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How do I securely connect to Deakin off-site using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) (Windows computers)?

A VPN lets you create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. When you connect your computer to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s on the same network as the VPN. This is useful if you need to access something on that network, or if you’re overseas or using free Wi-Fi and need to protect yourself from unauthorised parties gaining access to your data.

If you need to connect to the Deakin network when you're off-site, there are two Deakin VPNs available for you to use. If you are registered for Multi-Factor Authentication, you need to approve your connection to the Deakin VPN using the DUO app or your hardware token.

Install the Cisco AnyConnect software on your non-Deakin computer

You’ll need to follow these instructions to install Cisco AnyConnect on a Windows computer that is not owned by Deakin. If you use a Deakin computer, skip this section and go straight to 'Start the Cisco AnyConnect connection'.

  1. Go to the Deakin Software Library and select Browse By Category,
  2. Under Connectivity tools select Cisco AnyConnect,
  3. Download the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client for Windows,
  4. Launch the Cisco AnyConnect installer. The program will install the software and apply the required settings—no further action is required.

Start the Cisco AnyConnect connection

If you're using a Deakin computer, you can proceed to connect to the Deakin VPN following the steps below, without having to install any new software.

Note: Both VPNs require you to use Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) if DUO is active on your staff or student account. We've outlined more information about this below.

  1. On your computer, search for and open Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.
  2. The VPN window will open. Select a VPN from the drop down menu, then click Connect. There are two VPNs to choose from. Both VPNs are very secure.
    1. Deakin VPN (Unencrypted Internet) – Use this VPN if you’re working from home or from a trusted network. Deakin traffic goes through the VPN tunnel, while Internet traffic goes outside the tunnel directly via ISP.
    2. Deakin VPN (Encrypted Internet) – Use this VPN if you’re working overseas or from an unknown network (like public Wi-Fi). Deakin and Internet traffic go through the VPN tunnel. This VPN may make your connection slower, so we recommend only using it if you need to and instead using the unencrypted connection if working from home.
  3. You'll now be prompted to 'Please enter your Deakin username and password'. Enter your Deakin username in the 'Username' field and your Deakin password in the 'Password' field.
  4. The third field, 'ENTER PIN or 'PUSH' is for those staff who are registered for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA means you'll need to verify your log-in with your mobile phone or hardware token.

    To obtain a PIN to enter in this field, open the DUO app on your mobile device (see image below), enter the PIN in the 'Enter PIN or 'PUSH' field on your computer, and click OK. Or, enter the word ‘PUSH’ in the 'Enter PIN or 'PUSH' field on your computer and click OK, then tap Approve on your mobile device when a notification appears.

    NOTE: the first time you connect to the VPN, the 'Enter PIN or 'PUSH' field may say 'Second Password'. Please follow the steps above as if it said 'Enter PIN or 'PUSH'. If you have not registered for Multi-Factor Authentication (DUO), simply leave the ‘Enter PIN or ‘PUSH’’ field blank, then click OK.

    Screenshot prompting user to enter username, password and PIN or PUSH

    screenshot displaying pin code on DUO app

    screenshot prompting user to approve a push notification
  5. After you've entered your log-in details and clicked OK, the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client will minimise as it connects you to the VPN. Different pop-up windows will appear in succession with the message “Network access allowed.” This indicates a successful VPN connection.

    Screenshot of Cisco AnyConnect prompt

    Screenshot of Cisco AnyConnect prompt

    Screenshot of Cisco AnyConnect prompt

    Note: Your web browser may pop-up as shown in the image below the first time you connect to the VPN, as your computer installs any required updates. You can ignore or close the pop-up browser window and it will not impact the connection. Clicking Start will only display the progress.

  6. You’ll be able to see if you’re connected to the VPN when the following icon is in the System Tray, located in the bottom right corner of your computer screen.

    Screenshot of acticve VPN connection icon in system tray

Disconnect the Cisco AnyConnect (VPN) connection

  1. To end your VPN connection, click on the AnyConnect icon in the system tray on the desktop.

    Screenshot of active connection icon
  2. Click Disconnect

    Screenshot of how to disconnect VPN
  3. After you’ve disconnected, close the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.


You do not need to use the VPN if you are on campus or connected to Deakin Wi-Fi. Similarly, the VPN will not connect if you are on campus or connected to Deakin Wi-Fi. If you do try to connect in these scenarios, you may see the below error messages:

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