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FAQ - Travel and the UMBC VPN

Helping Secure Your Communications When Off-Campus


  1. If I am a student, can I log in from my country of travel?
    • Yes, as long as you have a valid UMBC account and the country in question allows internet traffic to and from the United States
  2. Can I use a VPN to log in to my UMBC account?
  3. If I am a faculty or staff member, should I notify DoIT of my travel plans?

    • Yes, this will help us recognize that you are traveling in the event that our reports flag your account for unusual activity.
  4. What is “unusual activity”?

    • There are several potential markers for unusual activity.  One of the more common is the “Superman Effect”.  The UMBC Division of Information Technology (DoIT) compares the time and apparent location of each successful authentication with that of the previous authentication.  If the speed required to travel between the locations in the intervening time exceeds a threshold, the account is flagged.
  5. What happens if an account is flagged?

    • Flagged accounts have their passwords changed to a random string of characters.  The account must be reset by clicking “Forgot your password?” and requesting a reset link be sent to the owner’s password recovery account.
  6. If I am a student in a country from which II can access UMBC without a VPN, should I still use a GlobalProtect VPN?

    • You do not have to log on to UMBC with the GlobalProtect VPN. However,we do recommend you use it to provide an extra layer of security for whatever information you enter.
  7. If I am faculty and staff, should I use GlobalProtect VPN while outside the country?

    • If you are handling any sensitive information, we suggest that you use GlobalProtect.  There are some systems which can only be accessed using the GlobalProtect VPN from off-campus, even within the United States.
  8. Why should I use GlobalProtect if I already have another VPN like Nord or Express?

    • In general, we do not block connections from external VPNs (though there may be specific ones that we block for security reasons).  You are free to use other VPNs should you so choose.  
    • Remember, however, questions 4 and 5 above.  If you appear to be authenticating from two widely separated locations in a short time interval. you will have to reset your password.
  9. Should I enable two-factor authentication?

    • YES! UMBC uses Duo authentication to help secure your accounts. Duo authentication creates an extra authentication step, but provides a valuable extra layer of security.  You should use Duo especially if you are using or handling sensitive information. It is available to all staff and students (and required for some). It is also completely free. For more information about Duo, visit: https://wiki.umbc.edu/display/faq/Two-Factor+Authentication+with+DUO


Posted: August 17, 2021, 6:10 PM