North Texas Daily

University utilizes Duo to improve student account security

University utilizes Duo to improve student account security

University utilizes Duo to improve student account security
October 21
11:52 2022

The university recently partnered with Duo to implement multifactor authentification software on student email accounts.

It began requesting students enroll their student emails in Duo on Sept. 12, running the enrollment process through Oct. 12, according to a university newsletter.

“I think that it’s a good thing,” said Danny Diaz, a business computer information systems sophomore. “As technology progresses, there’s less safety, and I think student accounts need to be safe.”

Duo, a subsidiary of Cisco, is a company that provides unified access security and multifactor authentication to organizations. The software works similarly to other multifactor authentication services by implementing another layer of verification through a mobile device, phone, passcode or token when a user tries to log into an account.

“Duo adds an additional, or second layer of, security beyond a password,” said Adam Fein, vice president of Digital Strategy and Innovation at the university. “The attacker then would need more than just a password to access an account [or] system protected by Duo or any multifactor authentication service.

The university has been working to improve, and it seems to be working, said Fein.

“During the rollout of this effort, there was at least one attempt by an attacker to obtain the one-time password from a student whose account was protected by Duo,” Fein said. “The student reported the issue to the UNT Helpdesk, and the account was not breached.”

Multifactor authentication can have a major impact on the ability of students to protect their account information. These methods of securing accounts prevent nearly all attacks, including when a password is compromised, according to Microsoft.

“It tends to work pretty well, and [I think] it’s good to only have one password to use for everything,” music sophomore Nathaniel Gustafson said. “But a lot of times it doesn’t carry over very well, like, sometimes I have to log into something through UNT[‘s system] I’ve never used before, [and] it won’t recognize I have an account.”

Fein said Duo has been used since 2019 to help secure various accounts for the university but student account safety is a driving factor behind the university’s decision to further implement Duo. The software was selected because of its compatibility with the university’s campus enterprise system.

The university is offering to help any students having trouble with their Duo accounts at the technology helpdesk or via their website.

“Generally, it is just important to remain aware of your accounts and access history,” Fein said. “No reason to be anxious but be aware.  And we’re always here to help.”

Featured Image: A phone receives a staged push notification from the Duo on Oct. 10, 2022. Photo by Coralynn Cole

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John Eberhart

John Eberhart

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