AWS Identity and Access Management Supports Multiple MFA Devices

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is making it possible to add multiple multi-factor authentication devices to AWS Account root users and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) users in their AWS accounts in a move to help limit access management to highly privileged principals.

Previously, organizations could only have one MFA device associated with root users or IAM users, but now they can associate up to eight MFA devices, the company announced this week.

The cloud services provider recommends against using root users or IAM users to manage access to accounts, and instead organizations should use AWS IAM Identity Center, the company’s successor to AWS Single Sign-on, to manage access to accounts.

AWS says it supports three types of MFA devices or IAM: FIDO security keys, virtual authenticator applications and time-based one-time password (TOTP) hardware tokens. Different types of MFA devices can be associated with an IAM principal.

According to AWS, these are the use cases for using multiple MFA devices with an IAM principal:

  • In the event of a lost, stolen, or inaccessible MFA device, users can use one of the remaining MFA devices to access the account without performing account recovery. AWS recommends disassociating the lost or stolen device form the root users or IAM users it’s associated with.
  • Geographically distributed or hybrid teams can use hardware-based MFA to access AWS without having to ship a device or coordinating physical exchange of a device between employees.
  • If the holder of an MFA device isn’t available, organizations can maintain access to root users and IAM users by using a different MFA device associated with an IAM principal.
  • Organizations can store additional MFA devices in a secure physical location while retaining physical access to another MFA device for redundancy.

This feature is available now in all AWS Regions, except AWS GovCloud (US) Regions AWS China (Beijing) Region, operated by Sinnet, and the AWS (Ningxia) Region, operated by NWCD, the company says.

Learn more in this AWS blog post.

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