ITS Blog

Why is 2FA so important? Plus, sign up today and WIN a prize!

Why is 2FA so important? Plus, STUDENTS - sign up today and WIN a prize!

In order to keep our campus community safe and secure, ITS will soon require the use of two-factor authentication to access University systems such as myCourses, myBinghamton, BU Brain and others. We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible—it’s easy and will only take a few minutes of your time. Plus, if students sign up before April 30, you’ll be eligible to win one of three Amazon gift cards ($25, $35, $50)!

Note: This is in addition to what you may have already configured for Pulse Secure VPN.

What is 2FA?

Two-factor authentication is an extra security measure that requires users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a system. To use 2FA, you need the following two things:


  • Something you know (i.e. a PIN number or a password)

  • Something you have (i.e. an ATM card, a one-time passcode (OTP), fingerprint, etc.).


Accessing a system using 2FA is very similar to withdrawing money from an ATM. In order to withdraw money, you need two things: a PIN number (something you know) and an ATM card (something you have). Essentially, the concept here is the same.


Why is 2FA important?

While important, usernames and passwords on their own are vulnerable to attack by third parties that use programs to randomly generate usernames and passwords to hack a user’s devices. 2FA gives your accounts an extra layer of security by keeping cybercriminals out—and your personal information in behind closed doors. 


What do I need to do to use 2FA?

ITS recommends utilizing one of the following FREE authentication apps for 2FA. Think about how and where you regularly use Binghamton University systems, as this will help you determine the best app for your needs:


  • If you regularly access Binghamton systems from lab computers or shared computers and want to use your phone or tablet, use Google Authenticator.

  • If you have a computer that only you use and you want a quick way to generate the one-time passcode (OTP) without looking at your phone or tablet, use the Authenticator browser extension.

  • If you want to use the same app on your computer and phone, use the Authy Application.


To use 2FA, follow these three easy steps:


  1. Download your 2FA app of choice and configure it using the hyperlinked instructions above.

  2. Log into myCourses/myBinghamton/BU Brain/etc. using your BU username and password.

  3. Verify your account using the one-time passcode (OTP) generated by your 2FA app. After this, you’ll be logged in securely and successfully.


We strongly recommend setting up 2 methods for getting an OTP—after setting up an initial 2FA token, a user can setup additional tokens, including an email address. 


2FA and protecting your Bmail account

In addition to using 2FA to access systems like myCourses, it’s also a good idea to use 2FA to protect your Bmail account. For instructions on how to do this, visit https://www.google.com/landing/2step/


2FA and Pulse Secure VPN

2FA on the Pulse Secure VPN was implemented on November 10 as a critical step in protecting the cybersecurity of the Binghamton University network. For instructions on how to download and install Google Authenticator for the VPN, click here. Note: The 2FA mentioned here is separate from the 2FA you are being asked to implement above.


For more information on 2FA and answers to some frequently asked questions, visit https://www.binghamton.edu/its/two-fa/


Questions? Contact the Help Desk at 607-777-6420 or helpdesk@binghamton.edu.


You can now manage both your BU login credentials (username and password) AND 2FA codes on https://password.binghamton.edu/