From the locks on our cars to the passwords of our bank accounts, we seek to protect and preserve our most valuable assets and information. As new technologies advance, so do the means of infiltrating them. To better maintain our personal security, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) measures are implemented to secure the sensitive data we leave on the web. Any digital presence in need of authentication and security can benefit from the added protection from sophisticated MFA integration.
First available in key fobs in 1986 by the network security company, RSA Security, an additional numeric password was provided to users for extra authentication purposes. This simple yet effective verification process was utilized by companies large and small for over 20 years, only recently making its online debut within the last 10 years for user-based authentication.
Google pioneered the first use of two-factor authentication (2FA) in response to increases in cyber-security attacks and hijackings, requiring increased verification measures to ensure the legitimacy of users. Many companies followed suit, including Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, Yahoo, Twitter, and Amazon. As such, user protections gained an added layer of protection worthy of its multi-factor namesake, requiring an email verification or code sent to the original user to verify the accuracy of a login attempt.
The evolution of 2FA found more legitimacy as high-profile celebrities, politicians, and business moguls failed to utilize the added steps of authentication measures, causing account hijackings and compromised data as a result. Figures like Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Gizmodo writer Matt Honan all experienced devastating ramifications from a failure to utilize these added security features linked to their Google, Apple, Twitter, and other prominent online accounts. In retrospect, simply enabling or integrating this feature into websites or account-based services can save clients and businesses the disastrous scenarios faced by the countless individuals who suffer from cyber infiltration.
When one or more of the 2FA protections are violated, the threat of account hijackings increase. In early 2014, MFA began to strengthen online security through three major factors: something you know, something you have, and something you are. Let’s break down the efficacy of each below.
Something You Know
This piece of information relies on something already known by the user, whether that be a password, a characteristic of a family member, or some personal identifier that links them to that account.
Something You Have
When given an identifier such as an extra passcode or a one-time-use token specific to the account, this is considered something you have. This can be given one time and used one time, usually timing out after a certain period to ensure temporary access with that code.
Something You Are
Personalized access is most secure when only you are capable of providing that feature, which includes a fingerprint, voice recognition, or some form of biometric identity. These are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replicate, making these forms of authentication the most secure across the web.
MFA can only work when two of the three variables are successfully input to the account verification. If one fails, two more are available for the user to input. This provides some margin for error if one is forgotten, or one cannot be accessed.
With such a demand for online presence and credibility in our tech-driven world, businesses rely on cyber security measures to protect themselves and their consumers from fraudulent behaviors. Many businesses provide in-house email services, user accounts, and credentials in web-based environments for employees and consumers alike. Without added protections to keep this information secure, hackers can slip through the broadened cracks of a businesses vulnerability.
Let’s consider the real world examples. In 2013, Yahoo suffered one of the largest data breaches of the 21st century, impacting over 3 billion accounts. Account information was breached, allowing access to billions of user-provided data. While many hacking incidents aren’t solely deterred by MFA, if an account was accessed after the fact, the initial user would have been informed of a login attempt from a suspicious location, prompting password changes and account alerts when necessary. Increased protections like these provide extra layers of defense to combat the ever-growing threats in the digital world.
Credibility is bolstered ten-fold as a business when your consumers feel protected and secure. If your business relies on sensitive data compiled regularly for credit checks, soft pulls, auto applications, or more, ensuring your consumer’s information is protected can drive business through the simple means of added security.
A consumer who walks into a bank who sees millions of dollars on the counter may not feel their money is as secure as one who sees a fortified vault. This alone can deter individuals from risky behaviors, while strengthening the resolve of your services. Let your MFA provide the added security measures you and your clients deserve.
Services like MFAs, compliance regulations, synthetic identity detection, eVerification practices, and client history checks are all available through trusted and experienced companies like Soft Pull Solutions. Our wide variety of digital utilities help companies, lenders, and individuals verify information and access business-lending criteria for the most accurate of decisions. If you are like the thousands of companies in need of soft pulls, hard pulls, API integrations, or compliance tools, contact Soft Pull Solutions for an appointment in creating a protected, authenticated presence on the web.