but a virus, worm, bot or other infection or compromise on your remote computer could be passed to the university network and every connected workstation, causing compromise and disruption to university computers and the computing infrastructure. Due to this all VPN users MUST have up-to-date antivirus software installed on their remote computer, along with all up-to-date operating system and application patches. NEVER attempt to connect to the VPN without assuring your remote computer is properly maintained as described above.
What you see is what you and others may get
When using the Northeastern’s VPN, your remote computer will likely be displaying, downloading and/or printing information that is privileged, confidential, and/or regulated. Confidentiality of university information MUST be maintained. When using Northeastern’s VPN, assure that unauthorized persons are not observing your work. Always log off before leaving your remote workstation, and safeguard all printed materials and files downloaded from university sources. Shred any printed documents no longer needed, and do not leave downloaded university files for unauthorized others to find.
Places NEVER to establish a VPN connection
Computer types such as those listed below are sometimes compromised and not always well-maintained. They can be a severe threat to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the Northeastern’s networks and university data. For this reason, NEVER establish a VPN connection to the university from the following types of computers:
- public library computers
- conference center computers
- airport lounge computers
- hotel computers (business centers or in-room supplied laptops)
- any computer on which you have reason to believe an infection or other compromise may or does exist
Set Up & Connection