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Duo Multi-Factor Authentication to Add New "Carrier Pigeon" Option

As described in Duo’s announcement, the Carrier Pigeon option, rather than prompting a phone login after two to 17 seconds, will deliver you an additional verification code via a grey bird eager to steal your bread.

Nov 10, 2018

Duo Multi-factor authentication to add new carrier pigeon option
Yesterday, NYU’s Multi-Factor Authentication provider, Duo, ruffled feathers with an announcement that the 2019 software update will implement Carrier Pigeon verification. This feature will not only eliminate phones from the login process but also any efficiency that MFA once had.
Continuing Duo’s tried and true business practice, this latest addition to MFA will somehow convince universities and companies around the world to expend an obscene amount of resources to protect accounts that Google — the foundation of modern civilization — already believes are safe.
This news largely flew under the radar yesterday despite an explanatory email sent out to all Duo users. Preliminary reports suggest that many users couldn’t summon the will to actually use Duo’s login procedure just to read emails they didn’t ask for.
The new Carrier Pigeon feature will join the already implemented Push, Passcode and Call authentication methods. As described in Duo’s announcement, the Carrier Pigeon option, rather than prompting a phone login after two to 17 seconds, will deliver you an additional verification code via the left leg of a grey bird eager to steal your bread.
After unwrapping the scroll delivered by the pigeon and manually entering the enclosed passcode, users will regain access to their account for the following 24 hours or until they switch computers, browsers or desperately need to print an assignment before class.
To ensure flight times of less than two hours, Duo is already in the process of converting thousands of server rooms across the globe to nesting grounds for their new avian fleet.
The head of Duo’s software security explained, “In a world where cyber attacks grow increasingly common and sophisticated, we finally decided, screw it, let’s just go analogue.” On the flip side, the head of marketing stated, “The gross technological incompetence of our users, combined with lingering app challenges lead us to just give everyone the bird.”
The following day, when asked how this update would improve efficiency or the overall quality of the user experience, they replied, “Sorry, your session has timed out after 24 hours, please re-validate your credentials.”
NYU Abu Dhabi is already making preparations to accommodate the MFA expansion.
Starting in January, all windows and doors on campus will be permanently latched open to allow for avian access. SERCO will augment any windows that cannot currently be opened, like those in C2, using sledgehammers to make new pigeon portals.
Moving into the spring and summer terms, NYUAD Facilities expects a 300 percent increase in air conditioning costs associated with NYUAD’s new Swiss Cheese Aesthetic. Projections indicate that by early March, 70 percent of air conditioning units will be working harder than the students they cool. On the bright side, many expect that studying in the library will no longer require two hoodies, hot chocolate and an electric blanket.
ADNH will also be providing platters of assorted birdseed in all public areas to refuel the fetching feathered fowl. Several pigeons, however, have expressed concerns that the birdseed may be bland and cater too much to the dove palate.
On the off chance that the Carrier Pigeon option doesn’t catch on with the student body, the university has taken precautions. Based on the success of the pilot study in the front palms, SERCO has begun installing speakers in every building to make intermittent pigeon sounds.
“Look,” explained an unnamed NYUAD Facilities administrator, “if you get to make arguments in class about readings you only hypothetically did, we get to make noises of birds that only hypothetically exist.”
While all the impacts of a pigeon-friendly campus remain to be seen, one thing seems clear: The safety of our data – with the exception of strong admission statistics and attracting prestigious speakers for commencement — remains NYUAD’s top priority.
Ian Hoyt is a satire columnist. Email him at
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