2Factor Authentication (2FA) – Overview

This page provides an overview of Two-Factor Authentication for BSD staff and faculty at the University of Chicago.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

2Factor Authentication (2FA) enhances the security of your BSDAD account by using your phone, tablet or other device to verify your identity when you attempt to access BSD applications. This prevents anyone but you from using your account to log in to websites or web-based services where the service owners have chosen for all authentication to use 2FA, even if they know your BSDAD account password.

How Does It Work?

 If you’ve signed up for 2FA, when you attempt to access a protected BSD application, such as BSD VPN, you’ll be prompted to enter your username and password as usual (the first “factor”). You will then be taken to the 2Factor Authentication screen where you will select the device of your choice and the preferred method of verification—push notification, a phone call, or a passcode—you will use to verify that it’s you (the second “factor”).

What Devices Can I Use?

 2FA lets you link multiple devices to your account, so you can use your mobile phone, a landline, and a hardware token, as your second factor.

The easiest method is to register your smartphone. You can also use a landline if none of the other options are available to you.

Why Do I Need This?

 Passwords are becoming increasingly easy to compromise. They can be stolen, guessed, and hacked, and new technology and hacking techniques combined with the limited pool of passwords most people use for multiple accounts means information online is increasingly vulnerable. You might not even know who else has your password and is accessing your accounts.

2Factor Authentication adds a second layer of security to your account to make sure that your account stays safe, even if someone else knows your password. This second factor of authentication is separate and independent from the BSDAD account and password step — 2FA never uses or even sees your password.