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UMass Lowell announces new two factor authenticity

(Photo courtesy of: Office 360 Reports) “Microsoft Authenticity is the newest in two factor authentication at Umass Lowell.”

Riley Fontana
Connector Editor 

On Wednesday, February 14, 2024, UMass Lowell IT sent out an email saying the school was leaving Duo Mobile and opting for Microsoft Authenticator to have students and staff log into their accounts. I have several issues with this choice, especially given how frosting Duo already is for many.

My first issue is why we even need any form of authentication to log into school accounts. I was here when the school had issues with cyber security, but I should be allowed to choose whether I want this on my account. These apps are incredibly slow to load and if you mis-click one of the three numbers you have to wait and try to log in again. This is also an issue with the school campus-wide wi-fi, which easily takes five minutes to load up my email and another five to send my phone a duo push.

Another issue I have is that the school seems to think people are after the student emails. I understand the cyber security issues but what I am talking about is when I am sitting in the library on the school-owned computers on the school wifi having to confirm my identity three times just to print a paper. Of course, it’s me logging into one drive, I just logged into the computer. If someone wanted to hack my email there is nothing important for them to find in there, and if there is that’s my fault.

The biggest issue with UMass Lowell rolling out a new system is that they decided mid-semester was the best time to do that. Cross the bridge when you get to it and what not, but seriously, mid-semester? Spring break is in a few weeks and that could have been a much easier adjustment period because people aren’t dying to access Outlook the way they are while on campus. I seriously think they could have waited until summer break the way they did with the new Blackboard last year.

The email from IT also does not state when we have to make the switch, or what will happen if we choose not to follow suit. If the school has been using Microsoft software the entire

time I have been here, why did we not just start with their version? Why do we now have to go and download a new app and just hope it works seamlessly, which we all know it probably won’t?

If UMass Lowell really wants students and staff to have an added layer of security for login then Duo Authentication would do the job just fine. It was annoying for sure, but it did what it needed to. Now we all have to learn and adapt to a new app and log-in system during the most stressful time of the semester for many people. There are so many authenticators out there that people use for their other personal accounts, we could have just had the option to use our own, keep Duo or switch to Microsoft and not be forced to and possibly lose access to our accounts.

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