Adding Security for Digital Identities and UNH Data with SmartAuth

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Students walk across the UNH campus. Photo by Jeremy Gasowski, UNH Communications and Marketing.

In Spring 2019, UNH IT engaged the process of adding SmartAuth 2-step verification to Webcat. SmartAuth is USNH’s multi-factor authentication service that acts as an additional layer of protection, improving the security for digital identities of faculty, staff and students while also adding more protection for UNH data, systems, and services. The required use of SmartAuth to access Webcat begins August 12, 2019.  

Multi-factor authentication, which is also called 2-step verification, involves using more than one method to verify your identity. Today, when students log in to Webcat using their username and password, they verify their identity using one method. With SmartAuth in place, they will need to provide secondary authentication, such as a code received via text, phone call, or email.

The Department of Education expects institutions to use a2-step verification process like SmartAuth as a defense against phishing attacks that seek user credentials to steal Financial Aid funds.

Webcat allows students to view course schedules, register for courses, view grades, view holds, request enrollment verifications, request transcripts, view degree evaluations, request change of major, view student bill, pay online, request refund, view financial aid information, view financial clearance status, pay housing/enrollment or study abroad deposit, set up Parent Portal accounts. Faculty and advisors can view class rosters, view faculty class schedule, view advisee information, view advisee listing, review/approve student requests for major change. 

UNH IT also added SmartAuth 2-step verification to the Webcat and WebROCK direct deposit refund area. Students are restricted from the Direct Deposit area in Webcat/WebROCK until they have set up a question/answer, and then answered the question correctly.