The Better Alternative to Single-Factor Authentication


When hackers breach a database, they take advantage of weak or stolen passwords 81% of the time. This is what led Troy Hunt to publish a new version Pwned Passwords where people can verify if the password they typed in has been leaked in a previous data breach. The intention is there: businesses are not supposed to let their customers (or employees) use compromised passwords, especially those written in plain text. This begs the question: are passwords enough to secure companies when an actual breach happens?

What Is Single-Factor Authentication (SFA)?

SFA has been used by companies for decades to identify the person or party trying to request access. If the person has the right category of credentials, they are granted access. While password authentication is the most popular type of SFA, it is also the weakest form of account security.

Is Multifactor Authentication (MFA) A Better Alternative?

While SFA requires only one category of credentials, MFA uses a series of categories to identify the person asking for access—making it less vulnerable to hacking techniques and social engineering. Here are examples of credentials that are used in authentication:

○  ID cards

○   Security tokens

○   One-time passcodes

○   Smart cards

○   Facial recognition

○    Fingerprint or retina scans

○    Voice scans

○     Passwords

○     Usernames

○      PINs

○      Secret Questions

As opposed to securing a network with only password authentication, a company’s network becomes more secure when more layers of authentication are added. Adding possession factors with the usual password security system makes it harder for hackers to breach successfully. Even more so when other factors are added. Companies can choose the factors that are deemed essential to their business, whether it may be a two-factor authentication method or a five-factor method.

When implementing a new authentication system, it is also important to note the following:

When implementing a multifactor authentication system, companies also need to consider their own best practices. While the MFA system strengthens security, the company should consider if employees or customers are skilled enough to comply. Create strong defenses that do not overwhelm but protect.

Talk with us.

Wilson Consulting Group is a cybersecurity firm that aims to provide companies the solutions to keep their systems secure. Our Application Security Assessment Service assists organizations to identify, evaluate and respond to your applications’ risks.

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