Many federal agencies have been using FIDO authenticators to enable secure access to systems for a variety of use cases. However, they have been deployed in varied configurations and there was a lack of guidance on how to implement the credentials. With the release of a new whitepaper, FIDO Alliance Guidance for U.S. Government Agency Deployment of FIDO Authentication, federal agencies who are looking to issue FIDO-based, phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions, such as the YubiKey to augment existing Smart Card credentials, have some help.
In collaboration with government and industry leaders, Yubico partnered with the FIDO working group to provide guidance to help agencies wanting to deploy FIDO authenticators as a phishing-resistant technology. The whitepaper highlights areas where FIDO offers the best value to address U.S. government use cases as an enhancement of existing infrastructure, while minimizing rework, as agencies advance their Zero Trust strategies with phishing-resistant authentication tied to enterprise identity. Additional important highlights include:
- Review of the policy and guidance that enables the use of FIDO technology
- A look at what agency actions need to take place before deploying FIDO, including adopting single sign-on (SSO), implementing a Digital Identity Risk Assessment Process, and implementing an integrated identity lifecycle management program.
- Review of the FIDO-specific architectural consideration and recommended agency actions
- Details of the user journey for someone using a FIDO credential
- Discussion of lessons learned from previous FIDO implementations
The U.S. government has been emphasizing the importance of using only phishing-resistant MFA for almost two years, dating to the January 2022 publication by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of Memorandum 22-09. While this OMB policy enables the use of authenticators that use the phishing-resistant FIDO2/WebAuthn standards, many agencies have been lacking guidance on how to actually deploy and manage them in a PKI-centric ecosystem. That’s where this new guidance will help.
The document will help agencies seeking to deploy YubiKeys to employees and contractors as an additional authenticator alongside Personal Identity Verification (PIV) and Common Access Card (CAC), as well as those looking to issue YubiKeys to personnel who are not PIV or CAC eligible. This is the first in a series of documents the FIDO Alliance plans to release to support federal agency deployments.