Today’s environment requires that we take every precaution to ensure internet security. Our lives are increasingly dependent on smartphones and other internet-connected devices. Due to the amount of activity occurring on these devices, they serve as entrance points for hackers. Identity theft is a lucrative crime that poses a significant danger to companies worldwide. Every day, we see at least one data breach.
If you are an internet user who still uses username and password authentication, this post is for you. Today’s technology offers you the ideal key for securing your online accounts. The article discusses the most effective method for safeguarding your accounts that you can access over the internet—Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Real-time situations requiring MFA
- Transactions are enabled through swipe cards that require a PIN.
- Websites that require an extra one-time password (OTP) are sent to the user through SMS or email through the website’s authentication server.
- VPN service that requires a valid digital certificate prior to providing network access.
- Cards that require fingerprint scanning and an accurate response to a security question.
- A USB hardware token connected to a desktop computer is used to produce an OTP.
- An OTP is required to access the VPN client.
- Employees with remote desktop access or privileged access.
MFA in more depth
Multi-Factor Authentication is a security system that requires a customer’s identity to be verified using two or more means of authentication. MFA provides an extra degree of protection for the user, preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing targets and jeopardizing their privacy and security.
Authentication factors that are frequently used
Multiple in MFA refers to the presence of more than one obstacle to the goal. If an attacker compromises only one authentication element, there are many obstacles to breaching the target data. An authentication factor is a collection of credentials used to verify an individual’s identification.
Each successive component improves the confidence that the element being verified is something the user knows, or the knowledge factor, has, or is, or the inherence factor. A password is a knowledge factor, while one-time passwords or tokens are possession factors. Additionally, user authentication is verified using the user’s biometrics. Inherence considerations include fingerprints, retina or iris scans, face and voice recognition, and other features.
The other two often used authentication elements are location and time. Typically, the fourth factor of authentication is recommended to be the user’s location. This can be accomplished using GPS-enabled cellphones. If a user carries a smartphone equipped with a GPS device, the user’s location may be verified. Time is sometimes seen as a fourth or fifth authentication element. These are mainly used to create counterfeit employee identification cards and to conduct financial activities.
Different multi-factor authentication methods
MFA is implemented via a variety of tests. This decision is made based on the degree of security needed for the application, the users’ preferred method for accessing the asset, and the cost of implementing MFA.
Security tokens are classified into two types: software tokens and hardware tokens.
Hardware tokens: A hardware token is a token supplied through a convenient hardware device that the owner should use to allow access to a network service. These devices may take the form of smart cards or be integrated into a key fob or USB drive.
Software tokens: Tokens generated by software generate a one-time-use PIN for logging in. These are often used in conjunction with multifactor authentication, with the smartphone acting as the possession factor. This is an ideal substitute for hardware tokens since users do not need to carry the portable device to get access.
This is a very simple authentication technique to implement. It primarily consists of a text message with a PIN, which is used in conjunction with the standard login and password verification. If users access services regularly through mobile devices, mobile device-based authentication enables them to do so efficiently.
Email tokens are comparable to SMS tokens. The main difference is that the token will be given through email instead of a physical medium. Email access does not have to be accessible at all times when using an asset or application. As a result, this is suggested as a fallback alternative. The email token allows users to easily access OTP on any platform that supports email receipt.
Automated phone calls
Automated phone calls are one method of delivering a one-time password to consumers.
Individuals who own smart gadgets equipped with biometric authentication may utilize them to authenticate their identity. Biometric authentication is a more user-friendly form of authentication. This obviates the need for additional checks when manually changing the token or password.
Apart from this, a few digital verification techniques are available, including the following:
- Social login
- Security questions
- Risk-based authentication
Because many users are already logged into their social media sites, they find social identity verification very easy. These sites, however, are a target for hackers. As a result, utilizing social login as the main form of verification is not recommended.
This is a form of authentication that is based on knowledge. Security questions may be defined by the company or the user. The user should provide responses that will be validated afterward. Dynamic and static knowledge-based authentication is also possible. Dynamic authentication generates questions in real-time depending on the user’s or transaction’s history.
MFA may also be utilized with risk-based authentication. This monitors the user’s location, device, and even keystrokes to determine the security state. Risk-based authentication allows consumers to easily verify their identity if they sign in repeatedly from the same computer and location.
Benefits of MFA
- Enhanced security
- Compliance augmentation
- Simplified access
- Mitigation of legal risks
- Customers should have high expectations of security
- Increased conversions as a result of smooth logins
- Increased client satisfaction
Today, the most probable cause of security breaches is a user’s credential vulnerability. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), over 80% of hacking-related breaches occurred as a result of the use of lost or stolen credentials. This demonstrates that individuals continue to struggle with password security. The contemporary dangerous environment is continuously changing as new techniques become available. At the moment, MFA is the most dependable method of eradicating credential vulnerability.