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Multi-factor Authentication at Northwestern: Password, Proof, Access

Modified: June 28, 2016

A change is coming to the way the Northwestern community logs in to several campus-wide systems to help protect University data and your personal information.

Beginning July 11, 2016, Northwestern will add Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), powered by Duo Security, to several University systems including NUFinancials, InfoEd, Business Intelligence System (Cognos), NUPortal, and CATracks.

The use of Multi-factor Authentication helps keep the University protected by adding a security step to confirm your identity before allowing access. You may have experienced this type of login security without realizing it, such as when accessing your bank account or Gmail account and getting an email or text message with an access code to verify it’s really you.

“Email scams and attempts to ’phish’ passwords have been increasing in frequency and becoming more sophisticated,” said Roger Safian, Acting Director, Information and Systems Security/Compliance Northwestern Information Technology. “Multi-factor Authentication is one more addition to Northwestern’s arsenal of information security measures used to help keep online criminals from gaining access to University data and personal information – even if someone learns your NetID password.”

Register Now

To prepare for this change, you’ll first need to register your phone with MFA. If you already registered with MFA to access FASIS Self-Service, you do not need to re-register. Check your registration status.

Then, when you log in to any system that uses MFA after July 11, you’ll enter your NetID and NetID password as usual, and also receive a separate request on your registered phone to confirm your identity by accepting or denying a notification. Once confirmed, you’re in!


Watch registration how-to videos that Northwestern IT has created to help you register your phone and manage your registered phone(s).
MFA Feature Highlights

  • Access multiple systems without having to re-enter your NetID and NetID password or confirm your identity on your phone as long as you haven’t logged out of Online Passport.
  • Choose “remember me” and MFA will recognize your browser and computer for a period of 30 days. You’ll still need to use your NetID and NetID password for each login. *Check with your local IT support to see if this feature is available to you.
  • Get a text message as your notification option on a registered smartphone. Other notification options include a phone call or a push notification to the Duo Mobile app. 

Visit the Multi-factor Authentication at Northwestern page for additional information about the service, a quick guide, and answers to frequently asked questions.

FASIS Self Service and NUPlans already use MFA. The Student Enterprise System (CAESAR) is planned for October 2016.

Faculty and Staff, Around Campus