On October 5, 2016, UNC-Chapel Hill implemented 2-Step Verification, a process designed to secure and safeguard personal information and vital University data and credentials. At a time when phishing scams are becoming ever more frequent on our campus, this enhancement is part of our ongoing work to ensure that personal and University information remains secured and protected.

What is 2-Step Verification?

Also called 2-Factor or Multi-Factor authentication, 2-Step Verification adds a second layer of security to account access – and is being used by banks, stores and other places where people have online accounts. In order to authenticate and sign in, people have to provide something they know (e.g., their Onyen and password) and use something they have (a mobile device or landline phone). Whenever people sign in, a special access code is sent to their mobile device or landline phone before they can complete signing in to their account. With two different authentication methods, people can protect their log-ins from remote attackers exploiting stolen or weak credentials.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s service is powered by Duo Security, a proven solution in multi-factor authentication. Duo works with many universities around the country – including UC Berkeley, Boston University, Ohio State and Virginia Tech — as they implement this authentication process.

Many Carolina employees may already be using 2-Step Verification for bank accounts, credit cards or personal email accounts. Anyone who has received a code sent to their phone before they could sign in to an account has used 2-Step Verification!

2-Step and W2s

The first 2-Step Verification use will be for online W-2 access, but it will likely be expanded to other secure online functions in 2017.

It’s important for employees to know that paper W-2s are still available through payroll and will continue to be for 2017. Employees who want to access their W-2 online, however, will be required to register for 2-Step Verification before they can access those forms. While the registration process only happens once, employees will need to utilize 2-Step Verification every time they wish to access their W-2 online.

Additionally, it’s important for employees to know that registering for 2-Step Verification and viewing their W-2 online does not opt employees out of receiving a paper copy of the W-2 form for 2016. In January 2017, everyone will receive paper W-2s for 2016.