Cybersecurity efforts will strengthen university defenses

Illustration of lock on a circuit board

The University of Oregon will fortify its defenses against cybersecurity attacks through several new projects planned for the coming months.

Information Services, the UO's central information technology unit, is undertaking those projects using strategic funding approved in mid-May by President Michael H. Schill and then-Provost and Senior Vice President Jayanth Banavar at the recommendation of the university's Budget Advisory Group.

"I want to thank the Budget Advisory Group, president and provost for investing in cybersecurity," said Chief Information Security Officer Leo Howell. "We're aiming to take several big steps forward this year. We ask for the partnership and patience of the campus community as we move quickly on this important work."

The most noticeable change will be the launch of two-step login — also known as two-factor authentication, 2FA, two-step verification or multifactor authentication — for many campus services that people log into with their Duck IDs. Information Services plans to start offering two-step login to all staff and faculty members during the coming academic year.

Several security improvements to the university's email systems are also planned, with the first of those scheduled to take effect over the next two months. The most visible of those will be a new URL link protection service that will add a layer of security to links in email messages, helping protect campus from phishing by preventing access to most known malicious phishing websites.

Several behind-the-scenes efforts to bolster the UO's technology systems are also planned.

Students and employees will also gain access to online cybersecurity awareness training to increase their knowledge and capabilities in defending against cyberattacks.

Information Services will share more information with campus before each change takes place. Anyone with questions should contact the Information Security Office at infosec@uoregon.edu.

—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications