Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a mechanism that provides a secondary form of identification when logging in to ensure you are who you claim to be.
MFA combines at least two forms of authentication: a password and a secondary code generated by a cell phone or a code generator. In the event of a password compromise, your account cannot be accessed unless that party has access to your cell phone or code generator.
MFA is becoming common with internet banking and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and is an effective way to prevent unauthorized access to your account and information.
Niagara College has created a How To Video about Multi-Factor Authentication – What is it and why is it more secure than a password alone!
While a security token is not the preferred method for MFA, students wishing to use a token must purchase the ITS approved and compatible token.
Why is Niagara College using multi-factor authentication?
Increasingly, bad actors try to compromise accounts to steal personal and financial information, send spam (unsolicited email), malicious software and ransomware. Ransomware is often used to block access to your data until money has been paid. Enabling MFA is an effective way of preventing these types of attacks.
Who has to use MFA?
Niagara College employees and students will need to use MFA when accessing college resources off campus. However, some applications may require MFA regardless of location.
How often will I have to verify my identity?
The frequency will vary depending on geographic location, application being used and permission levels.
Where do I find my verification code?
Mobile Devices: If you’ve set up MFA using the Microsoft Authenticator App, use that to get your code. If you chose SMS (Text) you will receive a text message with your One Time Passcode (OTP).
Security Key: If you are using a Security Key, you will need to plug this into a USB port on the device you are using to connect with.
I don’t own a mobile device, what do I use for MFA?
If you are unable to download this software – you share a computer for example – you can obtain a hardware Security Key to plug into a USB port on your Windows based computer (Currently not supported on Mac). PLEASE NOTE: This option is not provided by Niagara College and must be purchased separately.
While security token is not the preferred method for MFA, students wishing to use a token must purchase the ITS approved and compatible token.
The blue Yubico Security Key NFC can be purchased on the following sites:
Do I have to pay for a Security Key if I want to use one?
Yes. Niagara College ITS does not supply Security Keys.
Are there any benefits to using my cell phone rather than a Security key?
Yes. The mobile app is easy to use and can be used without a data plan or if cellular reception is poor.
The Security Key is an additional item to have with you and is more likely to be forgotten rather than your mobile phone. Note: Accessing college applications and services may not be possible without MFA.
When I set up MFA, I provided information such as my personal email and cell phone number. Is that information used by other Niagara College systems?
No. Personal email addresses and phone numbers are not used in other Niagara College systems.
I was prompted to approve a login I didn’t initiate, what should I do?
Never approve a request you did not initiate. If you are receiving multiple MFA prompts but are not trying to login, be sure you do not have any applications or NC web pages open. If you are still receiving prompts, you can contact the ITS Service Desk.
How can I change my MFA settings?
College employees and students can manage their MFA devices by visiting https://aka.ms/mfasetup
Note: If you would like to switch your preferred MFA option you must authenticate using your current method. For example, if your preferred MFA mechanism is set to SMS text and you would like to change it to Authenticator OTP code, you will first have to enter the code from SMS first before changing it.
What should I do if my mobile device/Security Key is lost or stolen?
In the event of a lost or stolen phone or Security Key please contact the ITS Service Desk so that the lost device can be removed from your account.
I removed the app or have a new device. What should I do?
If you have a new device and no longer have access to the old one, please contact the ITS Service desk so your MFA mechanism can be reset.
Optional Student MFA opt-in/opt-out Steps
Niagara College ITS is encouraging students to enable MFA on their account. To do this please follow the steps below:
From a Browser (Chrome or Firefox)
1. Visit https://portalnc.niagaracollege.ca/dashboard and under Manage Profile select Multi-Factor Authentication Opt-in. Note: please allow 30-60 mins for the option to take effect.
2. Select the check box Opt-in for Multi-Factor Authentication. The click Save. Note: please allow 30-60 mins for the option to take effect.
From the Niagara College Mobile app (available in the Apple App store and Google Play store)
Android OS Devices (Samsung, Pixel or other non Apple devices)
Click on Profile then select the Opt-in. Note: please allow 30-60 mins for the option to take effect.
iOS Devices (Apple iPhone)
Click on Profile > Multi-Factor Authentication > Opt-in > Submit.
Configure your Mobile Device
Option 1: Register on your Apple or Android device (Recommended)
1. Go to the Apple or Android Play store and download the Microsoft Authenticator app.
2. Open the app and click the + sign
3. Select Work or School Account and then Sign in.
4. Sign in with your Niagara College student account, e.g. [email protected]
5. If you had previously setup a mobile device for Self Service Password Reset (SSPR) you may be prompted to enter a text code. If you do not receive this message continue to step 6.
6. You have now completed the MFA registration process!
Option 2: Register for SMS Text Messages in a browser
2. You will be prompted to provide additional information, click Next
3. Choose the appropriate Country where your phone number resides, select Call Me or Send me a code by text message and click Next
4. If you chose text message, enter the code and click verify or answer the phone call and step through the prompts.
You have now successfully setup your device!
Setting up your Security Key
You must create your security key and give it a unique PIN before you can sign in to your work or school account using the key. You may have up to 10 keys registered with your account.
1. Go to the My Profile page at https://myaccount.microsoft.com and sign in with your Niagara College login.
2. Select Security Info, select Add method, and then select Security key from the Add a method drop-down list.
3. Add method box, with Security key selected
4. Select Add, and then select the type of security key you have, either USB device or NFC device.
5. Have your security key physically available and then in the Security key box, select Next.
A new box appears to help walk you through setting up your new sign-in method.
6. In the Setting up your new sign-in method box, select Next, and then:
- a. If your security key is a USB device, insert your security key into the USB port of your device.
- b. If your security key is an NFC device, tap your security key to your reader.
7. Type your unique security key PIN into the Windows security box, and then select OK. You’ll return to the Setting up your new sign-in method box.
8. Select Next.
9. Return to the Security info page, type a name you’ll recognize later for your new security key, and then select Next.
10. Your security key is registered and ready for you to use for signing into your Niagara College account.
11. Select Done to close the Security key box.
12. The Security info page is updated with your security key information.