“Auf wiedersehen” perilous passwords, “olà” MFA

Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

71 percent hacking breaches made with stolen/weak passwords

No matter what country you are in, the risk is the same. Passwords continue to be fraught with the potential to be hacked before you can blink. Unsafe choices for what should be the key to all your personal information persist even after nearly three decades following the arrival of the PC. Exacerbated by the wildly popular new tech, passwords remain easily crackable. As Security Architect Sandeep Gupta observes, “uOttawa’s security is only as strong as our weakest link. That is why security must be everyone’s responsibility starting with a strong password.”

The advent of the digital transformation at the University includes strategies such as creating a better mobile experiences and using applications in the cloud. Such strategies demand a solution that can withstand the anticipated onslaught to account credentials as less control is directly managed onsite.

Some MFA options

Some MFA options

Multi-factor or 2-factor authentication (aka MFA or 2FA) is security’s response to minimizing these risks. Why? Because this supplementary authentication (the first one being your password) is applied only when needed and gives us more secure access at a relatively low cost. The complexity of the technical environments continues to increase with more points of access than we could have imagined a decade ago. People working remotely at a café use the free Wi-Fi, unwittingly compromising their credentials. MFA adds a layer of protection to prevent hackers from getting into our VPN. At uOttawa, MFA was a priority. Security Services manager, Jean-Ray Arseneau comments, “Leading or innovating means recognizing the path well-travelled, but forging your own, distinct path. For MFA, we evaluated the Canadian landscape and we decided we could do better.“

Security coming out of your wrist

Move over Timex. We’ve met modern times. Approve all your MFA requests from your Apple Watch. At uOttawa, MFA is being deployed. Once you’ve install the nifty app on your iPhone, it’ll replicate onto your watch. Niiicce indeed. No need to pull your phone out of your pocket. Now that’s a true user experience we want more of. Exclaims IT Strategic Initiatives manager, Jacqueline Oliver, “With MFA being deployed at uOttawa, it’s got to be one of the top 5 features to value on my watch.” Gracias.

Apple watch mfa approval message

 

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