Create authentication profiles

This topic describes how to create authentication profiles so you can use adaptive multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure access to resources like CyberArk Identity, enrolled endpoints, sensitive applications, and VPN connections.

The authentication profile is where you define the required authentication mechanisms such as password, email confirmation code, mobile authenticator, QR code, FIDO2, and more. Authentication mechanisms are divided into the following primary categories:

  • Something you have

  • Something you are

  • Something you know

Authentication profiles are selected based on authentication rules. Authentication rules are specific to the resource you want to secure. For example, you can use an authentication rule to apply a stricter authentication profile to users signing in to CyberArk Identity from outside the corporate network.

Three default authentication profiles are available:

Default profile

Description

Default New Device Login Profile

Uses Password for the first challenge and Mobile Authenticator, Text message (SMS) confirmation code, Email confirmation code, or OATH OTP Client for the second challenge with a 12 hours pass-through duration.

Default Other Login Profile

Uses Password for the first challenge and no secondary challenge with a 12 hours pass-through duration.

Default Password Reset Profile

Gives the option for users to use Mobile Authenticator, Text message (SMS) confirmation code, Email confirmation code, or OATH OTP Client for the first challenge with a 12 hours pass-through duration.

Push notifications to 3rd party services such as email, SMS, and phone calls are subject to a delay that is independent of the CyberArk Identity. If the mobile carrier or mail provider causes a delay in receiving notifications that impact login, we recommend you use a none push authentication mechanism such as OATH token, or the CyberArk Identity mobile app's Mobile Authenticator "Enter code" option, which does not rely on a 3rd party service to deliver the message to the device.

Create an authentication profile

You can create new authentication profiles for additional control beyond the included default profiles.

For increased security and MFA compliance, CyberArk recommends selecting mechanisms from different categories. As you select mechanisms, you can see your Authenticator Assurance Level (AAL) minimum and maximum scores in the authentication profile. Selecting multiple mechanisms for users to pick from might result in authentication combinations with a low AAL score. Limit your selections when you want to guarantee a minimum AAL for sensitive resources or applications.

Our AAL related features do not guarantee compliance with NIST guidelines. Refer to https://pages.nist.gov/800-63-3/sp800-63b.html for additional detail about NIST guidelines.

NIST guidelines require at least eight characters in the answer for mechanisms in the Something you know category. If you do not require at least 8 characters, those mechanisms are not counted in AAL scoring.

Refer to the following topics to set requirements for mechanisms in the Something you know category.

Watch the video!

To create an authentication profile

  1. Go to Settings > Authentication, and then click Add Profile.
  2. Enter a unique name for each profile.
  3. Select the authentication mechanism(s) from either Multiple Authentication Mechanisms or Single Authentication Mechanism.

    You can't select the same mechanism in both challenge menus. For example, if you select QR Code in either of the challenge columns under Multiple Authentication Mechanisms, you can't select it under Single Authentication Mechanism.

    RADIUS does not support FIDO2 authentication mechanisms.

    Some authentication mechanisms require additional configurations before users can authenticate using those mechanisms. Make sure your users complete the configuration requirements for any mechanism you plan to use. Refer to for more detail.

    Authentication set Description
    Multiple Authentication Mechanisms

    You can require that the first challenge be the user’s account password, then for the second challenge users can choose between an email confirmation code, security question, or text message confirmation code. See Authentication mechanisms for information about each authentication mechanism.

    If you have multiple challenges, the CyberArk Identity waits until users enter all challenges before giving the authentication response (pass or fail). For example, if users enter the wrong password for the first challenge, the CyberArk Identity will not send the authentication failure message until after users respond to the second challenge.

    If users fail their first challenge and the second challenge is SMS, email, or phone call, the default configuration is that the CyberArk Identity will not send the SMS/email or trigger the phone call. Contact support to change this configuration.
    Single Authentication Mechanism

    Single authentication challenges are sufficient for users to log in without any additional challenges, even if you selected challenges from Multiple Authentication Mechanisms.

