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Office of University Relations

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email: vtnews@vt.edu
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University security systems update
By Griffin Homan, May 1 2016, Blacksburg, Va.
BLACKSBURG, Va. — In

order to combat the growing online hacker threat, beginning on
July 4, the Virginia Tech Information Technology Security department is making the school-wide
switch over to two-factor authentication for student and faculty login. Over the past few years
multiple universities across the nation, such as the University of Virginia and Pennsylvania State
University, have been victims of large-scale high-profile breaches. These breaches were
coordinated attacks with the attempt to glean student and staff personal information as well as
any available intellectual property, and they are the driving force behind this technology shift
across the country.
While the major data breach through Virginia Tech’s healthcare provider – Anthem – was
a an eye-opening moment in early 2015, according to officials at the school the main reason why
they’re making the change is due to the numerous daily reports of lost accounts.
Virginia Tech’s Deputy Director of IT Security said, “We see constant, daily attempted
intrusions against our network… Two-factor will prevent most, if not all, of those malicious
remote access attempts.” When a student loses access to their account, not only can it mean a
breach of all sorts of information, but it can also lead to ruining the student’s academic career
with drops, resignations, or changing financial details. Two-factor authentication is, according to
the university, the best way to combat these ever growing threats.
Like most major developments in life, the switch to this new technology is bound to
come with some growing pains. While not all students are happy with the new system yet, most
of them do realize that it is a necessary change in order to maintain their online safety.
Virginia Tech Senior Trevor Zamora said, “I’ve had my PID and password stolen before,
god knows why, but this will finally put an end to this issue and the days of worry and stress that
followed.” However, not all supporters are focused purely on the safety and security it would
provide; some students recognize the fact that Virginia Tech is behind the curve on this change
and needs to catch up.
Virginia Tech Junior Vince Chen pointed out, “At this point, it’s about time we caught up.
Most video games and platforms even implemented two-factor a couple of years ago, I’m glad
we’re finally getting around to making it more secure.”
The official change to the Virginia Tech system will be enforced beginning on July 4, at
Invent the Future
which point it will become required for any and all students and staff to enable two-factor
V I R G I N I A P O LYT E C H N I C I N S T I T U T E AN D S TATE U N I V E R S I T Y
authentication.
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