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​Cyber Security

Frequently Asked Questions about 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)


This section is to provide information to the following questions:

  1. What if I do not want to use my personal email with Coast College 2FA?
  2. What is TEXT / SMS and how does it work?
  3. What is Google Authenticator and how do I get it?
  4. What is a YubiKey and where can I get one?
  5. What is DUO Push and how can I enroll in it?
  6. Remembering One Time Passcodes
  7. What is this New Sign-In Email?
  8. Table of all Authentication Options


  1. What if I do not want to use my personal email with Coast College 2FA?
  2. If you have an email you're already attached to and do not want to have the Coast College Portal System sending to it; then we recommend you create another email from another free email provider such as: Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, etc.  As these services are not run by the Coast Colleges, we cannot guarantee any level of service or protection of information residing on those systems. 

    When utilized as a 2FA mechanism it becomes a 2nd Factor of Authentication: (1) Something you know - your password.  Along with (2) something you have - Your email account.  For this reason please have a different password on your email account than what is being used for Coast College Systems.


  3. What is TEXT / SMS and how does it work?
  4. Text / SMS refers to a message received on a cellular mobile device.  It is considered more secure than email, for the difficulty of a remote malicious actor gaining access.  Not showing the content of incoming text / SMS on the "lock screen" is an additional precaution that can improve your  security further.

    When utilized as a 2FA mechanism it becomes a 2nd Factor of Authentication: (1) Something you know - your password.  Along with (2) something you have - your cellular device.


  5. What is Google Authenticator and how do I get it?
  6. Google Authenticator is a Mobile phone application that can be installed from the appropriate application store on Apple or Android devices.   Once synched via a QR code, or email it holds a "Time-based One Time Passcode" (TOTP) that can be used in addition to your normal password to access certain Coast College Systems.  This TOTP will need to be transcribed from the Google Authenticator into the Coast Colleges Portal System Login Page.

    The software can be downloaded from the follow location(s):

    When utilized as a 2FA mechanism it becomes a 2nd Factor of Authentication: (1) something you know - your password.  Along with (2) something you have - Your Apple or Android Device.


  7. What is a YubiKey and where can I get one?
  8. A YubiKey is known as many  "Technical" names, but we will describe it as a "TOTP Hardware Token."  First, its hardware.  Its a physical device that typically looks similar to a USB Flash Drive, though there are some smaller variants.  For simplicity this description will assume you only use your YubiKey plugged in via USB, and using only the first "slot" (YubiKeys can hold many different forms of information categorized in to "slots").  The YubiKey has logic inside that when the Y icon on the surface is pressed for 2-3 seconds it acts as keyboard to type in a VERY complex password.  This password is based on the time the Y icon is pressed and changes on a short time interval.  This is the second aspect of a YubiKey - TOTP: Time-Based One Time Passcode.  A YubiKey, cannot be cloned, and a specific YubiKey linked to your account is the only one that knows the password at time of pressing the Y-icon, which in turn activates the TOTP functionality, and sends the YubiKey OTP password to the Coast Colleges application requesting it.

    When utilized as a 2FA mechanism it becomes a 2nd Factor of Authentication: (1) something you know - your password.  Along with (2) something you have - your YubiKey's TOTP.


  9. What is DUO Push and how can I enroll in it?
  10. DUO Push is a phone application that combines the "push button" aspect of a YubiKey Time-based One Time Passcode (TOTP), while running on an existing Android, or Apple Device.  When a request is sent from the Coast Colleges a notification will appear on your device and allow the options to Accept or Deny this login request.  If Accepted the login continues.  If Denied then the login will fail even if the correct password was utilized.  The benefit over Text / SMS is that your mobile device must be unlocked to interact with the Accept and Deny Options.  Furthermore, the benefit over YubiKey is no hardware needs to be purchased. To get Started with DUO an Enrollment email must be received and followed, this enrollment message is sent only to employees of the Coast Colleges, and must be completed within 30 days.  Otherwise, a helpdesk ticket must be created to request a resend of this message.

    When utilized as a 2FA mechanism it becomes a 2nd Factor of Authentication: (1) something you know - your password.  Along with (2) something you have - your Android or Apple Device.

  11. Remembering One Time Passcodes (OTP)
  12. When logging in you may click the "Remember this Device" checkbox.  Doing so will remember the device logging in for 90 days, and bypass the OTP screen for the remembered device.  After which the OTP screen will appear again, and the "Remember this device" option can be chosen again.
    PG remember browser.jpg

  13. What is this New Sign-In Email?
  14. Each time an unknown browser is seen an email will be sent to your Student or Employee email address.  This email address is not changeable.  Each time a new browser [Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Edge (will be labeled Chrome), Opera, etc.] is seen a "cookie" (little piece of information associated with the website) is added to how that browser sees our website.  As long as that cookie exists you will not get a new email.  Each browser on a computer stores cookie information separately and logging in with different browsers will result in a new email.  When software uses a webpage built-in to the software for authentication this could result in an email being generated; i.e. Microsoft Office, and Adobe.  Lastly, because this cookie information is unique to a single computer & browser moving to a different computer will result in an email if this is the first login on that computer for that browser.  Email shown below
    PG Browser.jpg

  15. Table of all Authentication Options

Authenticator
Who pays for it?​ ​Is a device required?
Is it available
to Students?​

​Quality of
security

​Email
​Free
No​
​Yes
Decent
​SMS / Text
The user pays for this option, but it may be included for free​ with their mobile plan.  Validate with your mobile device provider.
​Yes, a device with a cellular phone number and SMS  / Text capabilities.
Yes​
​Good
Google
Authenticator

​Free, but requires a device.
​Yes, an Apple or Android device.​    Device does not need cellular capabilities.
Yes​
​Very Good
​YubiKey
​The user pays for it and the Yubikey needs to support TOTP, and can vary in price from $10 to $100+ depending on where it is purchased, on sales, type of YubiKey, etc.
Yes, a YubiKey​.
(* Blue Security Line is NOT compatible with Coast College's use of YubiKeys!)
​Yes
Excellent
​DUO Push

​Coast Colleges pays this option for Employees.
​Yes, an Apple or Android device.
No
Excellent