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Hardware token for two factor authentication in ProtonMail

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2 Factor Authentication (2FA) adds an additional layer of security to your ProtonMail account by adding an additional verification to the login process to protect your account. Currently, ProtonMail supports the TOTP protocol, so accounts with 2FA enabled will be prompted to enter a 6-digit code upon logging in. This 6-digit code can be generated by an app that is installed on your mobile phone or alternatively a programmable hardware token from Token2. The guide below describes the enrollment process.


 

Starting from 2022, Proton Accounts can be protected with Token2 FIDO security keys as well, however, for an unknown and unexplainable reason, having TOTP enabled is a prerequisite for enabling FIDO Security keys for your Proton account. More information is available here.


Requirements: 

  • A ProtonMail account (free or paid)
  • A Token2 programmable token (the guide below shows miniOTP-1 as an example)
  • An Android device with NFC - this is needed for the enrollment only, subsequent logins will only require the hardware token


1. Visit the Account and Password section  within the Settings of your account. This can only be done through the web version of Proton found at https://account.proton.me/u/0/mail/account-password

2. Select Authenticator app under Two-Factor Authentication

Hardware token for two factor authentication in ProtonMail

3. After a password verification, a QR code to be scanned with a burner or config app will be shown, similar to the example below.
Hardware token for two factor authentication in ProtonMail


 Open the Token2 Burner app  on your mobile device and click the button to scan a QR code, or manually enter the authentication key (base32 format is to be used). To scan the code, point your device's camera at the QR code seen in the setting of your ProtonMail account. (Note: the image above is a demo, do not scan it. Scan the image shown in your account.)


  • Launch the NFC burner app on your Android device and hit the "QR" button



  • Point the camera to the QR code shown on the account page. Upon a successful QR scan, the camera window should disappear
  • Turn on the token and touch it with your phone (make sure it is overlapped by the NFC antenna) and click "Connect" on the app
  • Upon successful connection, click the "Burn seed" button. If NFC link is established and the code is correctly scanned, you should see a status window showing "Burning..." and eventually (in a second or two), "burn seed successful.." message in the log window




Follow the steps below to perform setting the seed for your token using Windows App.

1. Launch the exe file, then select the NFC device from the drop-down list and click on "Connect". You should see a message box notifying about a successful operation.

Token2 NFC Burner app for Windows


2. Enter the seed generated (in base32 format) :

3. Place the token onto the NFC module and wait for its serial number to appear

Token2 NFC Burner app for Windows

4. Click on "Burn seed" button. A log entry with the serial number and "Successful operation" text will be logged in the log window.

Token2 NFC Burner app for Windows


  • Launch the NFC burner app on your iPhone device and hit the "scan QR" button



  • Point the camera to the QR code shown on the account page. Upon a successful QR scan, the camera window should disappear and the seed field will be populated with the hex value of the seed
  • Touch the Burn button, then turn on the token and touch the top of your iPhone with the token
  • Check the results of the process in the Results log field




Please note that the procedures above are shown only as examples and are valid to single profile TOTP tokens only. The procedure for multi-profile and USB-programmable devices are similar but slightly different

4. You will see the following modal that requires you to enter the Login password of your account, along with the two-factor passcode which you will see displayed on your hardware token.

Hardware token for two factor authentication in ProtonMail

5. ProtonMail will also provide you with several one-time use recovery codes. Please save these codes in a secure place and do NOT lose them. If you ever misplace or lose your authentication device (mobile phone, etc) these codes will be the only way to log into your account. If you ever lose your hardware token, you can enter these codes instead of the 6-digit authenticator code. Note, each code can only be used once, and they must be used in the listed order, so please save all the codes.

Hardware token for two factor authentication in ProtonMail

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