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Accepting your Cyber Range Invitation

Have you already accepted your Range Exercise Area invitation email link?

  • Students - Access to the Virginia Cyber Range is limited to students whose instructors have enrolled them into a cyber range course. If you have not accepted an invitation into the Virginia Cyber Range you should search your email (including spam and trash folders) for an invitation email from contact@virginiacyberrange.net. Click on the hyperlink in that email and associate the OpenID provider of your choice with your Virginia Cyber Range account.

  • Instructors - If you have been invited to join the Cyber Range with an instructor account, you should search your email (including spam and trash folders) for an invitation email from contact@virginiacyberrange.net. Click on the hyperlink in that email and associate the OpenID provider of your choice with your Virginia Cyber Range account. If you have not yet been invited to join the Cyber Range, please see the article titled Getting an Instructor Account.

  • Students Not Receiving Invitation emails - If you are attempting to join the Virginia Cyber Range but are not receiving invitation emails, please see the article titled Not Receiving Course Email Invitation.

Any Welcome or Error Messages?

Do you arrive at the “Thanks for your Interest" page and/or, do you see an error message that says “unable to get courses”?

This error usually indicates that you have not accepted a course invitation or that you are using a different OpenID provider (Google or Microsoft) than you used when you accepted your course invitation. In this case, try the following:

  • Students - Confirm that you have accepted your course invitation by contacting your instructor (or if you are an instructor, contact support) who can tell you whether you have accepted your course invitation or not.

  • Students & Instructors - Confirm that you are using the same OpenID provider and account that you used when you accepted your course invitation.

Cyber Range Authentication Requirements

Authentication and getting logged into the Cyber Range relies on several “layers” of client PC/browser settings. Some of these requirements are controlled by your school or institution's network, system, and domain administrators, and so they should also be made aware of these requirements. Any of the following misconfigurations can cause Cyber Range login issues:

  • Web Browser Settings - There are many factors that contribute to login, cookie, and pop-up issues in web browsers. While browser security controls are intended to reduce pop-up spam and malware, they can also prevent legitimate apps and websites like the Cyber Range from working properly, so some flexibility and tweaking may be required. Please see the section below titled Browser Troubleshooting for more information.

  • PC/Laptop System Clock & Time/Date Skew - While uncommon, laptop and PC system clock issues can interfere with the login process when the system time and date deviate from the actual time and date by more than a few days, so please make sure to check that your system clock is accurate for your location. Please see the section below titled PC/Laptop System Clock (Time & Date) Skew for more information.

  • Network Restrictions - Login issues may also arise from network restrictions placed on your organization by your IT administrators. These can range from access control lists (ACLs) to firewall restrictions and more. If you believe you are being denied access to the Cyber Range because of a network restriction, please reach out to your organizational IT administrator for assistance. Also, please see the section below titled School Networks for more information.

  • School Domain Settings - Some organizations may decide to place additional Domain Authentication restrictions on an organization. For more information related to this, please see the section below titled Google/Microsoft Domain Auth Restrictions.

If any of these are too restrictive, or misconfigured, logging into the Cyber Range can be problematic and sometimes difficult to diagnose. Look at each of the sections below to determine what might be causing your user login issues and gather as much information as you can when submitting a ticket to our customer support team.

Browser Troubleshooting

Issues you may experience in the Cyber Range may be caused by your browser confirguation settings and have the ability to disrupt your web browsing experience. If you have accepted your course invitation and you are sure that you are using the same OpenID provider and account that you used when you accepted the invitation, try the following:

  • Different Browser - Try logging in to the range using a different browser. Various browsers (and even browser versions) vary in their level of HTML5 compliance, which the Virginia Cyber Range requires. We have had the best luck with the Chrome and Firefox browsers, as they are generally the most HTML5 compliant.

  • Try "Private Browser" Mode - Try logging in using “Private Browser” mode (e.g.: InPrivate or InCognito modes). This mode will typically allow you to avoid any issues with caching or extensions. Please refer to the links below on utilizing a "Private Browser" mode in Google or Firefox.

