Multifactor Authentication

An Okta adminAn abbreviation of administrator. This is the individual(s) who have access to the Okta Administrator Dashboard. They control the provisioning and deprovisioning of end users, the assigning of apps, the resetting of passwords, and the overall end user experience. Only administrators have the Administration button on the upper right side of the My Applications page. can configure MFA at the organization level or application level. If both levels are enabled, end usersEnd users are people in your org without administrative control. They can authenticate into apps from the icons on their My Applications home page, but they are provisioned, deprovisioned, assigned, and managed by admins. are prompted to confirm their credentials with factors both when signing in to Okta and when accessing an application.


Note: Only some admins have permissions to add or remove factors and configure factor enrollment settings. For information about admin roles and permissions, see Administrators.

Okta admin UI for Factor Type Configuration and Enrollment


MFA Factor Type Comparison

Factor Type Security Deployability Usability




MITM Resistance

Passwords Weak Strong Strong Weak Weak
Security Questions Weak Strong Moderate Weak Weak
SMS / Voice / Email Moderate Strong Strong Moderate Weak
Software OTP Moderate Strong Moderate Moderate Weak
Physical OTP Moderate Weak Weak Moderate Weak
Push Verification Strong Strong Strong Strong Moderate
YubiKey OTP Strong Strong Strong Moderate Weak
U2F and WebAuthn Strong Moderate Strong Strong Strong
Windows Hello Strong Weak Strong Strong Strong


Note about Phishing Resistance:

Push verification such as Okta Verify Push is more effective than OTP against traditional phishing. However, for stronger resistance, use FIDO-based factors such as U2F, Windows Hello, or WebAuthn.


Note about YubiKeys

YubiKeys can be deployed in OTP mode and/or as a U2F or WebAuthn factor based on FIDO1 and FIDO2 standards.


Enable Factor Types

  1. Navigate to Security > Multifactor > Factor Types.
  2. For each factor type, select Active or Inactive to change its status. This setting affects if the factor is enabled for end users.
  3. For each factor type, configure the available options displayed based on your security requirements.


MFA Factor Configuration

  • Okta Verify

    To sign in, end-users must start the Okta Verify appAn abbreviation of application. Essentially, it is a web-based site used to perform any number of specific tasks, and requires authentication from end users by signing in. on their mobile device to generate a six-digit code they use to sign into your orgThe Okta container that represents a real-world organization.. The numbers are generated using the industry standard Time-Based One-Time Password Algorithm. For more information, including configuration and usage, see Okta Verify.


  • SMS Authentication

    End users sign in to their org and authenticate by entering a security token that is sent to their mobile device.

    Note: If your org uses a single phone number to authenticate multiple end users:

    • All users will enroll in this factor with the same phone number.
    • Due to a high level of user activity, the number may be blacklisted. If this occurs, contact Okta Support immediately to confirm that the number is trusted by your org.

  • Voice Call Authentication

    To sign in, you must enter a security token that is generated, then sent to you via phone call from a mobile device or land line phone.

    Note: If your org uses a single phone number to authenticate multiple end users:

    • All users will enroll in this factor with the same phone number.
    • Due to a high level of user activity, the number may be blacklisted. If this occurs, contact Okta Support immediately to confirm that the number is trusted by your org.

  • Google Authenticator

    To sign in, end users must start the Google Authenticator app on their mobile device to generate a six-digit code they use to sign into your org. The numbers are generated using the industry standard Time-Based One-Time Password Algorithm. The allowable clock skew is two minutes. After five unsuccessful attempts, regardless of the time between the attempts, the user account is locked and must be reset by an administrator.


  • U2F Security Key (FIDO 1.0)

    End-users use a U2F compliant security key to sign into Okta. Examples of supported U2F security keys include a YubiKey or Titan Security Key.

    U2F is supported only for Chrome and Firefox browsers.

    If your policy allows for optional factors, end users can change to a different factor through the Okta Settings page, under Extra Verification.

    Note: The U2F security key is not compatible with RADIUS-enabled implementations.


  • Web Authentication (FIDO2) 

    FIDO2 Web Authentication (WebAuthn) is a standard web API that is incorporated into web browsers and related web platform infrastructure. This standard provides users with new methods to securely authenticate on the web across various sites and devices using factors that are enabled and configured for WebAuthn.

    Once this factor is configured, additional verification will be required when users sign in to Okta. End users can enroll in up to ten instances of the same WebAuthn factor, which can be set up either from the sign-in widget or from settings on the end user dashboard.

    If the user selects Security key or built-in authenticator at sign in, they will be prompted to register an authenticator via Web Authentication in order to sign in to Okta successfully. Users can follow the on-screen prompts for browser or OS instructions in order to gain access. For more information about the FIDO2 WebAuthn standard, see FIDO2 Project.


    Web Authentication supports two methods of authentication:

    • Security keys such as YubiKeys or Google Titan
    • Built-in authenticators such as Windows Hello or Apple Touch ID


    WebAuthn and Web Browser Support

    WebAuthn is supported in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers to different degrees. Support for credential creation and assertion using a U2F Token (such as Yubico-provided tokens) is supported by all three browsers. For a full list of desktop and mobile browser compatibility refer to Browser Compatibility.

    Note: Embedded web browsers may not support WebAuthn.


    WebAuthn and Windows 10 Support

    As part of FIDO2, the WebAuthN standard only supports Windows 10 version 1809 and newer. Older versions of Windows 10 use a deprecated implementation of WebAuthn, which is not supported by Okta.


    WebAuthn Security Key Enrollment

    An admin may enroll a WebAuthn security key on behalf of an end user. To enroll a security key:

    1. Navigate to Directories > People.
    2. Click on a user's name to view their profile.
    3. Click Profile to view the user attributes page.
    4. Under More Actions, click Enroll WebAuthn Security Key. The Enroll Web Authentication Security Key prompt appears.
    5. Click Enroll to enroll the key. Your browser or device will prompt you to enroll the key.
    6. Follow the on-screen instructions. A confirmation message is displayed once enrollment is successful.


  • Windows Hello

    Windows Hello is no longer available as an Early AccessEarly Access (EA) features are opt-in features that you can try out in your org by asking Okta Support to enable them. Additionally, the Features page in the Okta Admin Console (Settings > Features) allows Super Admins to enable and disable some EA features themselves. feature. It will soon be deprecated to support the new FIDO2 WebAuthn standard, which is compatible with Windows Hello authenticators.

    To learn more about factors supported by WebAuthn, please refer to Web Authentication.


  • YubiKey

    Using their USB connector, end users press on the YubiKey hard token to emit a new, one-time password to securely log into their accounts. Security is assured, as all YubiKey validation occurs within the Okta Cloud.


  • Duo Security

    When signing in, end-users are prompted for additional verification. End users can then select the authentication type that is supported by their device to verify their identity. For details about this option, see Configuring Duo Security.


  • Symantec VIP

    Available for free in the United States and Canada in both enterprise and SSOAn acronym for single sign-on. In a SSO system, a user logs in once to the system and can access multiple systems without being prompted to sign in for each one. Okta is a cloud-based SSO platform that allows users to enter one name and password to access multiple applications. Users can access all of their web applications, both behind the firewall and in the cloud, with a single sign in. Okta provides a seamless experience across PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. editions, this factor enables you to use the VIP Manager tool to obtain a certificate that you use to sign in.


  • On-Prem MFA

    To sign in, end-users must use an RSA hardware dongle device or soft token to generate an authentication code to sign into your org. The numbers are generated using a built-in clock and the card's factory-encoded random key. The Okta On-Prem MFA agentA software agent is a lightweight program that runs as a service outside of Okta. It is typically installed behind a firewall and allows Okta to tunnel communication between an on-premises service and Okta's cloud service. Okta employs several agent types: Active Directory, LDAP, RADIUS, RSA, Active Directory Password Sync, and IWA. For example, users can install multiple Active Directory agents to ensure that the integration is robust and highly available across geographic locations. (formerly named the RSA SecurID agent) acts as a RADIUS clientEssentially, a client is anything that talks to the Okta service. Within the traditional client-server model, Okta is the server. The client might be an agent, an Okta mobile app, or a browser plugin. and will communicate with your RADIUS enabled on-prem MFA server, including RSA Authentication manager for RSA SecurIDs. For details about this option, see Configuring the On-Prem MFA Agent (including RSA SecurID).


  • Security Question

    To sign in, users must enter the correct response to a security question that they select from a list of possible questions.


  • Email

    End-users receive a code in an email message to enter during Okta sign in.


  • IdPAn acronym for Identity Provider. It is a service that manages end user accounts analogous to user directories such as LDAP and Active Directory, and can send SAML responses to SPs to authenticate end users. Within this scenario, the IdP is Okta. Authentication

    This is an Early Access feature. To enable it, please contact Okta Support.

    Identity Provider (IdP) authentication allows admins to create a custom SAMLAn acronym for Security Assertion Markup Language, SAML is an XML-based standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data between an identity provider (IdP) and a service provider (SP). The SAML standard addresses issues unique to the single sign-on (SSO) solution, and defines three roles: the end user, the IdP, and the SP. Here's how SAML works through Okta: SP-initiated flow: the end user requests (principally through a browser) a service from the SP. The SP requests and obtains an identity assertion from the IdP (in this case, Okta). On the basis of this assertion, the SP can decide whether or not to authorize or authenticate the service for the end user. IdP-initiated flow: with Okta as the IdP, an end user goes to the Okta browser and clicks on an app, sending a SAMLResponse to the configured SP. A session is established with the SP, and the end user is authenticated. MFA factor based on a configured Identity Provider. For more information, see Custom IdP Factor Authentication.


  • Custom TOTP Authentication

    This is an Early Access feature. To enable it, please contact Okta Support.

    Custom TOTP Factor allows admins to enroll users in a custom TOTP factor by importing a seed into Okta and authenticating users with the imported hardware token. For more information, see Custom TOTP Factor.

Enable and Reset MFA

Additional MFA resources