Students attempting to access ACORN and other online university services have been encountering a Shibboleth error page, preventing them from logging in. While this problem has been reported on the r/UofT subreddit as far back as three years ago, a number of students have recently reported an increase in the frequency of the error page to The Varsity.
The page reads, “Error Message: Message did not meet security requirements,” and it blocks students from accessing certain academic resources.
Shibboleth is a login tool that allows users to sign onto multiple platforms with one ID. Bo Wandschneider, U of T’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), said the issue is with Shibboleth and is not related to the university’s services. The issue cannot be consistently replicated, according to Wandschneider, and it remains unclear under what exact circumstances students’ logins redirect to the page.
“We’re not yet sure exactly why it’s happening,” said Wandschneider. “It is likely, from what we know, to be a browser-based issue and possibly something unique to something in installation or in browsers.”
When asked about suggestions that the Shibboleth error page is occurring more often to more students, Wandschneider noted that there have been a lack of comments raised by students at the Information Commons Help Desk.
A fix to the issue is most likely coming in the short term in the form of a solution or a work-around to the error page. Wandschneider also hopes that a new, more informative error page highlighting a localized and specific issue will be appearing in place of the current Shibboleth message.
He encouraged students to raise any issues they’re having at the Information Commons Help Desk, saying that it “allows us to… collect information on how this issue arises and then we can figure out how to come up with a solution.”
First-year engineering student Ryuji Mori stressed the hindrance of the “super inconvenient” page on his daily homework routine. “Because I only think of doing homework once a day, when [the page] comes up, it completely derails me.”
If students encounter the page, whether regularly or sporadically, Wandschneider encourages reporting any issues to the Information Commons Help Desk, which can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.