This is the city of Jacksonville's new website, at jacksonville.gov. | City of JacksonvilleThis is the city of Jacksonville's new website, at jacksonville.gov. | City of Jacksonville
This is the city of Jacksonville's new website, at jacksonville.gov. | City of Jacksonville

#AskJAXTDY l Why can’t I access jacksonville.gov while overseas?

Published on December 22, 2023 at 1:10 pm

Q. A Jacksonville Today reader, Israel C., wanted to know why he was not able to access jacksonville.gov or floridabar.org while overseas.

“I could not access the new Jax website. Is this because I am located in Israel?”

A. Access to jacksonville.gov is blocked to everyone outside the United States due to security reasons, the city says. Floridabar.org is blocked in most countries outside the U.S. for the same reason.

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The city did not answer follow-up questions about what the security concerns are and when access might be restored.

Jacksonville Today reached out to a cyber security expert at the University of North Florida about threats in general. Swap Roy, an associate professor in computing, said hackers commonly will use what he called “injections,” which can be done many different ways, from getting onto a website without a valid password to changing the contents of a website.  

“It’s one of the most widely used ways, preferred ways for attackers to take down a website,” Roy said.

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Other threats include phishing, in which hackers send an email that looks legitimate to get someone to click on a malicious link. That type of activity could provide the hacker with access to a website.

Roy said an individual organization, not an internet service provider, would typically block overseas users in the case of security concerns.

“It is the policy of an organization that defines what kind of traffics are allowed or disallowed, to flow in and out back and forth in an organization,” Roy said. 

The Florida Bar says it is frequently the target of attacks from international hackers. If any other members need access internationally, they should use a virtual private network, which allows a person to step around a blocked website, the Bar says.

Roy does not recommend that method. If a website is blocked, he said, it’s for a reason.


Have a question you’d like the Jacksonville Today team to look into? Email news@jaxtoday.org with #AskJAXTDY in the subject line, and you might see your answer soon.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Steven Ponson has six years of experience covering news in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. Prior to arriving on the First Coast, Steven also worked in radio in Orlando. He attended the University of Central Florida where he earned a degree in radio and television. Steven has been a reporter, producer, anchor and board operator. Outside of work, Steven loves to watch sports, cook delicious cajun food (as any good Louisiana native does) and spend time outdoors.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Steven Ponson has six years of experience covering news in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. Prior to arriving on the First Coast, Steven also worked in radio in Orlando. He attended the University of Central Florida where he earned a degree in radio and television. Steven has been a reporter, producer, anchor and board operator. Outside of work, Steven loves to watch sports, cook delicious cajun food (as any good Louisiana native does) and spend time outdoors.

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