The University of Texas at Austin

Two-Factor Authentication with Toopher

July 11, 2014

Protecting the security of online information continues to be a high priority for the University. Earlier this week, Cam Beasley, Chief Information Security Officer, sent a message to campus announcing a new two-factor authentication system using a tool called Toopher. “Authentication” is the process by which a system attempts to determine you are who you say you are when you login. Two-factor authentication, using both the regular UT EID login process and Toopher, provides an additional layer of security when you access sensitive applications.

As of this past Tuesday, July 8, 2014, two-factor authentication is required to login to the “My W-2” and “My Check Distribution / My Bank Info – Payroll” pages in UT Direct. These are the first sensitive applications protected by two-factor authentication. To access these pages, you will login with your UT EID and password as you always have and then be directed to the two-factor authentication service. Getting started with two-factor authentication involves “pairing” your EID with your mobile phone. You will then use your mobile device along with your UT EID and password to access two-factor protected applications. So far more than 1,000 people on campus have paired their mobile devices successfully, and although the process may cause some to feel inconvenienced, the added security layer is vital to protecting sensitive information. For those people who do not have a mobile device, a visit to the helpful team in the payroll office will be necessary. Additional options that do not require the use of a mobile phone are in development; these options are targeted to launch in the 2014 fall semester.

Please go to either the “My W-2” or “My Check Distribution / My Bank Info – Payroll” page in UT Direct today to turn on Toopher, even if you do not need to change anything. This will protect your payroll information in the event your EID and Password are compromised.

Here at UT Austin, several faculty and staff members have lost their paychecks because of phishing by internet fraudsters and more than 25 people on campus have fallen for a scheme designed to steal login credentials. Because this type of fraud has happened on several UT campuses, UT System will be requiring two-factor authentication for many types of services on all campuses in the near future. Fortunately, UT Austin is in front of the issue and is working with UT System to find workable and reasonable approaches to enhance security moving forward. More information on the two-factor authentication service and how it works is available on the EID Help page. You can also contact the ITS Help Desk at mailto:{encode="help@its.utexas.edu" title="help@its.utexas.edu"} or (512) 475-9400 for additional assistance.

At the June 25, 2014 FYI presentation, Shelley Powers, Senior Software Developer Analyst, Payroll Services and CW Belcher, Associate Director, ITS Applications provided information about the implementation of two- factor authentication within UT Direct. They discussed why it’s needed, who will be affected, how it works, and future plans for its use on campus. View the FYI session which includes a Toopher demonstration to learn more.

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