Why is Multi-factor Authentication so important? In today’s time the account security based on “username and password” is not sufficient anymore as it can easily be breached by cybercriminals. Not only log-in data can be compromised in a matter of minutes but also private data such as personal and financial details are under threat.
To reduce this risk many companies, rely on stronger web security based on a variety of tools and policies. Hereby, it is important to not rely on only a single method to comprehensively protect your account. The Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) adds an additional layer of security onto the account by supplementing the username and password model with a factor that only the specific user has access to.
1. What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-factor Authentication is the use of two or more independent variables used to assess the identify of a user requesting access to an application or service. The most popular form of authentication factor is the two-factor authentication (2FA), which is typically something like a password. It pairs your first authentication factor with the second one of an entirely different kind. The multiple kinds of authentication factors consist of the following:
Something You Know Password:
– Personal Identification Number (PIN)
– Security Question
Something You Have:
– Smart Card / ID Badge
Something You Are:
– Retinal Scan
– Voice Pattern
With MFA, when a compromise of one of those factors occurs, it won’t unlock the account. So, even if your password or phone has been stolen, the chances are low someone has your second-factor information. Please be aware, however, that the combination of, for example, a PIN and a password does not qualify as a two-factor authentication because both pieces of information involve a single factor (something you know).
2. How Does It Work?
Whenever Multi-Factor Authentication has been enabled for an account, an authentication check is sent to the user each time the user attempts to log in from another machine. The authorization check can be sent in various ways depending on the application and the way the user has set up the multi-factor authentication. The authorization check can be in the form of a passcode sent to the email account assigned to the user or by SMS to the user’s telephone. Another method of authorization is to send a push notification to a registered device such as a smartphone. The user must enter this code before accessing the account. Without the authorization or the current code, a password thief cannot enter an account.
3. Why Should We Use It?
There is an alarming rate of data breaches affecting millions of people. The information that is stolen often includes usernames and passwords that could allow cybercriminals to access user accounts. Furthermore, passwords alone can often be easily guessed or compromised by phishing or hacking. As more and more personal information finds its way to online applications, privacy and the threat of identity theft are becoming increasingly worrying.
Multi-factor authentication should be used whenever possible, as it immediately neutralises the risks associated with compromised passwords by adding an extra layer of security to protect highly sensitive personal data. If a password is hacked, guessed, or forged, a bad actor would still need the required second factor on the account, rendering the stolen password alone unusable.
Have we convinced you that Multi-Factor Authentication is necessary? Then contact us here for a bespoke consultation about best practices to keep minimise the risks of cyber-attacks.