The University has been at particularly high risk of cyber-attack during the pandemic because people are working from home using multiple devices to connect to work accounts. Therefore, the University is now implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all Single Sign-On (SSO) users across the University.
What is MFA?
Multi-factor authentication, sometimes referred to as two-factor authentication or 2FA, is a security enhancement that allows you to present two pieces of evidence when logging in to an account. SSO credentials, based only on a username and password, are vulnerable to phishing attacks which, when successful, give an attacker direct access to confidential or sensitive information.
Your credentials fall into any of these three categories: something you know (like a password or PIN), something you have (like a smart card), or something you are (like your fingerprint). Your credentials must come from two different categories to enhance security.
The primary benefit of multi factor authentication is that it provides additional security by adding protection in layers, making it harder for male-actors to gain access to critical systems and data.
An example - Logging into your Paypal account
If you’ve turned on MFA on you Paypal account, things will go a little different. First, you will type in your username and password. Then, as a second factor, you will receive a code in a text message, with a one-time generated code that you will enter on your screen or you could use your finger print as a second factor. Then you’re logged in.
Credit: NIST/Natasha Hanacek
Benefits of using MFA
- Enhancing compliance and mitigating legal risks.
- MFA is a vital aspect of effective cyber security.
- Setting security expectations.
- Reduce the number of SSO account being compromised.
When should I use MFA?
Always – wherever possible, especially when it comes to your most sensitive data such as your financial accounts, primary email and health records.
How can I prepare?
Find out more about MFA and how to prepare by visiting the project page.