October 20, 2021
How Two Factor Authentication Helps In Cybersecurity

How Two Factor Authentication Helps In Cybersecurity

Fred JacksonOctober 20, 2021,

Our online security has always been of paramount importance, now more so than ever, because of the increasing cybercrime threats. Especially considering the amount of personal data people store and upload online, it has become critical to upgrade your security. To do that, among the best-proven methods is 2-factor authentication. While relatively simple, this method significantly lowers potential cyber risks.

So what is 2-factor authentication, and how does it help in cybersecurity? We had the experts come in to answer this one. Cybersecurity experts explain how this method effectively deters cybercriminals and protects your digital life.

Eric McGee is the Senior Network Engineer TRGDatacenters. According to Eric...

Two-factor authentication is a security measure where an individual is required to successfully pass two authentication stages so that they can access the account/site. The first stage is normally entering the username and password, while the second stage involves putting in a unique code sent to your phone or using your fingerprint to confirm your identity.

This method of authentication provides a second layer of security just in case an unauthorized person has acquired your log-in credentials. With brute-force attacks and credential stuffing increasing in intensity, a password is simply no longer adequate enough to protect your account and information from external parties. Two-factor authentication has proven to be much more effective at guarding against credential stuffing and malware attacks.

Moreover, two-factor can protect you against phishing emails because illegitimate sites will not be able to provide a 2-factor code that you can use to gain entry into the site. Once this code isn't forthcoming, you will be unable to get into the fake site, preventing the loss of your data.

Aliza Vigderman is a Senior Editor and Industry Analyst of the digital security website; Security.org. According to Aliza...

Two-factor authentication helps in cybersecurity because it means that even if someone has a user’s username and password, they still won’t be able to access accounts unless they also have access to the user’s mobile device. It’s relatively easy for hackers to obtain login credentials through methods like phishing, messages that are socially engineered to resemble legitimate websites so people log in as they normally would. 

If a hacker gets these credentials and there is no authentication, they can easily access the account and steal the data. However, with two-factor authentication, they’d also need to have the user’s mobile device to retrieve the passcode. It’s much harder to get access to someone’s mobile device messages, so this adds on another layer of security, preventing unauthorized access to accounts. 

Michael Brengs is a recognized identity management expert and industry speaker who has been deploying identity management solutions for 20+ years and is currently a Managing Partner with Optimal IdM. According to Micheal...

The 2020 Verizon data breach report states that 81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords. And that makes sense because the human element of any security system will always be the weakest link. But there are some simple steps that can be taken to help any organization reduce the chances of being hacked.

One is two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA or Multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA involves combining two or more different credentials - password, security token, and biometric verification, for example - for access to a database or network. 

MFA makes it extremely difficult for hackers to compromise the security of computer networks because they must infiltrate multiple layers of defense instead of just decoding one password. If hackers do succeed in guessing a password, they must still breach additional authentication types before they can reach their target.

One of the best benefits of using an MFA process is the long-term security it provides due to ensuring only individual account owners can access their login credentials. MFA also improves data access management by allowing immediate lock-out of terminated employees.

As an employer, you should encourage having employees utilize Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) because MFA also improves data access management by allowing immediate lock-out of terminated employees.

Another good practice for organizations is to implement Authentication as a Service (AaaS). AaaS allows developers to use an API to stand up MFA quickly but never have to maintain it. That burden is shifted to the MFA provider, who already has the technology, infrastructure, and expertise to manage the service.

James Wilson, Digital Privacy and Security Expert and Founder, My Data Removal. According to James...

Two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds another step to accessing an account. This helps protect your account by introducing one more hurdle for attackers.

When logging into an account, you provide different types of credentials. A password is something you know. A 2FA or MFA token is something you have. Biometrics would be something you are. An account isn’t much more secure if it requires multiple credentials of the same type. An account that requires multiple passwords wouldn’t be much more secure than an account that requires just one. But an account that requires a password and a 2FA token are much more secure, i.e., harder to hack than an account that just requires a password.

The primary types of 2FA methods in use today are hardware tokens (like YubiKey, a USB security key), software tokens (like Google Authenticator or Authy), and SMS. Hardware tokens are the most secure, software tokens are next, and SMS is the least secure method of 2FA. SMS 2FA is significantly better than not having 2FA.

2FA makes it harder for bad guys to get access to your accounts. In addition to knowing your password, they would need to know the token or code your 2FA method provides.

Steve Tcherchian is the CISO and Chief Product Officer at XYPRO, a leading cybersecurity solutions company. With almost 20 years in the cybersecurity field, Steve is responsible for strategy, innovation, and development of XYPRO's security product line, as well as overseeing XYPRO's risk, compliance and security. According to Steve...

Even though we've already seen too many breaches lately targeting privileged accounts, we will see these types of attacks continue. Passwords are archaic. One true way to combat this risk is by introducing a second factor for authentication. A second factor adds a layer of complexity to the authentication process but provides immense value in terms of addressing the risk. 

We've heard for years that multi-factor authentication should be turned on for everything, yet it's rarely implemented. Until we shift our mindset and sacrifice a little bit of convenience for a massive amount of security - these types of massive, high-profile attacks will only continue to increase in 2021.

Experts have been preaching for years about the benefits of multi-factor authentication. Yet, the lack of adoption throughout the industry is still shocking. It's one of the biggest bangs for your buck in terms of cyber protection, yet the excuses for why it's not implemented never end.

According to Microsoft, 81% of data breaches occur because of weak, default, or stolen credentials, and 99% of these attacks can be blocked by implementing MFA.

MFA is an authentication method where a user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more of the following pieces of information:

* Something you know (password)

* Something you have (security token)

* Something you are (biometrics)

All it takes is one compromised account to one legacy application to cause a catastrophic breach and catapult a company negatively into the headlines. With the unfortunate increase in COVID-19 phishing scams targeting remote workers isolated from their day-to-day environments, there is no better time to implement multi-factor authentication across your critical applications, servers, and services. If we continue to delay, that time will pass, and there will be no excuses left, only breaches that could have been prevented.

Mihai Corbuleac is an Information Security Consultant at StratusPointIT; an IT support company providing business IT support, cloud, and information security services across the United States since 2006. According to Mihai...

Firstly, two-factor authentication (2FA) makes stolen credentials useless because it requires the user to enter a second form of identification for getting access; usually, a temporary code is sent securely to a separate device (a smartphone, a digipass authenticator, etc.) so, with 2FA in place, a stolen password is not enough to break into an account.

Secondly, 2FA helps prevent some of the most common and successful types of cyberattacks, including phishing, credential stuffing, keyloggers, brute force attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.

Also, mobile 2FA enables users to securely access files and applications from any location without putting the corporate network and sensitive data at risk. In fact, by implementing 2FA, you will be able to protect not only your sensitive apps but also your virtual private network (VPN).

Enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible is probably the most effective security measure IT departments can take to combat credential theft.

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