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Set up Nexus OTP as 2FA for Palo Alto

This article describes how to enable Nexus OTP in Smart ID Digital Access component as two-factor authentication method for Palo Alto Firewall, to replace static passwords.

Nexus OTP can be either Nexus TruID Synchronized or Smart ID Mobile App OTP, or any other OATH-based mobile OTP application, such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator. 

With the setup described in this article, Digital Access functions as a RADIUS server and Palo Alto Firewall as a RADIUS client. Nexus TruID is used as an example below and is available for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Network schematic for Nexus OTP authentication

Network schematic with Nexus TruID Synchronized as an example.

  1. The end user starts the TruID client and enters the PIN in TruID to generate an OTP.
  2. Palo Alto Firewall request the end user to enter username, password and OTP.
  3. The end user enters username, domain password and OTP.
  4. The domain credentials are validated by the Active Directory.
  5. The OTP authentication request is relayed to Digital Access Authentication Server via RADIUS.
  6. The authentication server validates the OTP with the associated TruID token and PIN from the user database.
  7. Upon successful validation, the authentication server responds with successful authentication to Palo Alto Firewall.

Palo Alto Firewall provides access to the end user.


Make settings in Digital Access

Log in to Digital Access Admin
  1. Log in to Digital Access Admin with an administrator account.
Add Palo Alto Firewall as a RADIUS client
In step 3, enter the IP Address of the RADIUS Client (Palo Alto Firewall) and the Shared Secret Key.
  1. In Digital Access Admin, go to Manage System.
  2. Click RADIUS Configuration > Add RADIUS Client...
  3. Enter General Settings and Attributes. Click the ?-sign for help.
  4. Click Save.
Enable authentication method

Nexus TruID Synchronized is used as an example. Other Nexus OTP authentication methods are enabled in a similar way.

  • In step 3, select Nexus Synchronized as method.
  • When the default RADIUS replies are shown, click Next. You can also add your custom RADIUS replies or modify the default replies if required.

To add a new authentication method:

  1. In Digital Access Admin, go to Manage System.
  2. Click Authentication Methods.
  3. Click Add authentication method..., select the desired method and click Next.

  4. Enter Display Name, a unique name used in the system to identify the authentication method.
  5. Select if the method shall be enabled and if it shall be visible in authentication menu.
  6. Register Authentication Methods Server when applicable.
  7. Make other configurations as needed for the selected authentication method. For more information , click the ?-sign. Click Next.
  8. If needed, make settings in RADIUS Replies and Extended Properties.
  9. Click Next and Finish.
  10. Click Publish.

Make settings in Palo Alto Firewall

Add Digital Access as RADIUS Server
  1. Log in to the Palo Alto Firewall GlobalProtect Portal.

  2. Navigate to Portal Configuration.

  3. Select Authentication Profile and click OK.

  4. In the General tab, select Authentication Profile and click OK.

  5. In the Authentication Profile pop up you create an authentication profile and enter the details.

  6. In the RADIUS Server Profile pop up you define the Server IP, Secret and Port number.

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