What is Multi-Factor Authentication and how do I use it?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an additional layer of security that can prevent unauthorised access to your University account by combining something you know (your username and password) with something you have (e.g. a code from a mobile application) to prove your identity.
MFA is a measure to combat the increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Once set up with MFA, even if an attacker manages to learn your password, they will still need your mobile to login to your email or SharePoint.
Here are some answers to student questions about Multi-Factor Authentication.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is MFA?
Multi Factor Authentication pairs your University password with an additional form of security, usually an app on your smart phone. You will only be asked to authenticate using MFA when you are working or studying off site and accessing University services.
However, due to the increasingly sophisticated levels of cybercrime, it is essential that everyone who uses a University account to access services sets up their account with an additional security method as soon as possible. MFA is being implemented as a way to combat cyber attacks, of which Universities are a prime target. We want to ensure you are protected on and off campus and that your personal information remains secure.
I have a new mobile phone, but kept the same number, do I need to do anything?
If you have kept the same mobile number, then as long as you followed the set up guide and selected a call to your mobile number as a secondary method you can choose to 'sign in another way' and will receive a call to your phone.
Once logged in, delete the record that shows your original Authenticator method as that will be linked to your old mobile phone. You must then add the Authenticator app method again using '+Add method' button and download the Authenticator app on to your new mobile phone.
What if I'm worried about data privacy?
The Microsoft Authenticator App does not request any personal information, it simply holds an electronic token unique to your University account.
What if I don't have a smartphone or I don't have enough space to install the app?
The Microsoft Authenticator App is the preferred method and will give you the best experience however, if your phone is incapable of running the App, you can select the alternative method of a phone call.
You can change your default MFA method by visiting the Additional Security Verification page. You can also download the 'Authenticator App' to your tablet.
What should I do if my phone is lost/stolen/broken or I've reset my software?
Remember to always register an alternative method of MFA for emergencies, such as your home landline. If you have alternate authentication methods configured in your Additional Security Verification page then please select “Sign in another way” when at the MFA prompt screen.
Once logged in you can now update or change your phone number. Otherwise, please contact the Service Desk for assistance.
What is the recommended method of MFA?
The recommended method, and easiest to use, is the Microsoft Authenticator app on your smartphone or tablet. The free app can be downloaded to your phone from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
You can also receive a voice call, where all you need to do is tap the '#; key. The phone call refers to it as the 'pound sign'.
You should select one of these methods as your default, but we recommend you also set up an alternative emergency method such as a home landline so your have an alternative method in the event there is an issue with your mobile device.
Can I delete the App?
Do not delete the app, unless you have already registered alternative methods of MFA, such as the 'Phone me' option. You will need it to login to Ulster University services.
What if I am concerned about using my personal mobile for University?
Keeping your University account secure will protect both the organisation and your own personal data. Your personal mobile phone details are not used for any other purpose than protecting your account.
By adding the Microsoft Authenticator App to your personal phone this is just providing a method to confirm who you are. The app is not used to manage or control your phone or provide any personal data.
I'm planning on buying a new phone and changing my number, what do I need to do?
You should log in to your account while you still have access to you old phone, in order to add Additional Security Verification methods.
Here you can add the 'Phone number' method and provide your new mobile phone number and you can also add the Authenticator app method again using '+Add method' button and download the Authenticator app on to your new mobile phone.
This will ensure that when you lose access to your old phone and number you will not be locked out of your account.