Available MFA types for IAM Identity Center - AWS IAM Identity Center

Available MFA types for IAM Identity Center

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a simple and effective mechanism to enhance the security of your users. A user’s first factor — their password — is a secret that they memorize, also known as a knowledge factor. Other factors can be possession factors (something you have, such as a security key) or inherence factors (something you are, such as a biometric scan). We strongly recommend that you configure MFA to add an additional layer of security to your account.

IAM Identity Center MFA supports the following device types. All MFA types are supported for both browser-based console access as well as using the AWS CLI v2 with IAM Identity Center.

A user can have up to eight MFA devices, which include up to two virtual authenticator apps and six FIDO authenticators, registered to one account. You can also configure MFA enablement settings to require MFA each time your users sign in or to enable trusted devices that don’t require MFA at every sign-in. For more information about how to configure MFA types for your users, see Choose MFA types and Configure MFA device enforcement.

FIDO2 authenticators

FIDO2 is a standard that includes CTAP2 and WebAuthn and is based on public key cryptography. FIDO credentials are phishing-resistant because they are unique to the website that the credentials were created such as AWS.

AWS supports the two most common form factors for FIDO authenticators: built-in authenticators and security keys. See below for more information about the most common types of FIDO authenticators.

Built-in authenticators

Many modern computers and mobile phones have built-in authenticators, such as TouchID on Macbook or a Windows Hello-compatible camera. If your device has a FIDO-compatible built-in authenticator, you can use your fingerprint, face, or device pin as a second factor.

Security keys

Security keys are FIDO-compatible external hardware authenticators that you can purchase and connect to your device through USB, BLE, or NFC. When you’re prompted for MFA, you simply complete a gesture with the key’s sensor. Some examples of security keys include YubiKeys and Feitian keys, and the most common security keys create device-bound FIDO credentials. For a list of all FIDO-certified security keys, see FIDO Certified Products.

Password managers, passkey providers, and other FIDO authenticators

Multiple third party providers support FIDO authentication in mobile applications, as features in password managers, smart cards with a FIDO mode, and other form factors. These FIDO-compatible devices can work with IAM Identity Center, but we recommend that you test a FIDO authenticator yourself before enabling this option for MFA.


Some FIDO authenticators can create discoverable FIDO credentials known as passkeys. Passkeys may be bound to the device that creates them, or they may be syncable and backed up to a cloud. For example, you can register a passkey using Apple Touch ID on a supported Macbook, and then log in to a site from a Windows laptop using Google Chrome with your passkey in iCloud by following the on-screen prompts at sign-in. For more information about which devices support syncable passkeys and current passkey interoperability between operating systems and browsers, see Device Support at passkeys.dev, a resource maintained by the FIDO Alliance And World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Virtual authenticator apps

Authenticator apps are essentially one-time password (OTP)–based third party-authenticators. You can use an authenticator application installed on your mobile device or tablet as an authorized MFA device. The third-party authenticator application must be compliant with RFC 6238, which is a standards-based time-based one-time password (TOTP) algorithm capable of generating six-digit authentication codes.

When prompted for MFA, users must enter a valid code from their authenticator app within the input box presented. Each MFA device assigned to a user must be unique. Two authenticator apps can be registered for any given user.

Tested authenticator apps

Any TOTP-compliant application will work with IAM Identity Center MFA. The following table lists well-known third-party authenticator apps to choose from.


Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) is an industry-standard client-server protocol that provides authentication, authorization, and accounting management so users can connect to network services. AWS Directory Service includes a RADIUS client that connects to the RADIUS server upon which you have implemented your MFA solution. For more information, see Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for AWS Managed Microsoft AD.

You can use either RADIUS MFA or MFA in IAM Identity Center for user sign-ins to the user portal, but not both. MFA in IAM Identity Center is an alternative to RADIUS MFA in cases where you want AWS native two-factor authentication for access to the portal.

When you enable MFA in IAM Identity Center, your users need an MFA device to sign in to the AWS access portal. If you had previously used RADIUS MFA, enabling MFA in IAM Identity Center effectively overrides RADIUS MFA for users who sign in to the AWS access portal. However, RADIUS MFA continues to challenge users when they sign in to all other applications that work with AWS Directory Service, such as Amazon WorkDocs.

If your MFA is Disabled on the IAM Identity Center console and you have configured RADIUS MFA with AWS Directory Service, RADIUS MFA governs AWS access portal sign-in. This means that IAM Identity Center falls back to RADIUS MFA configuration if MFA is disabled.