AWS Security Blog

Secure by Design: AWS to enhance MFA requirements in 2024

Security is our top priority at Amazon Web Services (AWS). To that end, I’m excited to share that AWS is further strengthening the default security posture of our customers’ environments by requiring the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA), beginning with the most privileged users in their accounts. MFA is one of the simplest and most effective ways to enhance account security, offering an additional layer of protection to help prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to systems or data.

Beginning in mid-2024, customers signing in to the AWS Management Console with the root user of an AWS Organizations management account will be required to enable MFA to proceed. Customers who must enable MFA will be notified of the upcoming change through multiple channels, including a prompt when they sign in to the console.

We will expand this program throughout 2024 to additional scenarios such as standalone accounts (those outside an organization in AWS Organizations) as we release features that make MFA even easier to adopt and manage at scale. That said, there’s no need to wait for 2024 to take advantage of the benefits of MFA. You can visit our AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user guide to learn how to enable MFA on AWS now, and eligible customers can request a free security key through our ordering portal.

Verifying that the most privileged users in AWS are protected with MFA is just the latest step in our commitment to continuously enhance the security posture of AWS customers. To help more customers get started on their MFA journey, in fall 2021, we began offering a free MFA security key to eligible AWS account owners in the United States. And in November 2022, we launched support for customers to register up to eight MFA devices per account root user or per IAM user in AWS, creating additional flexibility and resiliency for your MFA strategy.

We recommend that everyone adopts some form of MFA, and additionally encourage customers to consider choosing forms of MFA that are phishing-resistant, such as security keys. While the requirement to enable MFA for root users of Organizations management accounts is coming in 2024, we strongly encourage our customers to get started today by enabling MFA not only for their root users, but for all user types in their environments. For example, you can enable multiple MFA options, including passkeys and authenticator apps, for AWS IAM Identity Center. You can visit our AWS IAM Identity Center MFA user guide to learn more.

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Steve Schmidt

Having joined Amazon in February 2008, Steve is the current chief security officer for Amazon. He leads the information security, physical security, security engineering, and regulatory program teams. From 2010 to 2022, Steve was the chief information security officer for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Prior to joining Amazon, Steve had an extensive career at the FBI, where he served as a senior executive. His responsibilities there included a term as acting chief technology officer, overseeing development and operation of technical collection and analysis, and as the section chief overseeing the FBI Cyber Division components responsible for computer and network intrusion technical investigation.