What is Duo Security and How do I Use It? (FAQ)

Duo Security is a service that uses a second login step to add security protection when accessing important systems and services, confidential institutional data, and personal information. This functionality is commonly called "two-factor authentication" or "2FA" and pairs something you know (your username and password) with something you have (a phone or mobile device) to perform a login. Drake is requiring the use of Duo on certain systems and types of access to ensure that campus information is kept safe.


When you login to a system setup with Duo, you are prompted to verify that the login is being made by you (using a device that only you control), and not by an attacker attempting to use your username and password to login and steal information or cause damage to systems.    

Duo offers several options to verify that logins are legitimate: 

  • a mobile push notification with one-tap verification of identity on a smartphone (requires installation of the free Duo Mobile app)
  • one-time codes generated in the Duo Mobile app on a smartphone
  • one-time codes generated by Duo and sent to a cell phone or tablet via sms messages 
  • a telephone call to a landline or mobile phone that will prompt you to verify the login request

In practice, you enter your username and password normally and will be prompted using the default method (normally a mobile push), or you can choose alternate methods depending on the application and your preferences. If you have multiple devices enrolled your default device is always selected, but you can change to other enrolled devices in most cases. You choose a method (push-notification, text message, phone call, or a one-time code) that is supported by the device type to gain secure, verified access to an application.

Three steps to stronger authentication

  1. Enter username and password as usual
  2. Use your phone to verify your identity
  3. Securely logged in
Can I use Duo without cellular service, a data plan, a wireless connection, or while travelling?

Yes, there are several methods that can be used without an Internet connection or internationally. For more information, see Using Duo Without Cellular Service or While Traveling

What if I receive an unexpected alert?

If you receive a notification (a login alert on the Duo Mobile app, a phone call from the authentication system, or a batch of passcodes via text message) that you did not initiate, your Drake account password may have been compromised. Reject the alert, change your password as soon as possible at password.drake.edu, and contact the ITS Support Center.

How do I access the Duo self-service portal?

To access the Duo self-service portal, click or tap either the My Settings & Devices or Add a new device link on some web-based Duo authentication screen, or browse to duo.drake.edu. You will need to authenticate with Duo in order to access the self-service portal.

What if I lose my preferred authentication device?

If you lose the device used to authenticate with Duo (your phone, tablet, or token), contact the ITS Support Center right away. They will help you disable the device and add a different authentication method.

What if I forget my preferred authentication device?

If you are separated from your mobile device that's used to authenticate with Duo (but it's not lost or stolen), contact the ITS Support Center. They will help you setup a temporary alternative method to authenticate until you have your device again.

How do I add a new mobile device?

You may add new devices via the Duo self-service portal at duo.drake.edu. If you upgrade to a new smartphone with the same number as your old one, you can still access the self-service portal to complete the activation using the phone call authentication method. You may also contact the ITS Support Center for assistance.

Can I register multiple devices?

During the enrollment process, you may register as many devices as you wish, including smartphones, tablets, and authentication tokens. If you need to register another device once you have completed the initial enrollment process, you can do so from the Duo self-service portal at duo.drake.edu.

ITS recommends that you register at least two devices, for example both your smartphone and a landline, such as your desk phone. In the event that you lose one device, you will still be able to access systems using your secondary device.

What if I don't have a cell phone?

If you don't have a cell phone, you can register one or more landlines. Duo will call the phone from 515-271-2011 and provide instructions on how to authenticate.

What if I don't have a supported device?

If you do not have access to a smartphone, tablet, landline, or authentication token that you can use for 2FA, please contact the ITS Support Center.