Letter to the Editor: UMN provides two-factor authentication for campus community

Letter to the Editor

In the “Hide your kids, hide your Wi-Fi” opinion piece published on September 13, Uma Venkata raised concerns about how few people on campus take advantage of two-factor authentication, a technology that adds a layer of security to help protect your online accounts.

As Venkata noted, hacking and phishing attacks are real threats. At the University of Minnesota, financial aid, pay checks, and identity theft can be the unfortunate consequence of unintentionally sharing passwords with clever phishing scammers. Venkata advocated for using Google’s two-factor authentication (Google Authenticator), which works well for your personal Gmail accounts.

Currently at the U of M, students, staff, and faculty can opt in to Duo Security, the University’s two-factor authentication provider. Beginning in November, and over the course of the following 12 months, students, faculty, staff and sponsored accounts will be required use Duo Security at the UMN Sign-In page. The Sign-In page is the University’s gateway to applications such as MyU, G Suite applications, Canvas and many other services.

The requirement will take effect at the time that a University community member’s annual UMN password will need to be reset. Community members will be notified by email two weeks in advance to register for Duo. Learn more about Duo Security at Sign in at it.umn.edu/duo-security-sign-in.

Duo two-factor authentication will help students, faculty and staff protect their UMN accounts, financial aid, paychecks, identities and more. The information technology team is excited to provide this benefit to University community members – and to improve the institution’s cybersecurity. Communications to affected members of the University community will occur throughout the process.

This letter has been lightly edited for clarity and style.

Bernard Gulachek is the vice president and chief information officer at the University of Minnesota.