UT to roll out Duo Security updates to simplify user experience

Raiyan Shaik, General News Reporter

Duo Security, the two-factor authentication service used by UT to verify a student’s identity when logging into their student accounts, plans to introduce the “Universal Prompt” on Oct. 19 to simplify the user experience.

“You’ll notice that the Duo sign-in options look different than they did in the traditional prompt,” Veronica Trevino, assistant director of issues management, said in an email. “The Universal Prompt will still support a wide range of Duo options, so you can choose what works best for you. The Universal Prompt is also more accessible.” 

Trevino said the new prompt includes voice and assistive technology costs, easy-to-read large action buttons and improved color contrast for the service interface. It also redirects students to a page hosted by Duo rather than the University, according to the UT services website

With the Universal Prompt, students can choose to add a greater selection of sign-in options to their Duo account, including the familiar push, call and passcode options. “The Universal Prompt will first attempt to use the ‘most secure’ option, but will then allow a user to select a different option if they would like,” said Marta Lang, senior information technology manager and identity and access management team lead for ITS campus solutions.

Government freshman Armaan Christ said while Duo Mobile can sometimes feel like an extra step to get into your account, it is a “necessary evil to accessing University resources.” 

Though Christ finds it annoying to repeatedly confirm the Duo requests, they stated that merely having a password is only secure until someone receives a copy of the password from other services or data breaches.

In the following weeks, UT Financials said it will inform the campus community of the change through social media messages and emails. 

“There has been a coordinated effort to communicate holistically with the (UT) community since the beginning of the semester, as well as a focus on creating documentation and videos to help with the transition to the Universal Prompt,” said Lang.

The change follows the announcement of the Universal Prompt Project in August 2020 as an effort to streamline functionality and enhance security, Lang said. In May, Duo released the final software component needed for the ITS team at UT and other institutions to begin the rollout process.

“Students will probably face something like cognitive dissonance once a change is launched, but design is also an important aspect of the (U)niversity,” Christ said. “As long as it functions, it can look however it wants.”