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Computer Security Resource Center

Computer Security
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Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Abbreviation(s) and Synonym(s):

MFA

Definition(s):

  Authentication using two or more different factors to achieve authentication. Factors include: (i) something you know (e.g., password/PIN); (ii) something you have (e.g., cryptographic identification device, token); or (iii) something you are (e.g., biometric). See Authenticator.
Source(s):
NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 4 under Multifactor Authentication

  Authentication using two or more different factors to achieve authentication. Factors include something you know (e.g., PIN, password); something you have (e.g., cryptographic identification device, token); or something you are (e.g., biometric). See also Authenticator.
Source(s):
NIST SP 800-171 Rev. 1 under multifactor authentication

  Authentication using two or more factors to achieve authentication. Factors include: (i) something you know (e.g. password/personal identification number (PIN)); (ii) something you have (e.g., cryptographic identification device, token); or (iii) something you are (e.g., biometric). See authenticator.
Source(s):
CNSSI 4009-2015 under multifactor authentication (NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 4)

  Authentication using two or more different factors to achieve authentication.¬†Factors include: (i) something you know (e.g., password/PIN); (ii) something you have (e.g., cryptographic identification device, token); or (iii) something you are (e.g., biometric). See Authenticator.
Source(s):
NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 4 under Multifactor Authentication

  An authentication system that requires more than one distinct authentication factor for successful authentication. Multi-factor authentication can be performed using a multi-factor authenticator or by a combination of authenticators that provide different factors. The three authentication factors are something you know, something you have, and something you are.
Source(s):
NIST SP 800-63-3

  An authenticator that provides more than one distinct authentication factor, such as a cryptographic authentication device with an integrated biometric sensor that is required to activate the device.
Source(s):
NIST SP 800-63-3 under Multi-Factor Authenticator

  An authentication system that requires more than one distinct authentication factor for successful authentication. Multi-factor authentication can be performed using a multi-factor authenticator or by a combination of authenticators that provide different factors. The three authentication factors are something you know, something you have, and something you are.
Source(s):
NISTIR 8149 under Multi-Factor Authentication (NIST SP 800-63-3)