Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Computer and Media Service

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Additional security for the HU account

2FA means using a second, independent factor for authentication in addition to the usual password login as a further safeguard. Factors can be secret knowledge (e.g., password), possession (e.g., TAN generator), or biometric attributes (e.g., fingerprint). Using two different, independent factors significantly increases the security of a person's authentication and is therefore used in particularly sensitive areas.

At the HU, the second factor is implemented using TANs, which employees can generate via an app on a mobile device. You can also use hardware tokens provided by HU to generate the TAN.

For software tokens, you can use any 2FA app of your choice, which you install on the smartphone or tablet free of charge. This 2FA app can be used without an Internet connection or mobile network.

Software tokens are more ecologically and economically sustainable than hardware tokens. Hardware tokens are subject to a physical life cycle, i.e., they must be ordered, delivered, distributed, and received and disposed of again. Hardware tokens contain batteries, which also have their own life cycle. In short, there is a significant additional cost with hardware tokens that is not incurred with software tokens.

Therefore, HU recommends the use of software tokens from both an environmental sustainability and an economic perspective.

The data protection officer and the IT security officer have jointly developed a handout that can help you with token selection for two-factor authentication (in German).


Setup up second factor


→ Click here to set up a second factor for your account in the 2FA portal ←



PDF instructions (PDF, 400 KB) for 2FA setup using software tokens

Video instructions for 2FA setup using software tokens

PDF instructions (PDF, 3.6 MB) for 2FA setup using hardware tokens

Video instructions for 2FA setup using hardware tokens


Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find questions and answers about 2FA.


Contact Us

The CMS is happy to answer any questions you may have about two-factor authentication. For questions related to ESS content independent of 2FA, you can visit the HR pages for information on ESS