Multi-factor authentication (MFA), or two-step verification, is one of the simplest ways to add
protection to your technology and data. By requiring an additional piece of information, or step, to
establish identity, systems are strengthened against the vulnerabilities that come with poor password
and username practices. MFA employs a combination of various methods that can be used as steps
including knowledge-based, security objects, and biometric factors.
The most familiar of these methods is knowledge-based criteria. A password is an example of this type
of verification, as it is a piece of information known, presumably, only by the user. Other examples of
this method are PINs, security questions, and patterns such as those used to access phones. Knowledge
factors are often the first step in authentication but can also provide the least security as they are the
most subject to human error. Failure to establish strong passwords or using broad security questions
with easily researched answers can leave systems vulnerable if this is the only criteria used.
Adding an additional method that employs an object possessed by the user greatly enhances secure
access. This can be a one-time code sent to a cell phone or generated with a dedicated, token-
generation device designed specifically for that purpose. There are a number of apps available that
facilitate MFA through the use of random codes that refresh at regular intervals including QR-based
Biometric methods use unique, physical characteristics of the user to verify identification. These can
include fingerprints, facial recognition software, recognition of voice patterns, and iris scans.
While multi-factor authentication is an important part of an overall security strategy, it is not foolproof.
Hackers are always mobilizing to find ways to penetrate the latest security measures. SIM swapping and
man-in-the-middle attacks are just two of the ways by which bad actors can circumvent this practice.
While these attacks are rare, it only takes one successful attempt to cause irreparable damage to a
business or organization.
Asteros is here to show you how multi-factor authentication can help your business within the protection of an overall security plan. Specializing in small-to-medium businesses and organizations, our services provide customized solutions for those with unique needs. To learn more about how Asteros can help your company protect its vital assets, schedule a free, no-strings-attached attack surface audit today.