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How Biometric and Multi-Factor Authentication Prevent Cyberattacks

Scott Mcintire
June 26, 2019

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Did you know almost all recent cyberattacks were preventable? All they needed was to add another authentication factor. That’s why this simple, effective security measure should be a staple.

Want to learn all about how multi-factor authentication (MFA) can keep you protected? We’ve got you covered! Read on to learn all about MFA.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

MFA uses at least two factors for user logins. The traditional username and password approach is one-factor authentication. Here, your one factor is your password.

Authentication factors fall into one of three categories:

  • something you know (like a password),
  • something you are (biometrics), and
  • something you have (such as a cell phone).

Usually, you’ll need at least two factors for logging in, although some companies use all three.

The Problem with Passwords

So, what’s so great about MFA? Why not stick to passwords?

Passwords aren’t great. Don’t believe us? Did you know 81% of data breaches in the past few years were due to cyberattacks related to passwords?

A computer doesn’t care where a password originates. It only knows if it is correct or not. The inability to prove identity is the password’s biggest weakness.

Additionally, most users will use the same passwords for several accounts. Even if one website is protected, hackers can get passwords from other less secure ones. Most cyberattacks target passwords, so a second factor of authentication greatly lowers the chance of an attack.

The Benefits of Biometrics

So, why isn’t everyone using MFA? Most people hate the hassle.

Most MFA systems have you sign in with your password. Then, they’ll send a push notification to your cell phone containing a one-time token.

But entering a second code tedious. And the user may forget their cell phone or other “thing you have” factor and be unable to login.

Luckily there’s an easier solution, thanks to modern technology. Today, many phones come equipped with face recognition or fingerprint scanners. It’s now quick and easy to use biometrics as an authentication factor to prove who you are.

Remote hackers won’t have your biometric information. This makes this authentication factor extremely secure. And it’s so easy that it gets rid of the hassle often associated with MFA.

How Does MFA Protect Against Cyberattacks?

Wondering how MFA can protect against cyberattacks? We’ll cover common types of cyberattacks as well as how MFA can combat them.

Brute Force

This is the simplest form of cyberattack. Here, the attacker uses a program that tries out random username and password combinations until one works. If they have the username already, that’s one less step they need to get into the system.

They can also try using information gained in other attacks from other websites. But MFA can help.

Even if the hacker obtains a password, they don’t have the extra authentication factor. Without obtaining the second factor, they won’t be able to access the system.

Phishing

With this attack type, the attacker obtains a list of contact information. He or she then uses this information to send out a message with a type of call to action. It often links to a fake login website where the user can enter login information that’s sent directly to the hacker.

Specialized forms of attacks like this are called spear phishing. These attacks contain personalized information to make the call to action more plausible. But even if the attack succeeds, it won’t provide the second authentication factor.

Man-in-the-middle

This complex attack type often takes the form of a fake public Wi-Fi port. Then, it inserts itself between the user and the website or app for logging in. And if the user is using his or her cell phone, the hacker now has the user’s password and authentication factor.

This is one reason why biometrics is so important. If users are logging in from the “thing they have” factor, it’s easy to get login information. But this won’t provide the user’s fingerprints or other biometric data.

Ready to Use Multi-Factor Authentication?

Are you ready to try out a new form of MFA to combat against cyberattacks? Look no further than Acceptto!

Our top-of-the-line MFA solution offers unparalleled protection. Request a demo today and see what Acceptto can do for you!

 

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