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What Does Your Two-Factor Authentication Method Say About You?

Public Enemy No. 1: Duo’s two-factor authentication.

If you’re a Penn State student or employee, you’re enrolled in Duo’s two-factor authentication. Since the enrollment mandate went into effect in May 2020, students and faculty alike are jumping through hoops for access to a website affiliated with Penn State.

The three existing methods — push notifications, automated calls, and one-time passcodes — say a lot about one’s personality. Read below to see the totally real psychology behind your two-factor authentication habits.

‘Send Me A Push’

Send me a push? You might click this button dozens of times per day but still wonder what this says about you.

You probably think you’re superior to everyone. You think you are an Android above iPhones. You like shortcuts, and you want to take the easy way out. There’s a good chance you have an essay due tonight at midnight that you haven’t started, but you still asked for an extension last week (even though you could have started and finished on time).

Yes, Duo recommends this option because it is the most convenient. Still, Duo has created a social norm on college campuses across America, and you are a puppet on the strings of corporate America.

Duo push notifications are a good option, but they are not unique, as this seems to be the most common option that sits atop the list.

‘Call Me’

Have you ever felt lonely and had Duo call you to hear someone’s voice?

If you are using the call option to press a number on the keypad, you are a scholar, a visionary, and a true champion of the people. Receiving a call from Duo means you meet deadlines, make it to your classes, and you probably live an active lifestyle, all under the stress of a highly demanding schedule.

The only downside to this option is when you are in a quiet room, someone might give you an awkward look because they hear you pressing the keypad of your cell phone. Don’t sweat it if this happened to you, because there is a good chance that they are rethinking their authentication method after seeing you log in to Canvas.

I believe the call me option is also quicker than the Duo push since you’re not required to unlock your phone to respond (unlike push notifications). You can press any number or symbol on your keypad (don’t hang up), but you aren’t doing it right if you aren’t pushing “2”. So, pressing “2” on the keypad is the best and most convenient way to complete this option.

If you have a busy day tomorrow, you always use the “call me” option’s shoulder to cry on.

‘Enter A Passcode’

Oy! Do you have dial-up internet? Our guess is that if you use this option, you view Duo authentication as either a real struggle or something you enjoy completing as much as the daily Wordle. You also probably do not like to be discreet and are very public about how you conduct your business.

I used this option for a little bit just to see what it was like, and between text conversations, it was really hard to find my codes. Finding it took me over a minute sometimes by itself.

This option is limiting, as you need to rely on finding your text codes or annoyingly pressing “Text me new codes” and then still having to figure out if it’s the new text code option or the old one that you are typing in.

This will take you easily more than a minute to complete and get into your essential Penn State websites and apps. We would like to think that Duo’s goal is to provide top-notch security in a convenient matter. However, this option does not seem nearly as convenient.

If you are a “text me” kind of person, chances are you are struggling to install the Duo push option on your phone. There is no shame in this option, and we respect Duo for putting it out there. However, it’s simply far less convenient.

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About the Author

Gabriel Herman

Gabriel Herman is a journalism major at Penn State from Minneapolis, MN. He writes about several sports-related topics. If you want to discuss great moments in Minnesota sports history, you can reach him at [email protected].

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