Why Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is Crucial for All Businesses, No Matter Their Size
MFA enhances cyber security, by requiring multiple layers of authentication for identity verification. This way of gaining access to various accounts/software combines multiple independent credentials: what the user has e.g. security codes, what the user knows, for instance, a password, and in some instances what they, which ascertained through biometric verification methods.
MFA approaches cyber security with different layers, making it more challenging for cyber targeting. If one of these layers is breached then the attacker still has to break through a minimum of one of the barriers before successfully gaining access. MFA mitigates the critical weaknesses that have been found through only using a traditional user ID and password logins that are easily bypassed, which is a weakness that potentially costs organisations significantly.
More recently cybercriminals have gained access to various services by using guessed or stolen passwords, in some severe cases this grants adversaries the same permissions (at times privileged access) as the intended user. This is a massive issue, particularly because there is a real problem when it comes to the differentiation between the attacker and the intended user. Access can be gained in multiple ways:
- Guessing passwords from leaked datasets in the hopes that the user has reused a password across multiple accounts.
- Using techniques such as phishing to trick users out of login details.
- Password spraying, is when an attacker utilises lists of commonly used passwords. This method works under the assumption that a few users will use passwords on the list. If an account locks out after a certain number of attempts, trying several users’ accounts, statistically speaking an adversary will still gain access to some accounts.
How to know when to implement an added layer of authentication
As long as there is a reliance on passwords for authentication, there is a high probability that users are using passwords that are machine-guessable leaving them more susceptible to cyber-attack. To help keep protected you should:
- Use cloud and internet-connected services that offer some form of MFA.
- Everyone should be asked to use MFA when using cloud and internet-connected services. This is crucial when MFA is used to gain access to services that hold sensitive and/or private data.
- Administrators should be required to use MFA when possible.
- Businesses should carefully evaluate if they need the services that only require single-factor authentication.
Authentication requests ideally should alert to successful and unsuccessful authentication requests to enterprise audit and monitoring systems. Which allows companies to keep an eye on and log suspicious and potentially harmful activity post-breach. There is a wide range of services that contact the user when they log in and are a successful way of differentiating between unauthorised and legitimate login attempts.
If you’re ever in doubt about your cyber-security set up, Worklfo Solutions accomplished IT team can help you plan, and implement an effective security plan.