Amazon Web Services has added the option to use applications to create codes for its Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) service.
MFA adds an extra level of security for an AWS account by prompting users for an authentication code in addition to their username and password before they can sign in, according to Amazon.
Today, administrators can use hardware tokens to create the extra authentication code. The new option allows them to use a smartphone, tablet, or computer running any application that supports the open OATH TOTP (Open Authentication Time-Based One-Time Password) standard to generate the codes, it said.
Using the software option is cheaper (hardware tokens cost $13 each on Amazon's website), more convenient and offers more flexibility, according to Amazon. But the hardware is more secure, it said.
To get started, users can download the AWS Virtual MFA application from the Amazon Appstore for Android or from Google's Android Market. After installing the app, they can log into the Management Console and set it up, Amazon said in a blog post.
Amazon also provides a short list of alternative applications, which includes Google's Authenticator app for users who have an iPhone or a BlackBerry.