Oct 25 – MU Students and Microsoft Multi Factor Authentication

During week 3 of National Cyber Security Awareness Month we concentrated on Duo Security App that the faculty, staff, and administrators use to help secure the MU infrastructure. This week we will concentrate on Microsoft MFA that the students use for multi factor authentication.

Microsoft Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) creates an additional layer of security when logging into your Microsoft Office 365 account and other campus resources. This additional security is associated with something in your possession, such as a personal smartphone, that would be unavailable to someone who gained access to your Microsoft Office 365 account.

The first factor in MFA is your account password. The most convenient second factor option is to use the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app on your smartphone to approve the sign-in. Other options are detailed in “How does Microsoft Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) work?” that follows.

If the wrong code or no code is entered, your Microsoft Office 365 account cannot be accessed.

How does Microsoft Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) work?
Microsoft MFA requires that you specify how you want to provide the second factor as part of your Microsoft Office 365 account log in. Microsoft MFA provides the following second factor options:

  • A (free) Microsoft Authenticator mobile app running on your iOS or Android smartphone that requests that you confirm your log in attempt. This is the most convenient option.
  • A text message sent to your smartphone or SMS text-capable telephone providing a code to enter in the login window.
  • An automated voice call to a designated telephone number providing a code to enter to sign-on.

Even if you are not familiar with Microsoft MFA, you’ve probably used MFA already if you’ve logged into a website that sent a code to your phone, which you then entered to access to your account.

What are the benefits of Microsoft Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)?
Microsoft MFA helps protect you by adding an additional layer of security, making it harder for attackers to log in as if they were you. Your information is safer because attackers would need access to both your password and code or authorization from your device or phone. By keeping your account secure, you will also help protect your school and your community by minimizing the opportunity for hackers to take advantage of unsecured accounts. In 2019, Microsoft reported that your account is 99.9% less likely to be compromised if you use MFA.

If you have any questions regarding Microsoft MFA, please contact the Help Desk at 717-871-7777 or by emailing them at help@millersville.edu.