Defending against ransomware attacks

Adding Duo Security to more campus systems

Digital padlock on abstract technology background

Email to Rice departments from Rice's Information Security Office sent on September 22, 2021

Subject: Additional Account Protections for Google and Microsoft Email, Calendar and Collaboration Environments

Dear Colleagues,

As you likely are aware, ransomware has evolved into a significant threat to organizations worldwide, regardless of size or industry. Defending against ransomware attacks requires a layered approach that includes preventative and detective measures. Over the past two years we have successfully implemented several of these protections with your help.

Our next step is an important one - adding Duo Security, or Duo, to our Google and Microsoft email, calendar and collaboration environments. Duo adds a layer of protection to our password system, making it much more difficult for attackers to use stolen passwords to access campus resources. We already use Duo for several critical applications today, including our virtual private network service (VPN) and, more recently, imagineOne.

Over the next few months, we will work with your departments to determine the best time to implement this added layer of account protection. We will provide sessions to ask questions about this change, why it helps protect against ransomware, and how it will impact logins to these services in the future. Additionally, we can host focused sessions for smaller groups or departments.

The first information session will be on Monday, October 18, 2021 starting at noon via Zoom (link to follow in October).

Thank you for your continued support in protecting our campus IT resources. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Marc Scarborough, Chief Information Security Officer