Activating USB TOTP token with Office 365 - Self-service

With NFC tokens, the provisioning is done by the IT person equipped with software and hardware that allows burning seeds onto programmable hardware tokens (i.e. an Android device with NFC, iPhone 8 or newer for “-i” models etc.). . However, we have many customers asking if this process can be done by end-users in a fully autonomous manner. The answer is that, in theory, yes - your end-users can burn the NFC tokens themselves as no special admin access is needed. The provisioning needs to be done on behalf of the end-users.

However, in most cases the main requirement for this, namely, having an NFC-device to run the NFC burner on, is not met as the main scenario of using hardware tokens is when users have no smartphones at all (otherwise they would have used a mobile authenticator for MFA).

In this context, a solution we can recommend is using one of our USB-programmable tokens that do not require any additional hardware to be provisioned.  The guide below shows the process of provisioning a USB-programmable hardware token with Office 365 MFA on behalf of the regular user with no admin privileges. As an example, we will use our single-profile USB-programmable TOTP hardware token, EVVIS-QR1

The only 2 things needed to provision a USB hardware token are as follows:

- the token itself plugged to a computer running Windows using the USB cable

- the USB Config tool, for this example, EVVIS-QR1 USB Config tool

Before starting the process, launch the USB Config tool, connect the EVVIS-QR1 device via USB and make sure it appears on the device list of the tool
Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

Step 1. Activate MFA option on your Office 365 account

Navigate to your account's security settings page. The direct URL is :

https://mysignins.microsoft.com/security-info

From the Security info page, select "Add Method", and "Authenticator App" from the list. 

Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

Click "Add" to proceed to the next step. By default, it prompts to use Microsoft Authenticator, which uses a different OTP protocol, which cannot be transferred over to our hardware tokens. Please click on "I want to use a different authenticator app" to generate a TOTP QR code instead.
Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

On the next window, click "Next" to get the QR code displayed on the screen.
Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

Keep this window open and proceed to Step 2. 

Step 2. Provision the hardware token using USB Config tool

Launch the USB Config tool, connect the EVVIS-QR1 device via USB and make sure it appears on the device list of the tool. Click on "Connect" button and make sure the serial number of the token appears on the screen.

Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

Remember we asked you to keep the browser window with your MFA QR code open? The next step is to read QR from the screen (the app will minimize, take a screenshot and restore again). To read the QR code, click on the "QR from screen" button

Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

This will populate the "Secret key (seed)" field with the correct value. Now, finalize the token provisioning by clicking on "Burn" button

Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service

Step 3. Verify the token and complete the enrollment

After the burn process is completed, go back to your browser window with the Office 365 MFA configuration page and  click Next and proceed with OTP verification. To verify the OTP, click on Next button, and on the next window, enter the OTP code displayed on your token device.

Activating USB TOTP  token with Office 365 - Self-service


As a summary, the table below shows the advantages and disadvantages of using USB programmable tokens in comparison with NFC programmable tokens.

EVVIS-QR1 C301-i
Requirements for provisioning only a USB cable (supplied) an NFC-enabled device running NFC burner app
Platform for provisioning tool Windows Windows, iPhone, Android
OTP entry method Manual, HID (keyboard emulation)
QR code
Manual
Dimensions and weight 74×53×12.9 mm , 40 gr 49×26×8 mm , 17 gr

 Full comparison is available here
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