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Wake Forest University

Malicious Site Blocked - Cisco Umbrella FAQ

Modified on: Fri, Aug 13, 2021 4:04 PM

Wake Forest University uses Cisco Umbrella, a secure DNS redirection tool that protects a user from accessing known malicious content, such as:

  • Phishing scams and fraudulent websites
  • Malware, spyware, and ransomware
  • Bot-nets
  • Malicious advertising

A Malicious Site Blocked page is reached when the user attempts to connect to an infected domain - example screenshot:


How does DNS redirection work?

Every website has a URL (e.g. and a corresponding IP address (e.g. A DNS server uses its resources to resolve the URL or domain name into the IP address for the appropriate Web server. Every Internet Service Provider (ISP) has its own DNS server, and some companies have DNS servers available for public use. WFU now utilizes Cisco Umbrella as its DNS server. When a user inadvertently tries to access known malicious content, Cisco Umbrella redirects the user and prevents them from being infected or falling prey to a phishing attempt.

Are sites blocked based on their content (topical, ideological, etc)?

Absolutely not. A redirect happens when a domain or site attempts to infect the visiting computer or host a phishing scam.

Am I protected off-campus?

This security service is available when using the WFU campus network, connecting off-campus using VPN, and on computers with the WFU AnyConnect VPN client package (installed from Take caution when browsing and opening links off-campus.

If a site is blocked, is it permanent?

Not necessarily - a site is blocked as long as it contains harmful or malicious content. If the site is no longer infected, it will be removed from the redirection list.

I am being redirected in error - what do I do?

Trying to connect to a legitimate site? Please report any wrongful redirects to the Information Systems Service Desk at or (336)758-4357. The block will be removed if the site is no longer infected or returned a false-positive.

Is this the same OpenDNS I use at home?

WFU is using an enterprise version of OpenDNS branded as Cisco Umbrella. You may still use the consumer product, OpenDNS, at home.

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