Traditionally, authentication processes have been the combination of a username and password. A username reveals a user’s identity, and knowing a user’s password verifies who they are. The issue with passwords seems to be that people find them challenging and complex to use, and cybercriminals can easily breach them. A study by Small Business Trends states that 83% of businesses have experienced a successful phishing attack in the previous years, primarily via emails
The use of weak and straightforward passwords, using the same passwords for several accounts, keystroke logging software that could store a user’s password, compromised websites, and password-phishing websites are just a few of the diverse methods passwords can be stolen. It has been shown that passwords are a weak means of authentication. Even though they could have been strong enough 10 to 20 years ago, they’re not the best means of authentication today.
Although there are different MFA setups, they all have one flaw in common- they all require human interaction. People can also be phished in situations where human engagement is needed. In other terms, a hacker can influence the authentication process when humans are involved. Once a victim signs into a webpage and receives their secret MFA code, the hacker can deceive the victim into providing their code so they can access the website. Hence, these MFA strategies may still be breached.
However, in this article, you’ll get to understand how this phishing-resistant MFA works, starting with an overview of the simplest and most common way to implement it: the FIDO token.
The FIDO Token – Overview
FIDO (Fast ID Online) authentication enables password-only account logins to be substituted with a secure, quick login interface across apps and websites thanks to the open and accessible standards from FIDO Alliance. Using standard public-key cryptography helps ensure strong authentication without omitting a single piece of data. Also, the universal 2-Factor Authentication is made simpler and offers more security thanks to the open standard known as FIDO U2F.
Users can use simple devices with FIDO2 to quickly authenticate to web services in desktop and mobile environments. The W3C’s (World Wide Web Consortium’s) (WebAuthn) Web Authentication protocol and the corresponding CTAP (Client-to-Authenticator Protocol) are part of the FIDO2 specifications.
The user’s local computer often generates a new key pair during registration through an online service. That way, the public key will be registered with the internet service, and the private key will be kept. The user’s device authenticates by accepting a challenge to show ownership of the service’s private key. They can be used until the user unlocks the client’s private keys directly on the device. Users can perform the local unlock process by clicking the NFC or inputting a uTrust FIDO2 private key.
How Does Phishing-Resistance Work in General?
As its name implies, even a clever phishing attempt cannot compromise phishing-resistant MFA. That means the MFA solution can include any of the various features, such as but not restricted to OTP (One-Time Passwords), security questions, and passwords that could be used as an identity by anyone who steals it.
A hardware security code is one of the ways security professionals often suggest using it to prevent phishing attacks. The user must be present and provide proof of ownership to gain access or log in using this technique. Because they don’t require additional sources or a proxy server and don’t disclose stored data, hardware security tokens are a great alternative for an excellent phishing-resistant MFA implementation. Additionally, they provide exceptional user experiences (UX), allowing users to sign in with just a simple touch or click on the security key.
Multi-factor authentication has several advantages, but almost all rely on the user’s ability to avoid phishing attacks. Phishing-resistant MFA improves security not only with external bodies but also with all active and passive third parties. It allows enterprises to comply with regulatory and safety standards while more precisely controlling internal networks, access to files, and other IT resources.
Phishing-resistant MFA provides the highest level of online security by going beyond basic MFA and when it’s implemented, it also eliminates the risks associated with other shared secrets or using a password. Furthermore, it provides user compliance and identity with SSO (Single Sign-On) solutions.
Can Skyline IT Management Help My Business Implement the Phishing-Resistant MFA?
Yes, we can!
To offer you an edge against cyberattacks and lower the chance of incurring expensive downtime, every component of your IT network needs to be equipped with an excellent cybersecurity posture. At Skyline IT Management, we’ll help assess your existing IT setup and inform you of any weak points and how we’ll address them.
It requires a multi-layered approach, which Skyline IT Management can provide. Contact us today and get value for your IT investment!