Mandatory two-factor authentication (2FA) effective November 3, 2020

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Last year, IST introduced optional two-factor authentication (2FA) for many of our campus enterprise systems. 2FA adds a second layer of security to University accounts, keeping them secure even if the password is compromised. Our partners in Finance went a step further and mandated 2FA for student access to sensitive financial information in Quest. Several departments, including IST, Registrar's Office, Finance, and Human Resources, have mandated 2FA for their employees. Over 40,000 University of Waterloo accounts are now protected by 2FA.

The next step of this implementation is to make 2FA mandatory for the following systems, effective November 3, 2020 (previously announced as November 1, 2020): 

  • Campus virtual private network (VPN) 
  • Office 365 (including email) 
  • Quest, Workday, Unit4, Concur 
  • LEARN 

What does this mean for you? 

Effective November 3, 2020, University students and employees will be required to enrol in the University's 2FA service to gain access to these systems. Instructions for enabling 2FA on your account are available on the IST 2FA website. You are encouraged to enroll early to familiarize yourself with this service prior to the implementation date.  

Enhanced usability and security with Duo 

The University's two-factor authentication service is provided by Duo Security and offers a number of features for enhanced usability and security: 

  • Duo Push – Smartphone users should download the Duo Mobile App, which is the most secure and convenient 2FA option and involves simply selecting ‘Accept’ or ‘Decline’ when prompted.  
  • Remember me for 30 days – If you use the same web browser and computer on a regular basis, this option can result in lowering the number of 2FA challenges you receive to, at most, once per month, per application. 
  • Support for multiple phones and tokens – You can register more than one phone. You can use hardware tokens. 

While the 2FA service provided by Duo Security supports SMS passcodes, we advise against their use, if possible, due to the increase in mobile phone porting fraud.

Still have questions? 

Start by visiting the 2FA website and reviewing the support articles available in the IST knowledge base. Please direct any questions you may still have to the IST Service Desk, helpdesk@uwaterloo.ca, or submit a ticket to Request Tracker (RT)

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