MFA Setup

Security Services
Samuelson 255
(509) 963-2001

Multi-factor Authentication at CWU:

ENFORCED May 3, 2023

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an extra layer of security before signing in to an online service. MFA helps ensure that you are the only person who can access your account(s), even if someone steals your password. For certain applications at CWU, you will sign in using your MyCWU account and as a second step, reconfirm your identity using a verification device of your choice, like a phone or tablet.

MFA is critical in preventing unauthorized access to personal and institutional information if your password is compromised. CWU Information Services & Security staff are working to integrate MFA into all services utilized by the Wildcat community.

Sign up before May 3, 2023: Win a $200 Wildcat Shop gift card!*

If you sign up before April 2023, you will have a chance to win two $200 Wildcat Shop gift cards!*

Rapid Setup

Quick setup MFA guide.

*A drawing will happen on the first day of each month, in April and May, with six lucky winners! Have a chance to win every month! Sign up for MFA to be entered.

CWU will enforce all students to be enrolled in MFA by May 3, 2023. If you have not set up your authentication methods by then, you will not be able to access MyCWU, Canvas, and other key applications used at CWU.

Security Features and Benefits

  • Protects sensitive data, even if a MyCWU password has been compromised
  • Helps mitigate phishing attacks by preventing access to sensitive information
  • Conveniently functions worldwide via a variety of device types
  • Flexible verification options meet multiple scenarios

Notification Types

Below are the ways you can choose to verify your identity when signing in to MFA-enabled university systems.

  • NEW: Number Matching via the Microsoft Authenticator App

    Microsoft introduced support for number matching to its Authenticator app. The company has announced that the new security feature will be enabled by default for all Microsoft Authenticator users worldwide in May 8, 2023. Microsoft encourages institutions to enable Number Matching before the enforcement date to ensure consistent behavior for all users, hence, CWU will enforce number matching beginning on March 8, 2023.

    With number matching enabled, the Microsoft Authenticator app requires users to type a number displayed on the computer screen to complete the authentication process. Microsoft notes that the feature helps to prevent accidental approvals and provides protection against multi-factor authentication fatigue attacks.

    Moreover, the additional context feature enables users to view extra information while approving a sign-in request in Microsoft Authenticator. These include the name of the application being used and the login based on the device's IP address. Microsoft says that these additional details help users to understand the valididy of a sign-in request.

    How to use number matching verification:

    When you authenticate into your CWU account with MFA, instead of clicking the Approve notification on your smartphone, you will enter the number that appears on the device you are trying to sign in to. So, when you enter your username and password, your device will present a number (example: 58). Next, you will need to type that number into the Authenticator app to complete the approval.

    Number matching is in effect after March 8, 2023 at CWU.

    Android notification for Authenticator app for number matching multi-factor authentication

  • Microsoft Authenticator App (Recommended)

    The Microsoft Authenticator app is a verification solution compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices, including tablets, and smartphones. This is the recommended method for verifying your identity. It can be used with or without an internet connection and it is the most secure method.

  • Phone Call

    The phone call option is another verification solution. Answer the call and press the appropriate key on your phone to approve and sign in. Visit the how-to guide to add the phone call option as a backup, or as your default verification method.

Manage your registered devices

You can manage your registered device(s) at any time, including:

  • Adding a phone, personal email or other device as a backup in case your primary phone is unavailable. This is highly recommended.
  • Changing your primary device to receive notifications.
  • Changing your notification type.
  • Reactivating the Microsoft Authenticator app on your device.

CWU continues to be proactive in using various technologies to protect personal student data and the data of the entire university community. As members of the university community, we all have a responsibility to take steps to protect our MyCWU passwords, which will ultimately protect access to your sensitive information.

How to manage registered devices.

"Stay Signed In"

You have the option to click "yes" in a "stay signed in" box, which will bypass the need to use MFA for subsequent sign ins for 8 days. You will, however, still need to use your MyCWU username and password for each sign in.

Currently requested quick links:

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How to setup MFA on your CWU account

How to change, add, or delete MFA methods

MFA article by CISA

Troubleshooting your MFA access

If troubleshooting your MFA access did not resolve your issue, you may request MFA assistance.

Don't have a phone? No problem. Information Services has another option for you, please reach out to the Service Desk for details. You can reach them by phone at (509) 963-2001 or via email at

Note: all computer labs on campus are exempt from MFA. So, if you need to sign in to a computer without MFA, you can do so in any computer lab on the Ellensburg campus.