Keeping students safe with MFA in 2023

Find out what you need to know about the rollout of MFA to students.

The risk of cyber security breaches is familiar to most of us by now, from ACU’s cyber security incident in 2019 through to the recent issues with Optus, Medibank and AGL.

We all know how important it is to operate safely in an online environment, from maintaining awareness of the different types of cyber attack, through to protecting your mobile devices and practising good password hygiene.

According to a study by Microsoft, an account is 99.9 per cent less likely to be compromised if Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is enabled, compared to a password alone. Staff have been protected by MFA since 2020 and it is now time to extend this protection to our students.

How will the rollout work?

The rollout to students will commence in February 2023 and is currently expected to conclude late Semester 2.

From February, all students will have the opportunity to voluntarily register for MFA and will be encouraged to do so via a variety of channels, including activities during orientation/welcome activities for our commencing Semester 1 students.

From March 2023, MFA will start being added to student accounts in manageable groups.

Which systems will be affected by MFA?

Initially, only Microsoft 365 services (eg email, OneDrive) and Zoom will be affected by MFA. Just as with staff, additional ACU systems will be gradually added to MFA to continue increasing the security of our systems.

What will students need to do?

All students will need to register for MFA using the Microsoft Authenticator app or SMS. Once registered, they’ll occasionally receive an MFA prompt when accessing the MFA-protected systems while off-campus.

After registering, students will receive the ability to securely reset their ACU passwords themselves, using the Self-Service Password Reset function. Currently this is a manual process requiring AskACU assistance.

What will staff need to do?

All ACU staff should look out for updates via the Staff Bulletin and Workplace to remain informed about the project.

Student-facing staff (eg. academic or library staff) will be invited to briefing sessions in the new year to provide you with additional information about the registration and rollout process, as you may be approached by a student about MFA. Groups in this category include:

  • library staff
  • tutors
  • lecturers
  • course coordinators.

Direct student support staff will be contacted directly to attend info sessions specifically tailored to your unique role in support students during the rollout. Groups in this category include:

  • International Student Advisors
  • First Peoples Advisors
  • Connect2Uni Advisors
  • Disability and Access Advisors
  • ACU Online staff.

Have we missed your group? Let us know.

Where can I get more information?

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