How frequently do you use multi-factor authentication (which you may sometimes see referred to as two-factor authentication, 2FA, TFA, or MFA)? On a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? How many MFA codes have you entered in the past year? It’s probably more than you think, and it will grow in years to come.
In today’s digital age, numerous platforms and applications have become critical parts of our daily lives. These platforms require users to create accounts to access their services. To ensure the security of these accounts, many require more than just a simple password to log in.
For instance, two-factor authentication (or multi-factor authentication) is a widely adopted security measure that requires users to provide additional information, such as a verification code sent to their phone, to log in. This extra layer of security helps protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts.
Types of MFA
Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts, making them much more difficult for attackers to compromise. Even if an attacker knows your password, they cannot log in to your account without access to your MFA.
Thankfully, most MFA requirements use biometric identification, such as fingerprint or face ID. Some also use voice recognition and retina scans.
These ID verifications can also protect physical assets, such as requiring a handprint scan before allowing trusted personnel into a restricted building area. Depending on your role in your organization, your security clearance level may grant you privileged access to extremely sensitive information, which naturally requires more protection.
The strongest MFA factors combine two or more different methods. For example, use a biometric ID, one-time password, PIN, or security question. One-time passwords may be communicated via text, email, or even phone calls. You might also use a mobile app to generate a QR code or one-time password.
Where Multi-Factor Authentication Falls Short
Unfortunately, the fact remains that no technology is infallible. As long as cyber criminals exist, they will continue inventing new methods and technologies to overcome our best defenses! That includes multi-factor authentication.
Some ways that cyber criminals can bypass MFA include:
MFA Fatigue: Attackers can use a tactic where they send multiple requests for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to the victim until they unintentionally approve one. This type of attack can be highly successful, particularly if the victim feels tired or distracted. It is crucial to be vigilant, as one mistake can result in losing all your data.
Man-in-the-middle attacks: Hackers can intercept communication between you and a service they want to access. For instance, they may spy on your texts or emails to steal the one-time password they require.
Session hijacking: Attackers may steal your online session cookie, allowing them to access your account without requiring a password or MFA code.
SIM swapping: It can transfer phone numbers to another SIM card, enabling an attacker to receive the victim’s MFA codes via text.
Exploiting vulnerabilities: MFA systems may contain vulnerabilities exploitable by attackers. For example, an attacker can use a vulnerable MFA app to generate their codes or even disable the MFA.
Malware: Malware can steal MFA codes and exploit MFA vulnerabilities.
Why We Need MFA
The unfortunate reality is that no technology can guarantee 100% protection against hacking attempts. However, using multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides a much higher level of security than relying solely on passwords. By implementing a robust MFA system and staying vigilant against various types of MFA bypass attacks, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your accounts.
Protect yourself against attacks meant to bypass Multi-Factor Authentication!
- Use a password manager to generate and store unique and complex passwords with at least 12 characters for all online accounts.
- Enable MFA on all of your accounts that support it.
- For optimal security, use the most robust multi-factor authentication (MFA) factor possible, such as a hardware key or biometric verification.
- It’s essential to be cautious when clicking on links from emails or text messages, even if they appear from trusted sources.
- Keep your devices and software up to date.
- Utilizing a reliable security solution that can effectively safeguard you against malicious software and other potential hazards on the internet is highly recommended.
Protect your accounts with the same ferocity that hackers try to compromise them! MFA is a great tool to have on your side.
If you’re concerned about keeping your organization secure and safe, Commonwealth Sentinel is here to assist you. We offer a wide range of services, including software and hardware solutions, training, and policy implementation. You can relax knowing that you are well-protected. Click here to set up a free consultation or contact us at (502) 320-9885 to learn how we can help you achieve peace of mind.