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Safe•Connect FAQ

If your question was not answered below, you can email ResNet at resnet@ucsd.edu or call (858) 246-4357.

What is Safe•Connect?

Safe•Connect is a network access control mechanism that was first used on the ResNet network in the Fall Quarter 2013 to provide network services to machines that comply with UCSD’s Minimum Network Security Requirements. This tool is part of UC San Diego’s effort to keep computers and networks protected from malware, spyware, exploits, and operating system security holes.

Why is ResNet using Safe•Connect?

A network registration system, simply put, allows network access to users who are authorized and ensures that the University's resources are being used appropriately. Additionally, protected network access, currently-patched operating systems, and antivirus software on every computer are parts of a comprehensive security model to limit the risk of exploit to user computers and data while connected to the ResNet network. Safe•Connect allows us to enforce both at once, ensuring a safe computing environment for all involved.

Who must use Safe•Connect?

Safe•Connect must be used by everyone accessing ResNet in the residential halls and on-campus apartments. Safe•Connect can currently only enforce the minimum network connectivity requirements on systems running the Microsoft Windows or Macintosh OS X operating system. Linux systems and mobile devices are not required to download the Policy Key to access the residential network. They are, however, still required to authenticate on the ResNet registration page AND abide by UCSD's Minimum Network Security Requirements.

How does Safe•Connect benefit me?

Computers protected by the Safe•Connect system generally perform much better and require much less downtime due to damage caused by the spread of malicious software. When connected to the ResNet network, you can be sure that your computer is protected from malware and other computers are less likely to pose a threat to you. 

What is the Safe•Connect Policy Key, and what does it do?

The Safe•Connect Policy Key is small client software that must be installed on Windows and Macintosh computers before they can access the network. It continuously verifies that your system is compliant with minimum security requirements as outlined in the ResNet Acceptable Use Policy.

The Policy Key can help to ensure that the average user has the fastest possible browsing experience while connected to the ResNet network by ensuring that communication from malicious software does not flood your Internet connection.

Is the Safe•Connect Policy Key client compatible with my computer?

The Safe•Connect Policy Key is compatible with and required for Windows and Mac computers. At the present time, Linux systems, mobile phones, and other network devices are not required to install the Policy Key.

Do I have to install the Policy Key?

If you have a computer running Windows or Mac OS, yes - the Policy Key is required for network access.

How long will it take to install the Safe•Connect Policy Key?

About 1 minute.

Where can I download the Policy Key?

You will be prompted to download the Policy Key during ResNet registration.

Why does my computer need to be identified on the ResNet network?

If a computer is compromised by malicious software, it can quickly spread to other computers on the network. Safe•Connect allows ResNet to be proactive and contact the computer owner of problems with their device. 

Will Safe•Connect change settings on my computer?

The Safe•Connect Policy Key is an extremely lightweight and unobtrusive program. It communicates only with the Safe•Connect servers to ensure that your computer is compliant with the ResNet Acceptable Use Policy. The Safe•Connect Policy Key will not alter any settings on your computer and should not interfere with normal functionality. 

What do I need to do to set up Safe•Connect?

  1. Plug into a wired network port in your bedroom, or connect to a wireless ResNet network in your common area (usually RESNET-<Location> or RESNET-<Location>-E)
  2. Open your Internet browser
  3. Within a minute or so you will be prompted to log in
  4. Authenticate to the network using your UC San Diego username and password
  5. Click on the link to accept the ResNet Acceptable Use Policy and install the Policy Key

A few minutes after the installation is complete, you will be redirected to a web page informing you of any steps required to ensure your system's security. If your system is already in compliance with the ResNet Acceptable Use Policy, you will be free to access the Internet immediately.

What if my system is not up-to-date, I don't have an antivirus, and/or my firewall is not turned on?

If your system has been determined out of compliance with the ResNet Acceptable Use Policy, your computer will be quarantined. While quarantined, you will only have access to places you need to fix your computer and get out of quarantine. This includes software updates, antivirus download websites, and access to update Adobe software and Java. 

What about my privacy?

At ResNet, your privacy is paramount. Safe•Connect does not record information about a computer unrelated to the identification of the computer and the security tools needed to implement UC San Diego’s security policies, in order to protect the health and operation of the network. The information captured by the tool include the following:

  1. Computer's MAC address
  2. Operating System version in use
  3. IP address assigned to the computer
  4. Date and time the device was last observed on the network
  5. Type of antivirus software installed

What happens if I uninstall the Policy Key?

You have the ability to remove the Policy Key at any time. However, you will not be able to access the Internet while on ResNet, within a few minutes of removal. You will then be required to reinstall the Policy Key to regain access to the Internet, while on ResNet. 

How do I know the Policy Key is running?

On Windows machines, you can see it under the Processes tab in the Task Manager. Look for the process "PolicyKey.exe". On Mac computers, you can check the Activity Monitor and look for “SafeConnect” and “scManagerD”.

My gaming console doesn't have a web browser. How will I connect to the Internet?

Game systems and other network devices without a built-in browser can be connected to the Internet by emailing ResNet with the relevant information (click here for details).

How often will I be asked to re-authenticate?

You will need to register your connection with ResNet at the start of each year. You will no longer need to register every quarter as was required in the past.

Will Safe•Connect recognize my antivirus software?

Safe•Connect currently recognizes most commercial antivirus programs and continually updates it's compatibility list. The current list of supported antivirus programs include:

  • Authentium
  • AVGuard
  • Kaspersky
  • NOD32
  • Microsoft
  • TrendMicro
  • Avast!
  • BitDefender
  • Malwarebytes
  • Panda
  • SpySweeper
  • Vipre Antivirus
  • AVG
  • EZ Antivirus
  • McAfee
  • Sophos
  • Symantec
  • ZoneAlarm

If you are using an antivirus software that is not currently recognized by Safe•Connect, please contact ResNet so we can have it added.

Will Safe•Connect be configured on UCSD-PROTECTED, UCSD-GUEST, Eduroam, or VPN?

No. At this time, Safe•Connect is only active on ResNet networks. The process to log into the campus wireless networks will remain the same. 

What other universities are using Safe•Connect?

Various universities including UC Los Angeles, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Sacramento, Northern Arizona University, Colorado State, American University, University of Florida, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of North Dakota, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City all use the Safe•Connect system on their networks.