IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

What is 2FA?

Two-factor authentication adds a layer of security when you sign in with your UW NetID. With 2FA, first you enter your password, then use a 2FA device to prove it’s really you.

When do I sign in with 2FA?

You’ll be asked to sign in with 2FA only when a system requires it. Many systems with sensitive data require 2FA, including Workday, Hyak, and others.

Why do I need 2FA?

2FA prevents others from signing in as you, even if they know your password. It protects you and the UW from the risks of phishing scams and other forms of passwords theft.

What’s new?

Duo introduced in April

All employees, and students in approved programs, can use Duo, the new solution for 2FA. People still using Entrust tokens will migrate from Entrust to Duo over summer.

Workday is live – requires 2FA for sensitive information

Nearly 40,000 employees enrolled in 2FA for Workday go-live. Workday requires 2FA for access to sensitive information. Learn more from the Integrated Service Center.

Getting started

Manage your device(s)

Manage 2FA Devices & Settings

Choose a device to use

To get started, first choose what device(s) you’ll use for 2FA.

We recommend using Duo Mobile on your smartphone because it’s free, secure, and simple to use. Duo Mobile creates no data on your phone. 

The following table describes each type of 2FA device and its options for signing in.

Device Type Sign-in Options Notes
Smartphone or Tablet (Recommended)

Supported platforms:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Mobile
  • “Send Me a Push” – Duo Push notification
  • “Enter a Passcode” – from Duo Mobile
  • “Call Me” – Phone call
  • Duo Mobile is free to download
  • Duo Push notifications need an internet connection (Wi-Fi or cellular data)
  • Passcodes can be generated by Duo Mobile without an internet connection
Mobile Phone or Landline

Supported platforms:

  • Any mobile phone
  • Any landline phone
  • “Call Me” – Phone call
Hardware Token

Supported platforms:

  • Duo hardware token
  • Entrust hardware token (see notes)
  • “Enter a Passcode”
  • One-button device that generates a one-time passcode
  • UW-IT provides hardware tokens to people who require one
  • Entrust token users will migrate to Duo during spring/summer

Sign in with 2FA

Once you set up your device(s), you’ll be ready to sign in with 2FA.

Sign-in options depend on your choice of device (above). They include:

  • “Send Me a Push” – Duo sends a notification to Duo Mobile on your smartphone or tablet. You then tap “Approve” to sign in. An internet connection (Wi-Fi or cellular data) is required to receive push notifications.
  • “Call Me” – Duo calls your smartphone, mobile phone, or landline. Answer the call and follow the instructions to approve.
  • “Enter a Passcode” – Open Duo Mobile on your smartphone or tablet to generate a passcode, with or without an internet connection. Or, if you have a hardware token, use the passcode from it.

To learn more about the steps, review how to sign in with 2FA.

More Information