    For example: if you select Password for Challenge 1, Security Question(s) for Challenge 2, and QR Code from Single Authentication Mechanism, a user with an enrolled device can scan the QR Code with the CyberArk Identity mobile app to log in, bypassing the mechanisms selected from Multiple Authentication Mechanisms. If a user does not have an enrolled device, the user can log in by responding to the challenges selected from Multiple Authentication Mechanisms (Password and Security Question(s) in this example).

    Authentication mechanism

    Description

    Something you have

    Mobile Authenticator

    When you select this option, users authenticate using a one-time passcode displayed by the CyberArk Identity mobile app installed on their mobile devices.

    If devices are connected via the cell network or a wi-fi connection, users can send the passcodes from the devices. If the devices are not connected, users must manually enter the passcodes into the CyberArk Identity mobile app login prompt.

    If devices are connected via the cell network or a wi-fi connection, users can send the passcodes from the devices. If the devices are not connected, users must manually enter the passcodes into the Admin Portal or CyberArk Identity user portal login prompt.

    The availability of this mechanism to users can be controlled using the Show Mobile Authenticator by default policy. This policy is in Core Services > Policies > select existing policy or create a new one > Endpoint Policies > Common Mobile Settings > Security Settings. Mobile device configuration policies overview for more information on the policy.

    This option requires users to have CyberArk Identity mobile app installed on their devices and those devices must be enrolled in CyberArk Identity.

    The following video illustrates how to enable users to use the CyberArk Identity mobile app as a mobile authenticator.

    Phone call

    When you select this option, CyberArk Identity calls the user using the stored phone number (mobile or land line) and describes an action the user must perform to complete the authentication. The user completes the action from the device to log in. If your tenant is configured on CyberArk Identity 17.10 or newer, see Enable phone PIN because additional configuration is required.

    This option is disabled for new tenants by default. Contact your account representative to enable this authentication mechanism.

    OATH OTP Client

    This text string is configurable and reflects what you entered during the OATH OTP configuration. When you select this option, users can use a third party authenticator (like Google Authenticator) to scan a CyberArk Identity generated QR code and get a one-time-passcode (OTP). This authentication mechanism requires additional configurations. See Enable OATH OTP.

    Text message (SMS) confirmation code

    When you select this option, CyberArk Identity sends a text message to the user’s mobile phone with a one-time confirmation code and/or an authentication link. Depending on the language setting, some languages display only the confirmation code while others display the confirmation code and link. Users who are connected to the Internet can click/tap the link. Otherwise, they need to enter the confirmation code in the login prompt.

    This option is disabled for new tenants by default. Contact your account representative to enable this authentication mechanism.

    You can configure the confirmation code length (6 or 8 digits) in Admin PortalSettings > Authentication > Security Settings > Email and SMS passcode length drop down option. The default is 8 digits.

    The link and confirmation code are valid for five minutes. If a user does not respond within this time period, the CyberArk Identity cancels the login attempt.

    Additionally, you can configure CyberArk Identity to allow users to click a Send SMS again link to request a new SMS text message if the user doesn't receive the initial message in a specified period of time. You can configure this in Admin Portal > Core Services > Policies > Authentication Policies > CyberArk Identity > Other Settings.

    To ensure delivery of SMS messages, CyberArk Identity uses a backup SMS provider and cycles through the providers on SMS retry attempts.

    Duo

    Select this option to use Duo as an authentication factor. For example, if you already use Duo for authentication to other applications, you can continue to use it with CyberArk Identity as well. If you select Duo, the authentication process provides an opportunity for users to configure their devices to use Duo, if they haven't already done so.

    You have to configure Duo in your CyberArk Identity tenant before you can select it as a authentication mechanism. Refer to Duo authentication for more information.

    Email confirmation code

    When you select this option, CyberArk Identity sends a confirmation code and a link to the user’s email address. Users who are connected to the Internet can click/tap the link. Otherwise, they need to enter the confirmation code in the login prompt.

