FortiGate Two Factor Authentication with Email

Hello everyone, in this video, I will introduce how you can set up 2-step verification for SSL VPN users by sending a token through email. By default, there is no way to enable this option via the graphical user interface. We must enable this feature from the CLI.

1. User Login Request:

  • When a user attempts to log in to a FortiGate-protected resource, such as a VPN, web portal, or firewall management interface, they provide their username and password as the first authentication factor.

2. Verification of Username and Password:

  • FortiGate first verifies the provided username and password against its user database or an external authentication source, such as LDAP, RADIUS, or Active Directory. If the credentials are valid, the user passes the first authentication factor.

3. Request for Second Authentication Factor:

  • Once the user successfully completes the first factor (username and password), FortiGate prompts the user for the second authentication factor. In this case, it’s an email-based authentication.

4. Email-Based Authentication:

  • FortiGate sends an email containing a one-time passcode (OTP) or a link to the user’s registered email address. This email typically includes instructions on what the user should do next.

5. Retrieving and Entering the OTP:

  • The user checks their email and retrieves the OTP or clicks on the provided link. The OTP is typically time-limited and can only be used once for security purposes.

6. Entering the OTP or Confirming Access:

  • The user enters the OTP from the email into the FortiGate login prompt or clicks on the link, which confirms their identity as the second authentication factor.

7. Verification of Second Factor:

  • FortiGate verifies the entered OTP or link against its records to ensure it matches the one it sent to the user’s email. If the OTP or link is valid and within the time window, the user passes the second authentication factor.

8. Access Granted:

  • Once both factors are successfully authenticated (username/password and email-based OTP/link), FortiGate grants the user access to the requested resource or system.

9. Continuous Monitoring:

  • FortiGate may also implement continuous monitoring and session management to ensure that user sessions remain secure throughout their usage.

It’s worth noting that while email-based 2FA is a common method, FortiGate also supports various other second-factor authentication methods, including SMS-based codes, hardware tokens, software tokens, and push notifications through mobile apps. The choice of the second-factor method can depend on the organization’s security policies and user preferences.

Implementing 2FA with email in FortiGate enhances security by adding an extra layer of authentication, making it more challenging for unauthorized users to gain access to critical resources and helping protect against unauthorized access and data breaches.