October 29, 2020

Securing SIU with multi-factor authentication

Since educational institutions are often targeted by cybercriminals, it is increasingly important to take extra security precautions. As a part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Office of Information Technology is strongly encouraging all faculty, staff and students to enroll in multi-factor authentication (MFA). 

This additional step in the current sign in process will further protect SIU login credentials as well as SIU accounts, systems and tools. Users can currently “opt in” to MFA and should do so now while it is convenient, because MFA credentials will be required starting January 2021, and users who have not enrolled will not be able to access important university systems and services such as email, the network, D2L, AIS and SIS systems, and SalukiNet until they do so.   

To incorporate multi-factor into the sign in process, users enroll in MFA and download the Duo app to their smartphone or mobile device. After enrollment, users will continue to log in with their SIU username and password exactly as they do now. Then they will be prompted to “verify” who they are by accepting a “push notification” or unique code received on their smartphone or mobile device. This is both the preferred method, and it is free. 

A second alternative allows users who do not want to install the Duo app on their smartphones or those who have older phones to receive MFA codes by text message. This alternative is free as well. 

A third option is entering a unique passcode generated by an MFA token. A token is a small device that is linked to the user’s SIU account. When users attempt to log in, they click the token, and it generates a one-time code that is entered as part of the log in process. A token costs $25 and can be purchased through SalukiTech. Since the token is both account and SIU-specific, it cannot be shared with others, and it must be purchased from SIU (other tokens will not work).  

Again, it is important that the campus community move to MFA this fall to avoid forgetting to enroll and then being without services and rushed to enroll in January. It is also important that people who supervise staff and those who advise or come in contact with students urge them to take this step now.  

Enrolling in MFA generally takes between 5 to 10 minutes, and help is available through SalukiTech at 618-453-5155 or salukitech@siu.edu. Information and instructions for MFA enrollment can also be found here.