Did you know that around 30,000 websites are hacked daily, and a new attack occurs every 39 seconds on average?
The damage that these breaches can cause is huge. Sensitive customer data or business information can be leaked, causing harm to your business and its reputation. Many of these breaches occur because hackers are able to access business networks by simply logging into them.
If a hacker gets hold of the username and password for a business account, then they can access anything that an employee can access. There are a number of ways that hackers can get hold of these credentials, from sophisticated software to simple phishing attacks.
One way to add an extra level of protection to business IT services and security is to make use of multi-factor authentication. Read on as we take a look at why multi-factor authentication is something that is likely to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a way to keep online accounts safe. It adds an additional layer of authentication beyond a simple username and password.
It means that if hackers do manage to get hold of your password, they would still need to get through additional layers of authentication before they would gain access to the network. These additional layers of authentication can be as simple as a one-time code that is sent to a user’s device, or as complex as voice or fingerprint recognition.
How Does Multi-Factor Authentication Work?
MFA works by asking for further authentication once someone has entered a valid username and password.
One of the most common methods is to send a code to a specific phone number or device. Once that code has been received and entered, the authentication is complete, and the user can access the network. It means that if a hacker doesn’t have that specific device, they won’t receive the code, and shouldn’t be able to gain access.
Other systems use apps installed on phones or other devices to generate the codes needed to complete the login. The app is linked to one specific device, so unless you have access to that device, you can’t generate the code you need to log in.
Biometric multi-factor authentication uses information unique to a specific individual, such as a fingerprint or voice pattern. Some systems even continuously monitor the way that people type, and lock them out if their typing pattern is not recognized.
Why Use Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-factor authentication is a way to help a business stay secure online. It adds a whole extra layer of protection on top of simply using usernames and passwords to protect accounts.
That’s because even the strongest password is useless if it has been leaked or hacked. These types of attacks are becoming ever more common, which is why multi-factor authentication is likely to be here to stay.
There are a number of ways that hackers can gain access to login credentials.
Phishing is one of the most common ways of gaining access to login credentials.
Phishing attacks are designed to mimic genuine emails and trick users into trying to log in to their accounts. You’ve probably received these types of emails before, pretending to be from a bank or your PayPal account, and with a link for you to log in. These links are fake, however, and if you do enter your credentials, they will instantly get passed on to the hackers to use as they wish.
Spear phishing is a form of phishing in which the attack is directed specifically at one person in a targeted attack. It may use information gleaned from social media to trick you into believing that the link you are trying to access is genuine.
Keystroke logging is a method of recording every single keystroke that you make on a computer.
This is usually done by installing malware on your computer. This malware records your keystrokes and allows the hacker to see everything that you type. The moment that you type in your username and password, the hacker has access to it.
Credential stuffing is a trial and error method used by hackers. It works on the principle that people like to reuse the same user accounts and passwords.
Your username and password may be leaked from another site, which happens more frequently than you might realize. Hackers will try these same details in as many different sites as they can, in the hope that the credentials are used elsewhere.
One security enhancement that can help to reduce the risk of successful credential stuffing is to use a password manager. This is an application that creates a different strong password for every site that you use. You only need to remember the login details for the password manager, and it will remember all the other passwords for you.
Man-in-the-middle attacks are where hackers manage to sneak into the internet connection between you and the server you are trying to log into.
By reading the traffic between these two places, they can access your login details as you enter them. This type of attack is particularly common in unsecured networks, such as the free Wi-Fi you might use at a coffee shop.
Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks use computers to try multiple different passwords in a short space of time.
The intent is to find the right one by sheer weight of numbers. They will often use very common passwords such as ‘p4ssw0rd’ or ‘123456’ first. That’s why having a strong password can reduce the risk of these brute force attacks being successful.
Issues With Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication can help to reduce the risks from the types of attacks listed above, but it does come with some issues.
One of the most common is employee dissatisfaction. Some employees may resent have to go through an additional level of authentication every time they want to log in to do some work. However, good MFA systems add very little time to the login process, and can make a significant difference to how secure your network is.
Some employees may also take issue with having to install an app of their phone. These apps usually take up very little space and are quick and easy to use.
Are You Looking for Help to Keep Your Network Protected?
Using multi-factor authentication is just one way to help protect your business network.
If you’re looking for support in incorporating the very latest security infrastructure and strategies into your business, then we’re here to help. We can identify industry-specific threats and help you to develop a comprehensive network security solution that’s tailor-made for your operations.
We also offer a range of other Los Angeles IT support services, including network security, cloud migration, hosted VoIP solutions, network installation, data backup and protection, and more.
Contact our team today, and together we can explore how to keep your network protected.