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Mitchell Gross
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Enabling Multi-factor Authentication Prevents Your Company from Significant Monetary Losses

Research conducted at the University of Maryland revealed that there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. With frequent changes in technology, it can become easier for malicious and unauthorized individuals to gain access to sensitive data thus making it more crucial and challenging to put a cybersecurity plan in place. One way to prevent and deter cyber criminals is by enabling multi-factor authentication.

What is multi-factor authentication (MFA)?

Multi-factor authentication is a system used to protect online accounts by requiring a second method of authentication to complement the standard password log in. This makes it harder for unauthorized users to access our accounts and compromise our sensitive and confidential data. MFA combines three methods to verify the identity of the user and allow the login process, which includes passwords, security tokens, and biometrics. Some examples of MFA incorporate answering security questions after using a fingerprint to log in, entering a temporary code sent to your mobile device after the password is entered, or simply typing a PIN after swiping the credit/debit card.

Which technologies are used within this method?

According to Margaret Rouse in her article for TechTarget (2015), there are different technologies within multi-factor authentication:

  • Security tokens: small devices, either a smart card or USB, that allows access to a specific online account. These hardware devices are only carried by the owner and user of the respective network.
  • Soft tokens: software applications that perform the same task as security tokens. In the case of soft tokens, the use is most common in smartphones and it generates a unique PIN to be used at every login.
  • Biometric authentication consists of unique biological aspects of a person used to verify his/her identity when logging in to different accounts or devices. This methodology includes fingerprints, retina scans, voice and face recognition.
  • Mobile Authentication: the user receives authentication by a SMS, phone call, email, or smart card.

How and where can MFA be enabled?

Most of the websites and applications we use today offer the option of enabling multi-factor authentication. Organizations and businesses should require it for all their employee and devices. General users should enable a method in security and/or privacy settings, or simply contact the respective organization to make sure they support MFA and provide instructions on how to enable this system. Here are some common categories that offer MFA during the login process:

  • Mobile devices and applications
    • Social media
    • Communication
    • App stores
  • Shopping
  • Payment processing
  • Cloud systems
  • Financial accounts

By enabling multi-factor authentication, users and business alike can gain greater protection of their sensitive data by stopping them in their early attempts to compromise our accounts. With the exponential growth of cybercrime, being one step ahead of attackers is vital. MFA cannot guarantee that there is not going to be a breach; however, it protects and strengthens cybersecurity at the forefront of the login process. This simple step can have a major impact and limit monetary losses due to compromised data breaches. Your company is likely to fall victim to a cyber breach if this issue is not addressed from inception or updated to today’s standards.

RB Advisory can help your home, organization, or business be better prepared for the cyber risks we are exposed to every day. MFA is one step forward in the process towards improved cybersecurity, but it will not ensure full protection. Our discovery process will uncover your cyber risks and allow us to mitigate the risk before you encounter a cyber-attack. In this day and age, it is not if you will experience a cyber attack, but when. Find out more about how we can help improve your cybersecurity stance by emailing us at discovery@rbadvisoryllc.com or calling us at 407-796-8079.

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