Multifactor authentication (MFA) is the process of using two or more factors of authentication to grant access. This is sometimes called two-factor authentication (2FA) or 2-step verification. MFA is the most effective method for stopping unauthorized account access today. When combined, multiple factors of authentication provide a high level of confidence that the identity (user) is who they claim to be.
The factors of authentication are broken down into three categories, with examples of each:
Multifactor authentication through Duo is required of Northwestern for compliance purposes. Passwords are increasingly easy to compromise. They can often be stolen, guessed, or hacked — you might not even know someone is accessing your account. With Duo, you'll be alerted right away (on your phone) if any unauthorized access is attempted using your UNW credentials. This second factor of authentication is separate and independent from your username and password — Duo never sees your password.
What are my options?
There are multiple options for Duo MFA available to the UNW staff and faculty. Duo also lets you link multiple devices to your account, so you can use your mobile phone and a security key for example. If you have used one of the methods since enrolling but would like to switch to a more convenient way to use Duo, you can adjust your preferences using the Duo self-service portal the next time you login. UNW IT recommends using the Duo Mobile app methods for the most convenient and secure way to use Duo MFA.
No mobile phone?
You can use a hardware security key, an iOS or Android tablet, or a landline telephone.
Example Duo Push
Example Duo Passcode
Not sure which option is best for you? Contact the IT Service Desk!