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Oregon students to use two-factor authentication when accessing university accounts

The University of Oregon is extending its use of the two-factor authentication platform, Duo, to include the entire student population over the coming winter and spring terms. All UO students will be required enroll in the two-step login service to secure their Duck ID student accounts going forward.

According to an official university release, this spring term will begin the on-boarding process that will see all students required to use Duo to access protected UO services such as Canvas, Zoom, UOmail and Microsoft applications like Word and Teams. Duo had previously been required for all UO faculty members, staff and graduate employees as far back as July 2020, but this latest expansion now includes all students.

To encourage student enrollment in Duo during the voluntary period, the university’s Information Services is holding a prize drawing. Any student who opts in by March 12 will automatically be entered to win one of 82 prizes consisting of $10 or $50 in Duck Bucks or gift cards to the Duck Store or Starbucks.

The two-factor authentication provided by Duo consists of a two-step verification at the time a student logs into their student account. After first entering a username and password, users must then verify their identity by tapping a button on a mobile app, entering a code or answering a phone call.

University officials say that smartphones have been the most popular second-factor device option by far. Alternatives to the mobile app include text messages and phone calls, as well as hardware tokens available from the university’s Information Services.

The Duo Mobile app can also send push notifications and generate passcodes, even without Wi-Fi or cellular service, to help students protect their accounts.

“Duo empowers you to thwart the hackers,” says Leo Howell, chief information security officer at the University of Oregon. “If a cybercriminal steals your password and tries to use your account, you can stop them by denying the Duo verification request.”

In spring term, all students who haven’t yet enrolled in Duo will be assigned a mandatory Duo enrollment deadline based on the last digit of their student ID number. By the end of spring term, all students will be required to use Duo.

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