Authentication mechanisms

This topic describes the authentication mechanisms available for configuring multi-factor authentication.

You can select the authentication mechanisms that will be available to users. However, the mechanisms offered to users on the log-in prompt depend on the user account’s properties. For example, if you select all of the mechanisms in a challenge column but a user only has a password and email address, then the login drop-down menu only offers those two options.

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 Manage adaptive MFA for more detail.

To set the authentication mechanisms, see Create authentication profiles.

Refer to the following table for a description of available authentication mechanisms.

Authentication mechanisms
Authentication mechanism

Description

Something you have

Mobile Authenticator

Enables users to authenticate with either a one-time passcode or by approving a push notification using the CyberArk Identity mobile app installed on their enrolled mobile devices.

If devices are connected through 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 Identity Administration portal or Identity Administration user portal sign in prompt.

In a policy set, use Endpoint Policies > Common Settings > Mobile Settings > Security Settings > Show Mobile Authenticator by default to control whether users see the Mobile Authenticator in the CyberArk Identity mobile app. The default behavior is to show the Mobile Authenticator.

To require number matching for users using the Mobile Authenticator, see Require number matching for Mobile Authenticator.

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, Identity Administration 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.

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 Identity Administration generated QR code and get a one-time-passcode (OTP). This authentication mechanism requires additional configurations. See How to configure OATH OTP.

Text message (SMS) confirmation code

When you select this option, Identity Administration 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 Identity Administration 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, Identity Administration cancels the login attempt.

Additionally, you can configure Identity Administration 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 Identity Administration portal > Core Services > Policies > Authentication Policies > CyberArk Identity > Other Settings.

To ensure delivery of SMS messages, Identity Administration 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 Identity Administration 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.

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

Email confirmation code

When you select this option, Identity Administration 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 Identity Administration 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, Identity Administration 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.

To enable the QR code, go to Settings > Authentication > Platform > Security Settings > Authentication Options, and then select Enable QR code based user identification on login screen.

Successfully scanning a QR code bypasses other authentication mechanisms when it's selected under Single Authentication Mechanism. This allows the user to authenticate without entering a username.

If you select QR Code for challenge 1 in the authentication profile and the user identifies themselves with a QR code, then the user is identified and authenticated at the same time and proceeds to challenge 2.

If you select a different authentication mechanism for challenge 1 and QR Code for challenge 2, then the user must scan a QR code a second time, even if they identified themselves with a QR code.

Mac Cloud Agent does not support QR code authentication for 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 Identity Administration 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.

YubiKey OTP

YubiKey one-time password (OTP) is an authentication method hosted by Yubico. YubiKey is a device that generates a one-time password used as a second factor authentication. The YubiKey device is inserted into a USB port or tapped on a device and a unique, one-time password is generated. The password is sent to the device being authenticated, then the device verifies the password.

You have to configure YubiKey OTP in your Identity Administration tenant before you can select it as an authentication mechanism. See the YubiKey Personalization Tool for more information.

Once configured, go to Settings > Authentication > YubiKey Configuration to enable YubiKey OTP. See Enable YubiKey OTP authentication for more information.

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 Identity Administration 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.

Passkey

A passkey can be used for authenticating an application without using a username or password. Passkeys are stored in a user's device to verify a user's identity and is something you are. A biometric sensor, such as a fingerprint, PIN, facial recognition, etc., unlocks the device and creates a passkey to communicate with an application to ensure access to the authorized user.

Passkeys are based on FIDO2 standards. See the FIDO Alliance on Passkeys for more information.

To configure a passkey, go to Policies > User Security Policies > User Account Settings and select Yes for Enable passkey authentication. See Enable passkeys for more information.

Something you know

 

Password

When you select this option, users are prompted for either their Active Directory or Identity Administration 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 Identity Administration or an enrolled endpoint. See Configure Identity Administration for RADIUS.