Multi-Factor Authentication The SaviorDate Created: 24 Feb 2023
Multi-Factor Authentication, The Savior
How does your system know who you are you claim to be?
When we talk about identity and access management authentication is one of the most important pillars, the other being Admin, Authorization, and Audit.
The way we answer that question is based upon a set of factors and the factors might be based upon something “You know” something “you have” or something “you are”.
Something you know can be a passcode or a PIN. The good thing about it is you generate it yourself and you can change it as and when required. The problem with it is, it can be stolen or hacked and someone else could potentially appear to be you from the systems perspective as they know your password. Perhaps this is the most common way of authentication.
Another way is something you have and very commonly these days people do it with their mobile phone. They will pre-register their device with the system and then a message gets sent to that pre-registered device that only the user would be able to read if he/she possesses the phone. Though it has its limitations still there are definitely advantages to this.
The third way of authentication is something you are e.g., face recognition which may not be good for everyone else it’s good for the user and the user can use his face as a biometric to unlock the device & while doing the user need not have to remember anything. This is not easily replicable if the biometric is good.
These things are called factors of authentication. These factors can be used as single-factor authentication or we can do what is known as multi-factor authentication when we take multiple factors at the same time.
For example, a message is sent to the user’s phone, something he has and he unlocks it with his face print something he is. These two factors are combined into one and the user has something stronger from a security standpoint without all the complexities and without some of the limitations of a password. This makes it passwordless and frictionless which still preserves security.
MFA is an authentication process in which a user has to present pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism in order to gain access to particular resources which can be a website an application a network or a VPN.
MFA makes cyber-attack more difficult like phishing, Malware, hacking, etc by adding an additional layer of authentication that protect the privacy and provide a high level of assurance and security.
A few other authentication factors are
a) Location factor which usually denotes a location from where an authentication attempt is made.
b) Time factor which restricts the user authentication to a specific time window during which login is allowed
c) Adaptive authentication in which a user is authenticated based on the risk level presented by a login attempt. In adaptive authentication, the level of risk is assessed by the first authentication method, if low-risk access is granted if high-risk authentication is triggered.
Benefits of MFA
· Increased security layers as compared to 2 FA
· MFA protects hardware, software, database, and networks with ease.
· Hackers find it difficult to decode the OTP that is generated in real-time.
· Set up does not require high-end tech skills.
· Modification to security technologies can be done as per the requirement.
· As it ensures the protection of data, unwanted expenses e.g. loss due to data theft can be avoided and better ROI can be generated.
· Massive cyber frauds, particularly in the banking and financial sectors which leads to mistrust and fear, can be avoided and a trust relationship is built between the company and the customers.
· SSO Compatible
· Scalable for changing user base.
Cybersecurity today has become the most important priority for all companies and Government organizations. The danger of a cyber attack is lurking around and adding features like MFA provides a sense of security for the company which implements it. When it comes to securing data and protecting resources from unauthorized persons investing in an MFA solution seems worth it.