Two-factor Authentication (2FA) in Awareness and Pilot Phase at Tufts

Christine C. Fitzgerald
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 2:30pm

Whether we like it or not, passwords alone are no longer sufficient, especially when it comes to protecting our identity and data.

“During a time when we continue to read about massive security breaches in the news headlines, 2FA will provide increased security and better protection for Tufts and each of you", stated Lorna Koppel, Director of Information Security. "There has been such an increase in phishing attacks lately that makes it even more important to protect ourselves, Tufts, and our data.”

There are a number of things you can do to be proactive about protecting your identity and your data.

  • Use strong passwords, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts (Tufts and personal accounts).
  • Take advantage of Tufts’ two-factor authentication (2FA) offering – where you are authenticating your identity via two separate factors, one of which isn’t your password – it can be your mobile device, a landline, a token or passcodes – which significantly increases security.

The 2FA program is currently piloting the service with a number of areas across all campuses at Tufts, including early adopters from Tufts Support Services (TSS), Dental School, Information Stewards, and General Council. The goal is to further test and refine the service before it’s made available University-wide this year. So far, the feedback from the pilot phase has allowed us to improve and refine the tools for registering and accessing 2FA (using the DuoSecurity app) based on how our community interacts with the service.

“We want to make sure we’ve work out most of the kinks before launching to the broader university.” Koppel stated.

What’s in it for me (WIIFM) – Benefits and features

Would you rather have your identity, data and credentials potentially stolen or have to take an additional step when accessing systems to ensure a higher level of security?

Aside from providing you with added security and decreasing your risk of account compromise and identity theft, Tufts 2FA using DuoSecurity provides a number of features and functionality that make it easy to use:

  1. You choose the devices you want to use for the second factor: your mobile phone, home phone, or office phone.
  2. 2FA is mobile accessible, which makes it available even when you are on the go.
  3. If someone attempts to use your login, the minute they try to login as you, you will be alerted.
  4. The “Remember me for 7 days” reduces the number of times you have to confirm your identity on a specific website or browser.

Where can I use 2FA (DuoSecurity)?

There are many services at Tufts which are protected by 2FA (2FA-Enable Web Applications) from commonly used ones like Email, Box for storage, and White Pages to others like eServe, WebEx, and Axiom for financial planning and forecasting. See the full list of systems/services at Tufts protected by 2FA.

Let’s Get Started

2FA will be available to all of the Tufts community – Faculty, Staff and Students. The rollout and implementation – which initially is encouraged but available on an opt-in basis – is planned for later this winter and is being phased-in to ensure a smooth adoption of the service.

There are a number of things available to help prepare you for 2FA:

  • Road Shows – Tufts Technology Services (TTS) will continue to conduct road shows to educate the community about what 2FA is and why it is important.
  • Online Books and Videos – There is a series of online documentation (including video tutorials) created to assist you in getting acquainted with 2FA and DuoSecurity. We recommend you start with Learn about 2FA.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – if you are already using 2FA, you can find answers to commonly asked questions related to your account, devices and the Duo Mobile application in this section.

Are you ready to get started? Let us know if your department or division is ready to learn more and start using 2FA.

If you haven’t been part of a road show and want us to come and present at one of your upcoming meetings or if you have questions about the 2FA service, please contact the TTS Service Desk at 617-627-3376 or it@tufts.edu.

Passwords and 2FA – working together to protect Tufts and our community!