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Multi-Factor Authentication (Duo)

Duo multi factor authentication

The Office of Information Technology will implement multi-factor authentication for Boise State VPN connections on Wednesday, May 20.

Multi-factor authentication adds another layer of security to our systems. It requires you to verify your identity using another method (like your mobile device) to prevent anyone else from logging into your accounts, even if they know your password.

Boise State is partnering with Duo Security to provide multi-factor authentication. This service may also be referred to as Duo.

How does it work?

  1. On Tuesday, May 19 watch for an email from Duo Security with the subject, “Duo Security Enrollment.” This email is legitimate and contains a link to enroll your phone, tablet, or other device. The email looks like this:
    Duo Enrollment Email
  2. When you receive the email, click the link and follow the instructions to enroll. Enrollment is easy and step-by-step instructions (including a video demonstrating the process) are available in Duo’s online enrollment guide.
  3. Beginning Wednesday, May 20 when you connect to Boise State’s VPN you will be required to authenticate using Duo Security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need Duo?

Duo Enhances Security

Login credentials are more valuable than ever and are increasingly easy to compromise. Over 90% of breaches today involve compromised usernames and passwords. Duo enhances the security of your account by using a secondary device to verify your identity. This prevents anyone but you from accessing your account, even if they know your password.

Which services will use Duo?

Duo Services

At this time, only VPN connections will require Duo.

What if I don’t use VPN?

Enrolling Now Gets You Ahead

We still recommend enrolling in Duo Security now. While multi-factor authentication is only being implemented for VPN connections at this time, it will be rolled out to other Boise State systems in the coming months. Enrolling now puts you one step ahead!

(We also suggest reviewing the VPN guidelines in case you should be connecting but are not.)

What are the options for enrolling?

Duo Enrollment Options

You can enroll in Duo in the following ways:

  • Download the free Duo Mobile app to your cell phone, tablet, or Apple Watch. Using this method, when you log into VPN a push notification is sent to the app. Simply accept the notification to verify your identity and connect.
  • Add a mobile number to receive a text message. When logging into VPN, a code will be sent via SMS to the number you provide. Enter the code when prompted to verify your identity and connect.
  • Add a landline number to receive a phone call. With this option, a code will be provided verbally via telephone call. Enter the code when prompted to verify your identity and connect.
  • Add a security key. This is a physical device that your department must purchase from OIT. Enter the code displayed on the device when prompted to verify your identity and connect.

Duo Mobile Push Notifications

The Duo Mobile app is the recommended method of enrollment. It is the fastest, easiest, and most secure way to authenticate when connecting to VPN. The app lets you tap to approve your login, eliminating the need to enter codes. Download the free Duo Mobile app to your cell phone or tablet (App Store or Google Play Store).

See an introduction to Duo Security and a demonstration of Duo Mobile in this short video.

I don’t want to install this app on my personal device. What else can I do?

Duo Mobile App

We understand your concern, and we know that adding this extra step while most are working remotely is especially challenging. That’s also why it’s critical to stay on top of security and add this additional layer of protection. That being said, the Duo Mobile app is the quickest and easiest way for you to authenticate. We hope you’ll try it out.

If you really don’t want to use Duo Mobile, you may enroll using any of the other methods listed above.

How will Duo change my login experience?

Multi-Factor Authentication

Duo VPN multi-factor

When logging in to VPN, you will still enter your username and password. After inputting your login information, Duo requires you to complete a method of second-factor authentication. When you see the screen similar to the one pictured below, click in the Answer: field and enter your option (1, 2, etc.) then click Continue.

Do I need a smartphone to use multi-factor authentication?

No Smartphone Required

No, a smartphone is not required. You may also register using a mobile number, a landline number, or a security key.

What is the Duo Mobile app?

Duo Mobile

Duo Mobile is a free mobile application (app) that you install on your smartphone or tablet to generate passcodes for login or receive push notifications for easy, one-tap authentication on your mobile device. It works with Duo Security’s multi-factor authentication service to make your logins more secure.

Download the free Duo Mobile app to your cell phone or tablet (App Store or Google Play Store).

How can I obtain a security key?

Hardware Tokens

A security key, also known as a hardware token, may be purchased for you by your department for $45. Please fill out a request form (link below) or contact the Help Desk for more information. To complete the form, log into Help Desk Self Service using your Boise State username and password. You’ll also need to provide your department account code for billing.

Duo Security Key Request Form

Note: The battery life of a security key is approximately two years. When the battery runs out, a new hardware token must be purchased.

Can I enroll more than one device?

Multiple Enrolled Devices

Yes, you may enroll more than one device. Log in to myBoiseState and navigate to the Duo Device Management portal to add more devices. (The portal will display a “Page Not Found” error if you are not logged into myBoiseState first.)

How can I make changes to my enrolled device?

Edit Enrolled Device

You may make changes to your enrolled device by logging into myBoiseState and navigating to the Duo Device Management portal . (The portal will display a “Page Not Found” error if you are not logged into myBoiseState first.)

Can I use email as an enrollment option?

Email Enrollment Option

Unfortunately, email is not an available option for multi-factor authentication. Please use one of the methods described above.

What if I lose my phone?

Lost Phone

If you lose your phone or suspect it has been stolen, please contact the Help Desk immediately at (208) 426-4357.

Contact the Help Desk

Questions and Assistance

For questions or additional information please contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357,, or chat.

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