What is DUO?


By Tristan Blake Rines | trines@radford.edu

Effective Oct. 23, if you do not have the DUO Two-Factor authentication service, Radford University is going to freeze your RU Portal.

Why is the university pushing this service on the Radford University community, and why do we need it?

DUO Two-Factor is a security service that allows login authentication and authorization from your phone or tablet.

When you register with the service, you get options like a call, push notification, or text notification that will allow you to confirm that you are logging in from a separate or new device.

Andrew Travis, the information security officer for Radford University, explained further, “Two-factor authentication is taking a step beyond just knowing your password [which] those can easily be stolen by going to a malicious website and you don’t realize it.”

Travis further states, “What that second factor does is it takes something you have on you [which] that can be your phone [and] if for some reason you were fished, and someone got your password they still have to have your phone to log in as you.”

Now, why does the university want everyone to have it?

According to the university’s overview of Duo, “The number of phishing emails and malware attacks has increased dramatically in recent months … Two-Factor authentication can stop most email breaches and help keep attackers from accessing other documents, payroll, personal information, or research data.”

“You don’t have to have the app, because we can understand people might not want to install it on their phone,” said Travis.

“It is just slower when DUO calls; the app is the fastest way to do it. It’s the most convenient way to do it. But it’s not a requirement, you can have it call your phone too.”

DUO is in effect not just for students, but for faculty and professors, clubs and organizations as well as alumni.

Travis says, “So the target groups are students, faculty and staff, retirees, and we call them non-person departmental accounts also known as club accounts. So those will have to be enrolled as well. Because a lot of club accounts have been compromised … many of those accounts will be required to use it as well.”

He goes on saying, “Later we’ll require alumni, and the only reason we’re doing alumni later is [that we] think of people that need support.” Our faculty, staff, and students need to get into their email and D2L. “Alumni, they can wait a little bit.”

For faculty and professors on campus, the lesson plan will not require your phone to teach your students.

“We’ve made it so classrooms and labs on campus … don’t have to use DUO … we don’t want it to be a hindrance for professors,” Travis states.

Students on campus have already become acclimated with the service, including junior social work major McKaylia Simon, “I guess its okay. I don’t really notice it unless I need to press the push.”

The intention of the DUO service at Radford University is to protect the community from electronic harm and keep accounts safe from fishing and malware attacks, and the university is hoping the service can achieve just that.