Two-factor Authentication (2FA) Available and Recommended at Tufts

Christine C. Fitzgerald
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 3:30pm

Tax season is upon us and with it we often see an increase in phishing and malware attacks trying to steal your identity, and in some cases, filing fraudulent tax returns using your identity! Have you done all you can to protect your identity and data?

In order to help you protect valuable data, like your electronic tax statements (W-2s), or your direct deposit information, Tufts recommends that staff and faculty enroll in the new two-factor authentication (2FA) service with Duo Security. 2FA provides an extra layer of security that helps protect you by ensuring you can safely sign in to many applications and websites at Tufts, including eServe, Email, Box (for collaboration), Trunk and the Research Administration System (RAS). See the full list of systems/services at Tufts protected by 2FA.

Why should I use 2FA?
Passwords are commonly stolen or cracked by hackers and thieves. Tax and payroll information are common high-value targets for hackers. With your Tufts University password alone and no additional protections, thieves could potentially change your direct deposit information or steal your personal data.

“I like the idea in general, and I wish, given the history of hacking / phishing here at Tufts, we would have had access to this option sooner.”

Albert Tai, Research Asst. Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

2FA’s additional layer of protection requires anyone trying to log in as you to also verify that they are you by providing information via a second method of authentication, often your smartphone. Because 2FA means authenticating your identity via two separate methods, one of which isn’t your password, even if a hacker obtains your login credentials, the information is useless without access to the secondary device you have setup. Additionally, you are alerted that someone is trying to access your data and you can in one step immediately stop them and notify Information Security. With the adoption and protection provided by 2FA at Tufts, we now can reduce the frequency of password resets to be done as needed and recommended annually.

If you have elected to receive your W-2s electronically, it is highly recommended you enroll in 2FA before accessing and downloading them.

Self-service Enrollment Available
After successfully completing a pilot/early adopter phase enrolling almost 800 people across Tufts, we are excited to be able to launch the self-service portal to allow the broader community to enroll in 2FA.  With self-service enabled, the community can now enroll in 2FA online and setup a mobile phone, tablet, or landline (desk or home phone). (It is recommended that everyone setup two authentication methods.)

To get started, we encourage you to set aside 20 minutes to review the documentation, register your devices, and become accustomed to using 2FA.

Additional information about 2FA, benefits, features and info on the pilot can be found in the following articles.

Need help?
If you would like us to present on 2FA at one of your department meetings or if you need assistance setting up 2FA, please contact the TTS Service Desk by phone (617) 627-3376 or by emailing it@tufts.edu.

There is no guarantee that using 2FA will completely protect your credentials from hackers. But chances are, hackers won’t have access to your smartphone (or alternative method of authentication) too! Protect your identity, data and Tufts resources – get 2FA today!