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1.10 Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all Identity and Access Management (IAM) users that have a console password (Automated)

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Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of authentication assurance beyond traditional credentials. With MFA enabled, when a user signs in to the AWS Console, they must provide their user name and password as well as an authentication code from their physical or virtual MFA token. Best practices recommend enabling MFA for all accounts that have a console password.


Enabling MFA provides increased security for console access as it requires the authenticating principal to possess a device that displays a time-sensitive key and have knowledge of a credential.


AWS will soon end support for SMS multi-factor authentication (MFA). New customers are not allowed to use this feature. We recommend that existing customers switch to one of the following alternative methods of MFA.


Perform the following to determine if a MFA device is enabled for all IAM users having a console password:

From Console

  1. Open the IAM console at
  2. In the left pane, select Users
  3. If the MFA or Password age columns are not visible in the table, click the gear icon at the upper right corner of the table and ensure a checkmark is next to both, then click Close.
  4. Ensure that for each user where the Password age column shows a password age, the MFA column shows Virtual, U2F Security Key, or Hardware.

From Command Line

  1. Run the following command (OSX/Linux/UNIX) to generate a list of all IAM users along with their password and MFA status:
 aws iam generate-credential-report
 aws iam get-credential-report --query 'Content' --output text | base64 -d | cut -d, -f1,4,8 
  1. The output of this command will produce a table similar to the following:
  1. For any column having password_enabled set to true , ensure mfa_active is also set to true.


Perform the following to enable MFA:

From Console

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the IAM console at ''.
  2. In the left pane, select Users.
  3. In the User Name list, choose the name of the intended MFA user.
  4. Choose the Security Credentials tab, and then choose Manage MFA Device.
  5. In the Manage MFA Device wizard, choose Virtual MFA device, and then choose Continue.

IAM generates and displays configuration information for the virtual MFA device, including a QR code graphic. The graphic is a representation of the 'secret configuration key' that is available for manual entry on devices that do not support QR codes.

  1. Open your virtual MFA application. (For a list of apps that you can use for hosting virtual MFA devices, see Virtual MFA Applications at If the virtual MFA application supports multiple accounts (multiple virtual MFA devices), choose the option to create a new account (a new virtual MFA device).
  2. Determine whether the MFA app supports QR codes, and then do one of the following:
  • Use the app to scan the QR code. For example, you might choose the camera icon or choose an option similar to Scan code, and then use the device's camera to scan the code.
  • In the Manage MFA Device wizard, choose Show secret key for manual configuration, and then type the secret configuration key into your MFA application.

When completed, the virtual MFA device starts generating one-time passwords.

  1. In the Manage MFA Device wizard, in the MFA Code 1 box, type the one-time password that currently appears in the virtual MFA device. Wait up to 30 seconds for the device to generate a new one-time password. Then type the second one-time password into the MFA Code 2 box.
  2. Click Assign MFA.



Additional Information

Forced IAM User Self-Service Remediation

Amazon has published a pattern that forces users to self-service setup MFA before they have access to their complete permissions set. Until they complete this step, they cannot access their full permissions. You can use this pattern on new and existing accounts - give users instructions and a grace period to accomplish MFA enrollment before active enforcement on existing AWS accounts.