Multi-factor authentication (MFA) uses a combination of two or more separate authenticators to confirm a user’s identity during login. It is a layered technique for securing physical and logical access. MFA improves security because unauthorized users won’t be able to pass the second authentication requirement and won’t be able to access the targeted physical area or computer system, even if one authenticator is compromised.
The Importance of MFA
Even if passwords or PINs are compromised as a result of phishing attempts or other causes, implementing MFA makes it more challenging for threat actors to access private or company sites and information systems, such as email, remote access technologies, and billing systems. To acquire unauthorized access, adversaries are increasingly capable of guessing or collecting passwords. Advanced password-cracking methods are evolving, and powerful computing is becoming more accessible. Additionally, attackers get credentials through phishing emails or by locating passwords that have been misused on other systems. By significantly raising the barrier to entry for attackers, MFA adds robust security against account takeover.
How MFA Works
MFA mandates that users provide two or more authentication factors at login to validate their identity before being granted access. The security of the login procedure rises with each new authentication factor enabled. The user would typically need to provide a combination of the three MFA factors below to log in.
Something You Know: a password or PIN, for example.
Something You Own: such as a smart card, mobile token, or hardware token.
Something You Are: This could be a biometric indicator in some way, such as a voice, face, or fingerprint.
You can ward off cyberattacks by combining all three types of authentication. For instance, MFA may require users to first put a bank card or smart card into a card reader (first factor) before entering a password or PIN (second factor). Even if they had the card, an unauthorized user would need to know the password to be able to log in. The password is useless if you don’t have physical access to it, just like the card. Email, remote desktops, and Virtual Private Networks(VPNs) are a few examples of systems that could benefit from MFA enforcement. Match the capacity to the need because the solutions chosen and the platforms to be protected will affect implementation timelines, prices, adoption willingness, and the level of protection offered.
Applications That Need MFA
MFA is necessary to secure any app on your device that saves sensitive data. We’re talking about your social media, bank, and health insurance apps here.
Three Benefits of Multifactor Authentication
Hackers are prohibited from breaking into your network by having to provide numerous credentials before they can access accounts. This prevents them from using stolen devices, passwords, or other pieces of information.
Lowers the Risk of Password Compromise
Passwords are the least secure type of authentication despite being the most used. People may reuse or share passwords, which makes account users and system administrators vulnerable to theft or guessing.
Supports Single Sign-on (SSO)
Applications that support single sign-on can incorporate MFA into them. To log in, users are no longer required to generate numerous distinct passwords or take the risky step of using the same password across numerous applications. MFA lessens friction while confirming the user’s identity in conjunction with SSO, enhancing productivity and saving time.
Six Excellent Multifactor Authenticator Apps
1. Google Authenticator App
2. Two-Factor Authenticator
3. Microsoft Authenticator App
5. Last Pass Authenticator
MFA is a no-brainer. The real question is…Why are you not using it already…?