Two colleges are taking a seemingly unconventional approach to improve campus cybersecurity and are working to eliminate passwords.

New York’s Marist College and Boston College have partnered with the cybersecurity company SAFE to pilot SAFE products built to eliminate passwords. In a press release, the schools said the pilot programs would also help staff and students save time and ensure accurate student activity reports in hybrid and distance learning environments.

For SAFE, the company believes the pilot programs will provide additional data to show that its combination of cybersecurity and communications tools can save faculty “hours per month” and make it easier to call students into class, automate attendance of hybrid classes, and eliminate unauthorized access. Additionally, SAFE says the pilots will also add more evidence that users prefer to login without passwords, and smartphone technology provides a more secure, convenient access method.

The pilot programs are being funded via a grant from SAFE. David Schropfer, CEO of SAFE, said the company selected Marist College and Boston College for the pilot program “because of their excellence in higher education, computer science, and market studies.”

With an increased reliance on distance and hybrid learning, colleges and universities have had to deal with an expanded attack surface and have seen a spike in cyberattacks. In response to the rise in attacks, Schropfer said that by “eliminating passwords for all student access, we eliminate a widely-exploited attract vector.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs