Multifactor Authentication: The Advantages and Vulnerabilities
Increases to computing power in the last 10 years has resulted in the rise of a type of cyberattack known as Brute Force Attacks. In this type of attack, a malicious actor attempts to gain access to an account by systematically guessing every possible combination of username and password possible. Due to the fact that many passwords used today use the same set of common words and characters, this type of attack has become extremely effective at hacking into unsuspecting users’ accounts.
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One of the best methods of countering brute force attacks is Multifactor Authentication (MFA). Using this type of security adds an additional layer of security to your account, preventing a user from accessing it should they gain access to your username and password combination.
How does MFA Work?
MFA requires a login from an unfamiliar device to provide an additional piece of authentication to ensure that the user trying to log in is the authorized individual. Often, this is done in the form of a temporary code sent to a personal device such as a user’s cellphone or email.
An attacker that has gained access to your credentials through brute force attacks would not be able to provide this second piece of authentication, as they would not have access to your personal device. Therefore, this type of security is effective at mitigating direct brute force attacks.
There are many methods of multifactor authentication available. While codes sent via SMS are a common type, others include authenticator apps installed on a smart phone, or physical tokens that display secure, rotating codes.
While MFA is a great addition to any account’s security, it cannot be seen as a complete solution, as there have historically been methods of bypassing it. Previous vulnerabilities in WS-Trust (Web Services Trust Languages) have been shown to provide security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyberattackers to bypass the extra authentication needed by MFA. As of April 2022, WS-Trust has been retired by Microsoft. However, new vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered by both cybercriminals and cybersecurity professionals, some of which may threaten the security of even MFA-secured accounts today.
The Danger of Intrusion
An attacker that gains access to your sensitive account, such as Microsoft 365, essentially has access to all of your important or private files. If your organization store client information in a cloud environment, this could also give the attacker access to steal, delete, or otherwise leak this data to the world.
Oftentimes, an intrusion will lead to devastating consequences for any organization, both financially and legally. In addition, reputational damage can be immense with customers losing trust in your organization’s ability to sensitively handle and protect their private data.
Don’t fall victim to Cyberattack. GIGE Corporation has over 30 years in managing Canadian Organizations’ IT security systems. Call us at +1 888 366 4443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started with us today.