Home OpinionEditorial EDITORIAL: Logged Out: NetID’s New Multi-Factor Authentication Headache

EDITORIAL: Logged Out: NetID’s New Multi-Factor Authentication Headache

by Avery Nixon

Digital security is very important in this day and age. Many businesses, schools and people store information online. Because of this, multi-factor authentication has been implemented here at Montclair State University.

You may be asking, what is multi-factor authentication? Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is “a multi-step account login process that requires users to enter more information than just a password. For example, along with the password, users might be asked to enter a code sent to their email, answer a secret question, or scan a fingerprint.”

Now, Montclair State students will have to complete the process to be able to log into their student emails and Canvas.

On Oct. 2, Montclair State’s IT department sent out an email stating, “Starting at 3 p.m. tomorrow, all students and alumni with an active NetID will have to use Multi-Factor Authentication to access applications that are enabled with SSO (Single Sign On)…If you do not set up MFA on your mobile device, you will not be able to access any MSU system that uses Single Sign On.”

The email also stated, “Using Multi-Factor Authentication will enhance the security of your account credentials when accessing Montclair State University’s systems and better ensure that only properly authorized users are allowed access.”

In theory, this process seems to only do good for students by protecting their privacy and keeping their accounts secure. However, lots of students are having problems with the new multi-factor authentication.

First of all, not every student saw the email which is a huge problem. One could argue that is on the students. But when you are bombarded with school emails every day, it can be hard to read every single one.

Because of the suddenness of the change, students did not have time to check their emails before the multi-factor authentication went into action, leaving students confused.

Not to mention, the whole multi-factor authentication is quite inconvenient. Having to pull out another app on your phone is time consuming and irritating.

Most multi-factor authentication systems include using a phone number and getting a code, which would be highly more convenient and easy. Students would not even have to get a separate app or even read an email from the school. They would simply just put in their phone number, get a code and put the code in. Easy as can be.

Maybe they could have the same authenticator but only make it where you have to do it once per device instead of every time you try and log in.

Not to mention, not all students have smart phones where they can download any app to help them login to Canvas.

We understand that the administration had to act fast to prevent people from hacking into students’ accounts, but this new multi-factor authentication process seems rushed and not the perfect solution to our problem. This one is clearly not working and has made students angry with trying to navigate logging in.

It should not be this hard to log in to our Canvas and email accounts. We need to have a better system in place because students are struggling to get into their accounts.

To the administration and Montclair State IT department, please consider alternate methods of multi-factor authentication.

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