Enabling users for PIV/CAC or X.509 Certificate authentication

To enable a user for PIV/CAC or X.509 Certificate authentication you need to have the user's PIV/CAC card public certificate in a location that is accessible from your browser.

About this task

To enable users for PIV/CAC or X.509 Certificate authentication, complete the following steps:


  1. In the IBM® MFA GUI, click the User Provisioning tab.
  2. Click the plus sign (+) control.
  3. Enter the ID for the user. The ID is the user name associated with the effective client user ID. IBM MFA automatically saves the user ID in lowercase.
  4. Enter the Name for the user. This is a name of your choice.
  5. Enter an MFA password of your choice, if applicable. The MFA password is a special password that allows the user to log in to the IBM MFA server for IBM MFA-specific actions. This password is unique to the IBM MFA server.
    Note: In this release of IBM MFA, the IBM MFA password is needed only for enrolling tokens for TOTP and Yubico OTP, and for password authentication with the PAM authentication method. If the user is not using these authentication methods, you can leave this password blank.
  6. Click Save.
  7. The Policies table shows all of the policies assigned to the user. Click + in the Policies section.
    The All Policies table shows all of the available policies.
  8. Select one or more policies.
    Important: For PAM client authentication, if you do not assign one or more authentication methods, the user is treated as if password fallback is enabled, irrespective of the password fallback setting for that user account. For information about password fallback, see Setting password fallback.
  9. Click Confirm.
    The Authentication Methods table shows the configured authentication methods for the policy.
  10. Select the certificate authentication method.
  11. Click the Edit icon.
  12. You are prompted for the user-specific authentication method settings. Upload the user's PIV/CAC card public certificate. You can browse to the file in .cer or .pem format.
    Note: You can optionally have users register their own certificates. In this case, you must approve the certificate before the user can use it to log in, as described in Approving user certificates. This process requires the user to log in to the IBM MFA server system with a user name and password, which may not be appropriate for all users.
  13. Click Confirm.
  14. Set Active to On for the authentication method.
  15. Click Confirm.
  16. The CTC Failure Count is the number of times a user consecutively fails to provide a valid credential, based on the Max CTC Check Failures Before Suspension setting in Configuring server options. If the user exceeds this limit, the Suspended control it set. You must disable the Suspended control before the user can log in.
  17. Inform users to use the IBM MFA Out-of-Band web server login page that you configured, such as
    where port is the server authentication port you configured and policy-name is the policy the user must use. You may want to have the user bookmark this URL.
  18. When the user visits the IBM MFA Out-of-Band web login page,
    user-specific information about the methods required for the user to log in is displayed.