1. Home
  2. Guidance
  3. General Guidance
  4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Overview

MFA helps protect users by making it more difficult for someone else to sign in to their NHSmail account. It uses two different forms of identity: the user’s password, and a contact method.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of security to your NHSmail account when signing in to NHSmail via a web browser. As a Local Administrator (LA) you will have MFA automatically enabled on your NHSmail account. You will continue to sign in to NHSmail with your username and password.

In addition to this, you will be required to authenticate your sign-on via a secondary method (for example, a text message code). This guide provides guidance on registering for and signing in with MFA. MFA helps protect users by making it more difficult for someone else to sign in to their NHSmail account. It uses two different forms of identity: the user’s password, and a contact method.

Even if someone else finds the user’s password, they will be prevented from gaining access to the NHSmail account if they do not also have access to the user’s preferred contact method.

Once MFA has been enabled on your account, two-step verification will help keep your NHSmail account secure: a security code will be sent to your mobile phone or generated via the Microsoft authenticator app every time you sign in.

Use of Office Phones for Authentication

Verification of your sign-in can be completed via the Microsoft authenticator app on your mobile device, a security code sent to your mobile device or a telephone call. The use of the office phone option is not recommended or supported by NHSmail. This option is available to users as Multi-factor Authentication is an off-the-shelf feature that cannot be customised. The limitations observed of using this option are outlined on page 4 of this guide. The recommended option for verification is to use the Microsoft authenticator app. Mobile phone numbers are stored for the sole purpose of supporting verification and will not be used for other purposes.

Setting up Multi-Factor Authentication

 

MFA signing in1. Once Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is enabled on your account, you will be taken through the set up process the next time you sign in.

 

 

 

Signing in for mfa2. Select ‘Click me for Phone Factor Authentication’ to proceed.

 

 

 

Signing in for mfa3. Once redirected to this page, select ‘Next’ to start. The page below allows you to choose a preferred authentication method.

 

 

Signing in for MFA4. The page below allows you to choose a preferred authentication method.

 

 

 

Additional information: choosing the authentication method

There are three options that you can choose from to authenticate your account; mobile app, authentication phone, office phone, or. It is recommended that you choose the mobile app option. The options are described below: • The ‘Mobile app’ option requires you to download the Microsoft Authenticator app to your smartphone which will prompt you to verify your sign-in attempt. Going forward it will generate a verification code each time you sign in.

  • The ‘Authentication phone’ option allows you to receive a text message containing a verification code to enter in to the sign-on screen or receive a phone call to verify your sign-in attempt. Please note, the time taken to receive the text message containing your secure code may vary based on your mobile network provider.

Use of Office Phones for Authentication

Verification of your sign-in can be completed via the Microsoft authenticator app on your mobile device, a security code sent to your mobile device or a telephone call. The use of the office phone option is not recommended or supported by NHSmail. This option is available to users as Multi-factor Authentication is an off-the-shelf feature that cannot be customised. Where users choose to use an office phone to verify their sign-in attempt, the following limitations have been observed:

  • Office phones must support Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF).
  • Users will require access to the specific office telephone number to verify their sign-in.
  •  MFA does not support routing of calls via switchboards or other telephony routing services. A direct dial telephone number is required.
  • Office phone verification cannot be used by NHSmail Office 365 Hybrid users. The recommended option for verification is to use the Microsoft authenticator app. Mobile phone numbers are stored for the sole purpose of supporting verification and will not be used for other purposes.

Mobile App Method Enrolment

Signing into for MFA1. Select ‘Mobile app’ from the menu illustrated below. You will be prompted to choose whether to receive app notifications or a verification code. Click ‘Set up’ once you have made your choice.

 

 

QR code MFA2. The Configure mobile app screen below will provide instructions on how to configure the mobile app. Follow the instructions shown, starting by downloading the Microsoft Authenticator app for the mobile device you have – the app can be downloaded onto Windows Phone, Android or iOS devices.

 

3. Following downloading the app, open it on your mobile device.

 

 

 

4. Tap the ‘+’ icon to add an account and select ‘work or school account’.

 

 

 

MFA signin
5. The Configure mobile app screen will display a QR code. You will be prompted by 5 the Authenticator App to scan the QR code with your mobile device.