    You can configure the confirmation code length (6 or 8 digits) in Admin PortalSettings > Authentication > Security Settings > Email and SMS passcode length drop down option. The default is 8 digits.

    The link and confirmation code are valid for five minutes. If a user does not respond within this time period, the CyberArk Identity cancels the login attempt.

    QR Code

    Select this option to present users with a Quick Response (QR) Code that they can scan with the CyberArk Identity mobile app on an enrolled mobile device.

    Successfully scanning a QR Code bypasses other authentication mechanisms when it's selected under Single Authentication Mechanism.

    FIDO2 Authenticator(s) (single factor)

    FIDO2 is an authentication standard hosted by FIDO Alliance. This standard includes the Web Authentication ("WebAuthn") API, which is a specification written by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and FIDO, with participation from additional third parties. The WebAuthn API is backward compatible with Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) keys.

    CyberArk leverages the WebAuthn API to enable passwordless authentication to the CyberArk Identity using either external or on-device authenticators.

    Single-factor FIDO2 authenticators are something you have. Examples are external authenticators like security keys that you plug into the device's USB port; for example, a YubiKey.

    Refer to NIST 800-63b for more information about single-factor cryptographic devices.

    FIDO2 authenticator(s) are either on-device or external security keys that provide passwordless authentication.

    Something you are

    FIDO2 Authenticator(s) (multi-factor)

    FIDO2 is an authentication standard hosted by FIDO Alliance. This standard includes the Web Authentication ("WebAuthn") API, which is a specification written by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and FIDO, with participation from additional third parties. The WebAuthn API is backward compatible with Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) keys.

    CyberArk leverages the WebAuthn API to enable passwordless authentication to the CyberArk Identity using either external or on-device authenticators.

    Supported multi-factor FIDO2 authenticators are something you are. Popular examples are biometric authenticators integrated into device hardware, such as Mac Touch ID, Windows Hello, and fingerprint scanners.

    Refer to NIST 800-63b for more information about multi-factor cryptographic devices.

    FIDO2 authenticator(s) are either on-device or external security keys that provide passwordless authentication.

    Something you know

     

    Password

    When you select this option, users are prompted for either their Active Directory or CyberArk Identity user password when logging in to the Admin portal.

    Security Question(s)

    When you select this option, users are prompted to answer user-defined and/or admin-defined security questions. When creating the authentication profile, you can specify the number of questions users must answer. You can also specify the number of user-defined and admin-defined questions available to users. See Enable and configure Security Questions. Users create, select, or change the question and answer from their Account page in the user portal.

    Other

    3rd Party RADIUS Authentication

    When you select this option, we communicate with your RADIUS server to allow for user authentication into CyberArk Identity or an enrolled endpoint. See Configure CyberArk Identity for RADIUS.

     

  4. (Optional) Select the pass-through duration.

    If users have already authenticated using one of the specified mechanism within this duration, then they will not be authenticated again. The default is 30 minutes.

    This pass-through option does not apply to Windows or Mac MFA logins, or RADIUS VPN connections; only the User Portal and the Admin Portal.
  5. Click OK.

    If you have not created an authentication rule, see Create authentication rules to create one and associate this profile to it.

Secure access to user account settings

Authentication profiles are also used to secure user access to user account settings. For example, you can require that before users can modify their personal profile, they must first authenticate using a confirmation code sent through email. The following table describes relevant user account settings.

Setting Description
Change user password See Configure user password change options
Configure an OATH OTP client See Enable OATH OTP.
Create a security question

Using Admin Portal > Core Services > Policies > User Security Policies > User Account Settings > Authentication Profile required to set Security Question drop-down list, you can select an authentication profile with the necessary authentication mechanism defined. This option requires users to authenticate before creating the security question on the User Portal > Account > Security page.

Modify personal profile information

Using Admin Portal > Core Services > Policies > User Security Policies > User Account Settings > Authentication Profile required to modify Personal Profile drop-down list, you can select an authentication profile with the necessary authentication mechanism defined. This option will require users to authenticate before updating anything on the User Portal > Account > Personal Profile page.