Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): First Time Setup

This service is available for all faculty, staff, and students.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security method for your account that helps verify that you are actually the person who is logging into your account.

How it works: 

  1. You log into your account with your St. Thomas username & password.
  2. You will then get the notification via the method you chose during set up (a text, phone call, or mobile app verification) to verify it is you logging into your account. 

When is MFA used?

At this time, MFA is only required when:

  • Logging into your account from off campus
  • Accessing systems both on campus or off campus that contain sensitive personal, financial, or health data of the community. 

Your Multi-Factor Verification Options

The following are a list of methods that can be used for this second type of verification:

  • Text Message
  • Mobile App Notification - ITS Recommended Option
  • Verification Code (via the Mobile App)
  • Yubikey Dongle

Learn more about these methods below:

Verification method Description
Text message A text message is sent to a your mobile phone with a 6-digit code. Enter this code to complete the verification process.
Mobile app notification A verification request is sent to your mobile phone asking your complete the verification by selecting Verify/Approve from the mobile app. This occurs if app notification is the primary verification method. If you receive this notification when you are not signing in, you can report it as fraud. 
(Requires download of Microsoft Auntenticator App on your phone)
Verification code with mobile app The mobile app on your device generates a verification code. This occurs if you selected a verification code as your primary verification method.(Requires download of Microsoft Auntenticator App on your phone)
Yubikey Dongle Best option if you do not have access to a cell phone, tablet, or mobile device. Allows user to receive a verification code via the Yubikey app when the USB key is connected. Full instruction on purchase and setup available here. (Requires purchase and installation of Yubikey app on your computer)

Our Recommendation:

ITS recommends downloading the Microsoft Authenticator app and choosing the Mobile App methods for the following reasons:

  • While it takes a bit longer to setup, it is the fastest verification option when logging in.
  • The app allows you to just tap your screen to approve the login request on your phone. 
  • The mobile app is also available even when you don't have cellular coverage by using the code generated within the app every 30 seconds.

Download Microsoft Authenticator App to your Phone or Tablet

Image with the Apple logo instructing you to download an app from the App Store.Image with the Google Play logo instructing you to download an app from the android app store.

Be sure to allow the app to send you notifications and access your camera to complete the setup process.


First Time Setup Instructions for MFA

The following instructions detail how to setup multi-factor authentication using the Mobile App notification method as listed above.

  1. Download the Microsoft Authenticator App on your smart phone (if you have not done so already).
  2. Go to the UST MFA Set Up Page
  3. Sign into Office 365 on your computer with your St. Thomas username & password. (Note: be sure to enter your full For example:
  4. Click on the blue box under your name that says “Set it up now
  5. In the drop down box next to Step 1:  How should we contact you? choose Mobile App
  6. Next to How do you want to use the mobile app?  Choose “Receive notifications for verification”.
  7. Click on Set up.  The following screenshot will describe what you should see in steps 5-7.
    Screenshot of MFA setup menu showing how to select mobile app as the method of contact.
  8. You will then see the Configure mobile app dialog box on your computerOn your mobile phone open the Authenticator app.
  9. Scan the QR image displayed in your web browser.
  10. Once you have successfully scanned the image, your account will be added automatically to the Authenticator app on your phone, and it will display a six-digit code.
    Screenshot of the MFA setup process describing the steps on how to configure the mobile app.
  11. On your computer, Choose Contact Me in your browser on the Office 365 page.
  12. Next you will verify that Office 365 can reach your mobile phone.
  13. You should receive a push notification on your mobile phone. Tap ApproveVerify (Android/iPhone)

You are now set up to use Multi-Factor Authentication on your St. Thomas account. If you use any third-party apps or your phone's default mail app, continue through the process using the optional setup steps below.

 To report a problem or receive additional troubleshooting, please contact the Tech Desk

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Article ID: 97640
Fri 2/7/20 9:38 AM
Fri 10/14/22 11:29 AM