 

MFA signin

6. Once the app recognises the QR code it will generate a six-digit code (as shown below). This code expires in 30 seconds but a new one will be generated if it is not used in time.

 

 

MFA signin
7. On the Configure mobile app screen on your workstation, choose ‘Next’ to finish 7 configuring the app.

 

 

MFA signin

8. After successful registration of your mobile app, you will receive acknowledgement that ‘mobile app has been configured for notifications and verification codes’. Select ‘Next’ as illustrated below.

 

 

MFA signin

9. You will be directed to confirmation from the mobile app.

 

 

 

MFA signin

10. On your mobile app, you will be prompted to ‘Approve’ sign-in as illustrated below.

 

 

 

MFA signin

11.You will be notified verification is successful.

 

 

 

Mobile App Method

MFA signin1. Sign-in to your NHSmail account via the NHSmail Portal. You will then be prompted to set up Multi-Factor Authentication.

 

 

MFA signinYou will be prompted for MFA. Select ‘Approve’ from your mobile app.

 

 

Mobile App Method Verification

1. Enter phone details and choose whether to receive a text message with a verification code, or a phone call. This phone number is your preferred contact method, and is not linked to the number listed in your NHSmail Portal profile, i.e. it can be the same number, or you can opt for a different one.

Note:

  •  It is not expected that you will be charged to use this service as no outgoing calls or messages will be sent during 2-step verification.
  •  However, standard call and SMS charges may apply if you try to access your account from outside the UK (incurring roaming charges)
  •  These charges may also apply if your telecommunications provider has set charges for incoming calls or messages

MFA signin2. Click on ‘Next’ to proceed with authentication. If you have chosen to receive a text, you will be redirected to a verification page – follow the prompt and enter the code. If ‘Call me’ is chosen instead, answer the call and follow the instructions to be verified.

 

MFA signin
3. You will be directed to further information on use of ‘app passwords’. Please refer to the App Passwords section of this guide for further guidance.

 

 

App Passwords

MFA signin

1.Following setup, you will be directed to a screen with further information on your app password. Click ‘Finished’ once you have reviewed the information and password.

 

 

Additional information: app passwords

App passwords can be used with legacy non-browser apps that do not support multi-factor authentication. This includes the Office 2010 app suite (or earlier) and Apple Mail. It is not expected that you will need to use the app password for NHSmail sign-in on the majority of devices. Further information is available from the Microsoft website on app passwords.

Changing authentication method after registration

This section of the guide provides information on how to change your authentication method, for example, if your mobile number or your preferences change.


1. Sign in to https://mysignins.microsoft.com/security-info to be able to change the authentication method.

 

 

Changing phone number or adding a secondary number

To change the primary phone number:

1. On the ‘Security info’ page, click on change and edit it with the new phone number.

 

 

2. Select Next after entering the new phone number. If this is the number used for the preferred verification method, the new number will need to be verified before it can be saved (this will be via text message verification code or phone call). Enter the code you receive (via text message verification code or phone call) on the new phone number. The new phone number will be verified.

 

This number is independent of the mobile number listed in your NHSmail Portal profile.

To add a secondary phone number:

1. On the ‘Security Info’ page, select ‘Add sign-in method’. Click the drop down and select ‘Alternate Phone’ and click Add. Enter a secondary phone number in the text box. Select Next and changes are complete.

 

Adding or switching to mobile app authentication

MFA sign in

On the ‘Additional security verification’ page, check the box next to ‘Authenticator app’. Select Configure and follow the steps in the mobile app section of this guidance document.

 

Signing In

MFA sign in
Following setup, visit https://portal.nhs.net and select ‘Login’. Sign in with your  NHSmail account on the screen below.

 

 

MFA signin

2. After entering your login details, the authentication process will default to the verification method you selected. You can also choose a different authentication method if needed.

 

 

3. Open the Authenticator app to access the verification code, or have it sent to you via text message or phone call. Once you have entered the code or approved the signin attempt you will be logged in.

Updated on 04/05/2022

Related Articles

Need Support?
Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Don’t worry we’re here to help!
Contact Support
back to top