Amazon protects its virtual desktops with two-factor authentication

The company's WorkSpaces service can be used with hardware tokens from Gemalto

Users can now use a keyfob from Gemalto to gain access to Amazon's virtual desktops.

Users can now use a keyfob from Gemalto to gain access to Amazon's virtual desktops.

Amazon Web Services now lets enterprises use two-factor authentication to better protect hosted WorkSpaces virtual desktops.

The steady stream of incidents in which hackers have been able to access traditional passwords highlight the need for something more secure over and over again. Adding so-called two-factor authentication increases security by validating users with something they know (a regular password) and something they have (a hardware or software generated one-time password).

Protecting WorkSpaces desktops with two-factor authentication helps prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to enterprise resources, while defending against password attacks such as phishing and keystroke logging. The feature itself is available now at no extra charge, Amazon said in a blog post.

For the authentication to work, organizations need a Radius server. Amazon has verified its implementation against the Symantec VIP (Validation and ID Protection) and Microsoft Radius Server products.

Gemalto offers two products that can be used to generate the one-time passwords; the Ezio keyfob costs US$12.99 and the Ezio display card costs $19.99. The six digit passwords they generate are valid for one attempt and for 30 seconds.

For companies that don't want to roll out new hardware, there are applications for Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS and Windows. The applications are free, but aren't considered as secure.

To help IT departments get started, Amazon has updated its administration guide with instructions on how to activate the improved authentication.

Amazon WorkSpaces was made generally available at the end of March. The service offers managed virtual desktops users can access from PCs, Macs, Apple's iPads and tablets based on Android, including Amazon's own Kindle Fire products.

The desktops cost from $35 per user and month and are available from Amazon's data centers in North Virginia, Oregon, Sydney and Ireland.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Amazon Web Servicesvirtualizationsecuritydesktop virtualizationAccess control and authentication

More about Amazon Web ServicesBlackBerryGemaltoMacsRadiusSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Mikael Ricknäs

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place