For security reasons, all communication into our servers from countries known to be considered possible “threat countries” by policies inherent with our firewall manufacturer (SonicWall) is being blocked since mid-2018. At a Secretariat meeting held in April 2018, a discussion was had by the bishops and other members that the IT Department would be allowed to enforce these blocks on the network firewalls for the security of the Chancery’s systems (to help combat the large amount of phishing and malware attacks we currently face).
The filter being implemented (known as a “Geo-IP filter”), blocks incoming/outgoing traffic from geographical locations known for originating such items as malware, ransomware, viruses and other threats. Not only do we block incoming traffic/communication from these known threat countries (see the listing at the end of this document) - but if you are traveling to any of these countries and will need to connect back to the Archdiocese’s servers to access data or e-mail, etc. – you will need to do so using a personal VPN application on the device you are using to connect with.
What Is a VPN? When you connect to resources through a Virtual Private Network (VPN), it allows you to send your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server controlled by the VPN company. From there, it exits onto the web as normal but is doing so through a secured and private way.
Think of it like this: If your car pulls out of your driveway, someone can follow you and see where you are going, how long you are at your destination, and when you are coming back. They might even be able to peek inside your car and learn more about you. With a VPN, it's as if you drive from your house into an underground tunnel, into a closed parking garage, switch to a different car, and drive out. No one who was originally following you knows where you went.
Purchasing and using a low-cost personal VPN service serves as a safe and dependable workaround allowing users to ‘tunnel’ back into the US to access our offered cyber services. For more information on a suitable personal VPN product that will meet your needs, please visit the following link which reviews many of the options available ……
The current list of blocked countries we disallow incoming traffic from is as follows: