FIDO2 based Passwordless technology allows users to use a USB key sign in to Azure AD without using passwords. Once enabled, the users will be able to sign in to their accounts and log onto their Windows 10 machines (Azure AD or Hybrid AD joined ) using FIDO2 Security keys. The access is still protected by two factors in this case: 1) having physical access to the security key and 2) PIN or Fingerprint (on devices with biometrics support) configured on the FIDO2 Security keys
In the context of Azure AD, FIDO2 Security keys are not a replacement of the standard authentication mechanisms, they are added as an alternative, marketed by Microsoft as one of the Passwordless login methods. Also note that there were changes introduced by Microsoft during the Ignite 2021 conference as described on this page.
The guide below will walk you through the steps required to enable passwordless access using Token2 FIDO2 Security keys
- An Azure AD tenant which licensed to use Azure MFA functions
- A global tenant admin account in Azure AD
- A regular account to use for the test
- A FIDO2 compatible security key, for example, Token2 T2F2 FIDO2 USB key
- Windows 10 - 1903 or higher. Only browsers supporting FIDO2 keys can be used as the during enrollment and sign-in
Enable FIDO2 authentication method
Newly created tenant subscriptions will have this enabled for all users, but, in some cases, you may need to enable FIDO2 (for all or selected user groups) by following the steps below:
- Go to the Azure Portal (https://portal.azure.com) and log in using your Global Admin account.
- Navigate to the "Azure Active Directory", then choose "User settings"
- Go to "User feature previews" and choose "Manage user feature preview settings"
- Enable the feature called "Users can preview features for registering and managing security info – enhanced". You can turn it on for All users - this will only add the possibility for end-users to self-enroll FIDO2 keys
To verify FIDO2 Security keys feature, go to "Authentication Methods" and make sure you have FIDO2 Security keys listed
After the authentication method has been activated, users are able to enroll their FIDO2 Keys. For newer key models (i.e. T2F2-BIO or T2F2NFC) you may need to set 'Enforce attestation' to 'No' - it takes time for Microsoft to add new metadata in the database.
User registration and management of FIDO2 security keys
Note that only end users can perform the enrollment. Administrator provisioning and de-provisioning of security keys is not available in the public preview.
- Browse to https://myprofile.microsoft.com
- Sign in if not already
- Click Security Info
- If the user already has at least one Azure Multi-Factor Authentication method registered, they can immediately register a FIDO2 security key.
- If they don’t have at least one Azure Multi-Factor Authentication method registered, they must add one.
- Add a FIDO2 Security key by clicking Add method and choosing Security key
- Choose USB device
- Have your key ready and choose Next
- A box will appear and ask you to create/enter a PIN for your security key, then touch the shield or lock icon on the key (the LED indicator is usually blinking at this moment). If the PIN code for your FIDO2 key has already been set, it will ask to enter it. Please note that for biometric-enabled keys, PIN can be replaced by a fingerprint authentication.
- You will be returned to the combined registration experience and asked to provide a meaningful name for your token so you can identify which one if you have multiple. Click Next.
- Click Done to complete the process
Changing the PIN and resetting the Security Key
Azure AD requires the security keys to be protected with a PIN code. This can be done during the enrollment, but you can also change the PIN code later if needed. In case you forgot the PIN code, you can reset the security key and re-enroll again (as a new FIDO2 Security device). Changing the PIN and resetting Token2 T2F2 security keys can be done using the Windows Control panel (Control Panel -> Windows Security -> Account Protection -> Windows Hello / Manage sign-in options -> Security Key -> Manage )
Please note that as per Microsoft's requirement "FIDO2 reset commands are only valid in the first 10 seconds of one power cycle". While this is well documented in the FIDO2 manufacturer guide, this was not made evident for end-users in the UI of the current Windows 10 Control Panel. So, if during the reset operation you get an error, please redo the operation and try to complete the reset within 10 seconds after you plugged the key to USB.
It is recommended to have more than one security key enrolled. This is why we decided to introduce the FIDO bundle
, which comes with a pair of T2F2 keys: one (primary, with a red sticker) to keep with you and one (secondary, with a green sticker) to keep in your desk drawer.