Cisco Clean Access Agent? What the Heck is That?!

closeThis post was published 13 years 4 months 6 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

Welcome to the wonderful world of paranoia. In its infinite wisdom, Augsburg College, a place I will be going often this year, has begun to require (not suggest, not recommend, require) a program called “Cisco Clean Access Agent.” Fortunately, it only applies to Windows computers (well, that makes it better…), but you can’t access the network without it. Actually, you can, but it’s only a limited network that allows ports 80 (HTTP) and 443 (HTTPS) exclusively. No chat, no gaming, no POP, no nothing. Only surfing. Period. What’s wrong here?

The thing is, I don’t want to have another startup application running all the time just so I can access the Augsburg network a couple times a week. And I don’t want to start it before connecting and exit before I leave; that’s just too many inconvenience clicks. I wouldn’t mind it having to be installed on all of their equipment; that’s their business, and that would always be connected to their network. I do mind them forcing it on me. Now, if I lived at Augsburg, it would be one thing; my computer would be there 95% of the time. But I don’t live at Augsburg; I live at my house, with its own, non-Cisco network (Linksys, thank you!), and the software would just waste RAM and CPU usage (plus disk space) most of the time. The only reason I come is because my mom takes classes and I’m sometimes stuck. So I work on the ‘Net. I never had to do this before.

Last year they added authentication to the network, instead of just encrypting the login. Now this. I have no idea what data this application is transmitting to the authentication server, nor can I use anything without it. This is over the wired network. The wireless network doesn’t yet require the agent, but it probably will in January. For now, I’ll use the wireless to avoid having to run the agent, but I’ll probably be forced anyway come next year. Ah, progress… Harrumph.


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

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