Strategy Day 4 Force Authentication
One-level security is no longer enough. Even the strongest passwords are vulnerable to theft or exposure. Requiring more than one method to authenticate user identity or access permissions can reduce or eliminate the risk of stolen or unauthorized credentials being utilized.
Traditional login schemes use single factor authentication. This means using a password to gain access to a resource. It is called single factor because there is only one unknown or private piece of information – the users password. The users login name is not considered to be secure in any way shape or form it is merely a way to associate the password with a particular user. While strong passwords and/or passphrases are required in many security conscious companies the initial implementation of this requirement was received with a lot of end user push back. There are many characteristics of a strong password but with technology advances moving as fast as they are it is increasingly fast and easy for any password to be cracked or captured. While getting into full details about password cracking, which is beyond the scope of this article, let me just say that a password that only a year ago would have taken 5 years to crack cna many times be cracked in a matter of days or weeks.
That is why Multi-Factor Authentication or MFA is necessary today. MFA uses another sourceor type of private or protected information to confirm the identity of the user. There are 3 common types of authentication.
- What you know – password or passphras, your best friends name or your mothers maiden name.
- What you are – a fingerprint, facial details or voiceprint
- What you have – a cell phone, badge or fob.
Using MFA makes gaining access to resources more secure and less vulnerable to credential theft. If someone gets your IT guys password then have the keys to the kingdom if you only rely on a password to protect your assets. If you have MFA enabled then the bad guys need additional items they are not in possession of to get in, stopping them in their tracks.
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