Multi-Factor Authentication? Yes, But

Techsense team I 12:10 pm, 5th January

Authentication plays an extremely important role in cybersecurity. Put simply, it is the process of determining whether someone is actually who he declares himself to be. Most websites and other Internet services use usernames and passwords as a method of authentication. However, many people have weak passwords which can make it easier for hackers to gain unlawful access to important data. 

As databases grew in size, the need for cybersecurity, and thereby authentication, also increased. This led to the development of multi-factor authentication as a measure of security.

What is multi-factor authentication?

Multi-factor validation lays down more than one step in the process of validation. In the case of single-factor verification, you need to type in your username and password to sign in. Whereas, in multi-factor authentication, you have to provide two or more verification factors before you can log in. For instance, you may be asked to type in your username, password, and a one-time password that you receive on your mobile. In some cases, users may also need to submit a PIN or biometrics before they can access the data.

What are the risks involved with multi-factor authentication?

Compared to single-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication greatly reduces risk to enterprise security. However, multi-factor authentication is not perfect. There are vulnerabilities in multi-factor authentication that could put your organization’s security at risk.

Multi-factor authentication is still vulnerable to:

. Phishing

. Replay Attacks

. Man-in-the-middle attacks

. SIM swapping

. Social engineering

. Authentication code interception through SMS or email

. Credential stuffing

Many people like to believe that multi-factor authentication is hack-proof, but that is not always true. From a user standpoint, multi-factor authentication can sometimes turn into a hassle. What happens if you lose a factor? Say, you lose your smartphone and have no way to access your one-time password. Essentially, you will be in a similar situation as someone trying to hack into your system. If you can reset your account without the missing factor, chances are the hacker can do it too.

Implementing multi-factor authentication can also be a costly affair. If an organization decides to use a solution that requires on-premises hardware to integrate into an identity solution, it would mean extra investment. For instance, an organization that wants to use biometric scanners, smart cards, or hardware tokens, will have to factor in the same in their budget.

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