  • Not Blocking Javascript - Be sure you are not blocking Javascript from running from the www.virginiacyberrange.org domain (in other words, if you are using a script blocker, whitelist www.virginiacyberrange.org).

  • Not Blocking Pop-ups - Please check that your browser is not blocking pop-up windows when attempting to login to the Cyber Range. Please refer to the links below to learn about allowing pop-ups in both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Don't forget to unblock our websites in your network. More information can be found in the article titled School Network Restrictions.

  • Check Your Privacy Extensions/Add-ons - Privacy extensions such as Privacy Badger and AVG AntiTrack have been known to block connections from Cyber Range resources to user hardware. We recommend that all users disable such software for Cyber Range resources to ensure that users have a stable connection. Please check that your privacy extensions and add-ons are not interfering with the Cyber Range. You can refer to the links below to learn how to manage or disable add-ons.

  • Check Antivirus Applications - Please make sure that your Antivirus applications are not restricting access to the Cyber Range. You may need to whitelist the Cyber Range domain in your application.

Exercise Environment Browser Troubleshooting

If you are experiencing issues with your exercise environment, you may need to refresh your browser or restart/reboot your machine. For more information, please see the articles and sections below:

PC/Laptop System Clock (Time & Date) Skew

Besides the browser issues above, other PC/laptop OS level issues can also cause web authentication problems. One that we occasionally see at the Cyber Range is that of the system clock not being synchronized, or one that has drifted a few hours, days or even months (or years!) away from the correct time. This can definitely cause problems at various levels of both your connection to the Cyber Range and general web browsing. An unsynchronized system clock may also interfere with authentication tokens between you, your OAuth provider (e.g. Google, MS-Azure, etc), and the Cyber Range.

Tip

The easiest way to troubleshoot client PC date/time issues is to simply examine your system’s time/date setting to see if it’s within an hour of being correct. If it is very far off (be sure to check the month and year too!), then correct it if you have access to do so. We recommend navigating to time.is to check your system clock for accuracy.

Some network/domain admins do not allow non-admin users to do this themselves. However, if you do have permission to adjust your date and time, please see the Microsoft Support article titled How to set your time and time zone for more information about how to set your time and time zone.

The Windows date and time widget can be found in the bottom-right corner of your Windows 10 desktop on the task bar.

If this is indeed an issue on your system, then it is likely affecting others on the network too, so be sure to inform your network/IT administrators. Your local network should be setting and correcting your network operating system’s clock when your system boots and connects to the network, so your network administrators may want to know about this.

School Networks

It is known that some school networks are more strict than others and may prevent access to the exercise area. Users should check the network and try to login from other networks such as home networks. More information can be found in the article titled School Network Restrictions.

Google/Microsoft Domain Auth Restrictions

While Domain Authentication restrictions are more rare and difficult to diagnose, some school IT/Domain administrators go the extra mile by locking down the school domain settings (e.g. Windows domain, MS-Azure, Google domain, etc) to block any/all third-party cookies, tokens, or non-school (aka “third-party”) domain authentication attempts. While very secure, this can interfere with the Cyber Range’s ability to use your school’s domain to authenticate against Google or Microsoft Azure based accounts.

If none of the previous troubleshooting tips have helped, then you may need to reach out to your organizational IT or “domain administrator” for more information on this organization level OAuth configuration.

Tip

Try using a different OAuth provider as a quick test to see if this is an issue for you. If your school’s Google authentication isn’t working, please try a Microsoft login (e.g. Outlook.com, 0365, microsoft.com Windows login, github, or other Microsoft backed account). If your school’s Microsoft/Azure login is blocked, please try a personal Gmail or YouTube (Google) login. If it works with a different provider, you should have your IT domain administrator investigate it.

Have a Question? Contact Support

Students: Please reach out to your Instructor or Admin who can submit a ticket to our Support team on your behalf.

If you are an Instructor or Admin and still have questions after reviewing the information above, please feel free to submit a ticket with our support team and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.