Skip navigation

Securing Authentication at NIU (Project)

Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR): coming November 2017

In the past three years, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) has performed approximately 20,000 password resets over the phone each year. IT Service Desk management has estimated the cost of this service at close to $120,000/year. To save money and make use of the self-service password reset (SSPR) technologies that many of us already use on a regular basis with banks, Amazon, and Google, NIU will implement true SSPR for all active faculty, staff, and students in November 2017.

The Microsoft-based SSPR will ask you for alternate contact methods (text to a phone; call to a phone; non-NIU email address). And then when you need to change your password or if you've forgotten it entirely, SSPR will use one of your stored contact methods to assist you.

Adding Your Contact Information

  • O365 Users ( If you read your email on a web browser, then you'll see a new message after logging in the first time after SSPR is implemented.
    • When prompted, enter your cell phone number and alternate, non-NIU email address.
    • Then click to Verify each method or you'll be asked for the information again the next time you login.
    • If you find your NIU email address already populated, click Verify to change it to a non-NIU email address.
  • Outlook Client Users: You won't be able to add your alternate contact methods in the Outlook client itself. Please login at and follow the instructions above.

Adding your contact information here does not change what you already have in MyNIU. If you need to change your contact information there, please login at

Changing Your Password

Like before, everyone will change their passwords at

  • If you've forgotten your password but have already entered your alternate contact information, then you'll be able to use self-service password reset.
  • If for some reason, you have failed to enter and verify your alternate contact information and you've forgotten your password, you must still call the IT Service Desk at 815-753-8100. They will reset your password and ensure that you enter your contact information so that you don't need to call again.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is a method of providing multiple credentials to access a computer system. MFA is currently being used in all financial system sites (banks, credit card companies) to ensure proper identity management. MFA consists of at least two of the following methods for identity authorizations: Knowledge (something you know), Possession (something you have), and Uniqueness (something only you have).

Compromised credentials are the primary attack vector used to breach systems. Implementing MFA reduces our threat landscape across the NIU enterprise, while safeguarding the NIU brand.

  • In 2015, NIU employees were the victim of over $150,000 in attempted tax fraud;
  • We are currently seeing over 200 newly compromised account each week. These compromised accounts are then used to send more spam/phishing attacks to entities both within and outside of NIU.

| More Info on Email Phishing | Active Phishing Scams |

Known MFA Issues and Errors

  • Employees: When using app password, login with (ex.
  • Outlook or Skype crashes when opening or continues to prompt for login (Windows OS)
    • Go to Control Panel -> Credential Manager
    • Under Windows Credentials remove anything that contains 365 and then restart Outlook
    • If problem persists, next step is to remove and re-add the profile
  • Trouble logging into a non-Microsoft mail client on mobile device: Verify that you are using an app password and NOT your NIU password.
  • When using an app password on a device, make sure the device itself is secured with a password.
  • Azure Authenticator App: You must allow notifications from this app on your device in order to configure the app. 

Multi-Factor Authentication

Getting Started: NIU Video


Getting Started: Microsoft

MFA Options

MFA Mail Settings

More Info