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MFA coming to all students

SVSU is implementing multi-factor authentication for students when they are not connected to SVSU’s Wi-Fi.

Students will need to set it up between Oct. 5 and 18. They will not be prompted to authenticate until Monday, Oct. 21.

Larry Emmons, the director of technology and support systems, said it will add an extra layer of security.

“MFA is combining something you know (username and password) with something you have (phone, token or added security questions),” he said. “This adds another layer of security on accounts. If someone were to obtain your username and password, they would not be able to log in without the third method (something you have).”

MFA will use the added security method to protect students from hackers accessing their accounts.

“If the actors or hackers obtain a student’s username and password, they will not be able to log in without the third method provided by MFA,” Emmons said. “This is critical to implement as more and more people are falling for phishing attacks, and organizations are being targeted for the value of their user’s credentials.”

Advances in technology have made MFA more important.

“Cyber security is the new norm in technology,” Emmons said. “The actors, or hackers, have become more sophisticated in their ability to obtain users’ credentials. When a user leaks their credentials, or their credentials are obtained through other means, bad things begin to happen.”

Emmons said the easiest way to authenticate is with a smartphone.

“If the smartphone has a fingerprint scanner, just scan to approve,” he said. “The best part of this is it works on Wi-Fi, or cellular network, which means it will work virtually anywhere. If there is no authentication done within 55 seconds, people have the option to answer two security questions to gain access to the account.”

According to Emmons, if students get a verification request that they didn’t initiate, they should deny it. This prevents the hacker from obtaining access. Some students have already been using MFA.

Brantley Wilson, a psychology sophomore, is one of the students. Wilson said the authentication can be an inconvenience.

“Sometimes, when I’m on campus, I have to turn off the Wi-Fi because it isn’t working, and I still have to use the verification even though I’m on campus,” she said.

Wilson also said she doesn’t think the verification fully protects student’s information.

“I don’t get the purpose of it,” Wilson said. “If the person hacking into your account was on campus and connected to the Wi-Fi, they would be able to get into the account without the verification.”

If students don’t set up MFA between Oct. 5 and 18, they will be locked out of most SVSU applications beginning Oct. 21.

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