Safe Connect FAQ

If your question is not answered in the FAQ below, you can open a support ticket through the Self Service Help Desk, emailing the Help Desk, or by calling 610-519-7777.

What is SafeConnect?

SafeConnect is a NAC (network access and compliance tool) to help ensure that computers connected to the Villanova network are patched and have protection from malicious software. All residence hall computers accessing the Villanova network must authenticate through this system before they can access the network. Only Windows and Macintosh computers will install the SafeConnect Policy Key before accessing the Internet. Before authentication and policy key installation, Internet access will be restricted to web sites that allow you to update your computer with Windows or anti-virus updates.

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What are the benefits?

This NAC solution (SafeConnect) is part of Unit's effort to help keep the computers on its network as free as possible from viruses, spyware, and operating system security holes. Machines protected in this way generally perform much better and require much less downtime due to damage caused by malicious software. Also, the SafeConnect Policy Key can help to ensure that the average user has the fastest possible browsing experience while connected the Villanova University's network. It does this by ensuring that communication from malicious software does not flood the University's internet connection, resulting in much slower connections for legitimate users.

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Can you see everything on my computer?

No. The SafeConnect software cannot take a snapshot of an entire system and cannot identify all the programs, file or folders on a given computer.

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Do I have to use the SafeConnect Policy Key?

Yes. All Microsoft Windows PCs and Macintosh computers are required to use the SafeConnect Policy Key to ensure a safe computing environment for all and it is required for network access. You can uninstall SafeConnect Policy Key at any time; however within minutes you will then be unable to access the Internet through a campus network running NAC. You will be required to reinstall the Policy Key as if you are a new user to gain Internet access

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How often do I have to authenticate?

SafeConnect requires reauthentication once per academic year. An extended period of inactivity over several months will require reauthentication.

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How do I know the SafeConnect Policy Key is running?

On Windows machines with Windows, you can right-click any blank space on the task bar at the bottom of your screen and select the option “Task Manager”. When the Windows Task Manager appears, click the “Processes” tab and look for the process “SCClient.exe”. Mac OS users can open the Activity Monitor located in the Utilities folder. From the Activity Monitor, look for the process Policy Key. If this small application is uninstalled or disabled, the system will disallow network access until the end user reauthenticates and reinstalls it, to ensure proper network safeguards are being made at all times.

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Is the SafeConnect Policy Key compatible with my system?

The SafeConnect Policy Key is compatible with and required for Windows and Macintosh OS X systems.

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What does SafeConnect check for?

The SafeConnect Policy Key continuously validates that your system meets minimum security requirements as per Villanova University’s acceptable use policy.

  • Authentication: Required once per academic year.
  • Policy Key: If using Windows or Mac versions 10.3 and higher and do not have policy key installed, you will not be able to access the network.
  • Windows Operating System Updates: If Windows is not set to check for automatic system updates, pop-up web browser warnings will be issued.
  • Anti-Virus Software Installed and Running: If anti-virus software is not detected installed and running, pop-up web browser warnings will be issued.
  • Anti-Virus Software Up-to-Date: If anti-virus software is out-of-date, pop-up web browser warnings will be issued.
  • You can download free anti-virus software by accessing Anti-virus and entering your MyNova username and password.

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Which anti-virus software can I use?

SafeConnect recognizes many anti-virus programs and is not limited to the products that UNIT provides for free such as the Anti-virus
Recognized anti-virus programs include:

  • AVG
  • Avast AV
  • Authentium
  • AVGuard
  • BitDefender
  • EZ Antivirus
  • Kaspersky
  • McAfee
  • McAfee NA
  • McAfee 45
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • NOD32
  • Panda
  • Sophos
  • SpySweeper AV
  • Symantec
  • Symantec Corporate
  • TrendMicro
  • TrendMicro Corporate
  • ZoneAlarm AV

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What if my system is not up-to-date?

If your system has been determined not to be up-to-date, a web browser will open and you will be warned of non-compliance. If you require assistance in updating your computer, please call the Help Desk at 610-519-7777.

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What about my privacy?

Your privacy is important to us. The SafeConnect Policy Key checks only for the following:

  • DNS Server settings
  • DHCP Settings
  • MAC and IP Address of default gateway
  • IP Address
  • Windows Update settings
  • Whether or not (and which) anti-virus solution is installed
  • Whether or not anti-virus definitions are up-to-date
  • Whether or not an anti-virus program is running

The policy key software application can be easily removed when one departs. This application is not an intrusive one. It can't look at content on a user's computer. Its only purpose is to check for the processes we have configured it to look for: current anti-virus software and current Microsoft updates. Impulse Point, the company that created the SafeConnect product, has released a privacy statement which is available for download (.pdf) here: SafeConnect Privacy Statement.

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Known Issue: Windows XP Repeatedly Asking for Policy Key Installation

If you have installed the Policy Key on a computer running Windows XP and have continued to receive pop-up web browser windows indicating that this step was still required. You must uninstall the Policy Key through Add/Remove Programs and head to the internet you will be prompted to reinstall the Policy Key. If you have difficulty uninstalling the Policy Key, open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and click on the Processes tab. Highlight the process called SCClient.exe and click End Process at the bottom of the window. Then proceed with the uninstallation/reinstallation process noted above. Should you have additional issues or other questions, please contact the Help Desk at 610-519-7777.

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Known Issue: VU Homepage Loads Instead of My Browser’s Homepage

Occasionally, and each time you need to authenticate, you will be redirected to the Villanova Homepage instead of your browser homepage when opening a web browser. However, you should still be able to browse the web uninterrupted.

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