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How to set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

For its architecture and compatibility, Linux has always been a popular operating system among IT professionals who handle critical workloads in cloud computing environments. However, this widely used OS is also susceptible to data breaches and attacks. Using endpoint multi-factor authentication (MFA) is essential for organizations to protect their machines and the network they're on. Having more than one factor of identity authentication will reduce the chances of hackers stealing credentials and breaching an organization's network.

Linux multi-factor authentication setup

ADSelfService Plus, an integrated Active Directory self-service password management and single sign-on solution, provides an additional layer of security for the Linux users with endpoint MFA. This feature, when enabled, will allow users to access their machines after authenticating successfully through their Active Directory credentials and any of ADSelfService Plus' MFA methods.

ADSelfService Plus supports 15 different authentication methods:

  • Security questions and answers
  • Email verification codes
  • SMS verification codes
  • Google Authenticator
  • Microsoft Authenticator
  • Duo Security
  • RSA SecurID
  • RADIUS authentication
  • Push notification authentication
  • Fingerprint authentication
  • QR code-based authentication
  • Time-based one-time passcodes (TOTPs)
  • SAML authentication
  • AD-based secret questions
  • YubiKey Authenticator

Even if a hacker manages to gain a user's credentials through brute force attacks or credential stuffing, they are unlikely to have access to the user's email or phone to be able to go through the second factor of authentication.

So how do you set up MFA for Linux logins? Follow the steps below.

Enable multi-factor authentication for Linux

Prerequisites:

  • SSL must be enabled: To do this, log in to the ADSelfService Plus web console with admin credentials. Go to the Admin tab → Product Settings → Connection, and select the ADSelfService Plus Port [https] option.
  • Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

Step 1: Install ADSelfService Plus' Linux login agent through the admin console.

  1. Go to Configuration → Administrative Tools → GINA/Mac/Linux (Ctrl+Alt+Del).
  2. Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

  3. Click GINA/Mac/Linux Installation.
  4. Choose the required domain from the drop-down in the New Installation section.
  5. Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

  6. Click Add OUs to select the OUs for which the logon agent should be installed.
  7. Check the boxes next to the computers to which the logon agent needs to be pushed.
  8. Click Install.

Step 2: Enable authenticators

  1. Go to Configuration → Self-Service → Multi-factor Authentication → Authentication Setup.
  2. Select the type of authenticator you want to enable.
  3. Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

  4. Each authenticator comes with its own group of settings. Enter the required information in the appropriate fields. If you choose Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, or TOTP Authenticator, just select the enable button.
  5. Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

Step 3: Enable multi-factor authentication for Linux

  1. Go to Configuration → Self-Service → Multi-factor Authentication → MFA/TFA Settings.
  2. Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

  3. Choose the Policy from the drop-down.
  4. Note:

    1. ADSelfService Plus allows you to create OU and group-based policies. To create a policy, go to Configuration → Self-Service → Policy Configuration → Add New Policy. Click Select OUs/Groups, and make the selection based on your requirements. You need to select at least one self-service feature. Finally, click Save Policy.
  5. In the Endpoint MFA section, select the second authentication factor from the drop-down.
  6. Enable the Bypass TFA if ADSelfService Plus is down option.
  7. Click Save Settings.

And that's it! You've successfully configured MFA for Linux systems.

Set up multi-factor authentication for Linux logins

Your users' accounts will have better security, thanks to ADSelfService Plus' endpoint multi-factor authentication feature.

Some useful features of ADSelfServicePlus

  • 1
    Self-service password reset
  • 2
    Password policy enforcer
  • 3
    Password expiration notification
  • 4
    Directory self-update

Self-service password reset:

With ADSelfService Plus, users can reset their own passwords without help from the IT team, saving valuable time for the help desk. All users have to do is verify their identity through one or more authentication methods, and they're good to reset their passwords.

Password policy enforcer:

Users are required to create strong passwords thanks to the password policy enforcer feature in ADSelfService Plus. This feature prevents users from using palindromes, dictionary words, and certain patterns (example: qwerty, 1234) as passwords.

Password expiration notification:

ADSelf Service Plus keeps track of users' password expiration dates in Active Directory and sends email notifications to users whose passwords are about to expire.

Directory self-update:

Using ADSelfService Plus, admins can set up a layout with various fields for just the information that they need from users. The users can self-update their Active Directory information, saving valuable help desk time.

Tighten Windows/macOS/Linux logon security with multi-factor authentication.

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