UNF blocks Russian and Ukraine network traffic, IT explains

Julia Croston, Managing Editor

The day after Russia invaded Ukraine, University of North Florida Information Technology Services (ITS) began a temporary block on network traffic to and from Russia and Ukraine on Feb. 25. The network block may last longer than previously anticipated in order to prevent malware from corrupting the UNF network. 

When using the UNF WiFi, students, faculty, and staff will not be able to access Russian and Ukrainian websites. According to the IT website, the network block was implemented after the FBI and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned organizations about an increase in Russian cybersecurity attacks. 

ITS Chief Information Officer Brian Verkamp provided Spinnaker with this statement: 

“UNF is laser-focused on protecting our students, their data, and our faculty and staff members. Given the rising threats from Russia, the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency published guidance for all critical infrastructure, such as higher education, to be extra vigilant in cyber security.  Businesses, agencies, and other organizations are encouraged to make sure their most critical digital assets are protected. UNF made the decision to lower the risk of a cyber-incident and implemented the temporary block as a precaution. UNF continues to evaluate the situation.”

On Feb. 26, the CISA released an advisory explaining that there has been an increase in malware specifically targeting organizations in Ukraine. 

Leading up to Russia’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine, threat actors deployed destructive malware against organizations in Ukraine to destroy computer systems and render them inoperable,” the advisory states. 

Because malware has affected Ukrainian websites, visiting those websites could be damaging to any computer and network. As a result, the CISA released guidelines for organizations to follow in order to prevent cyberattacks and the spread of malware. 

“While there are no specific or credible cyber threats to the U.S. homeland at this time, Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which has involved cyber-attacks on Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations, may impact organizations both within and beyond the region,” explains the CISA guidelines. 

ITS has followed the advice of the CISA to protect the UNF network. The situation will continue to be monitored by UNF and ITS before a decision to lift the restrictions will be made. 


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].