User authentication activity verification is an essential aspect of network security. Every big organization, small and medium-sized businesses, as well government agencies, must hold it with high importance. A solid user authentication system prevents your business and network infrastructures (database, records, software & hardware, computer systems, etc.) from potential threats which could result in a huge loss.
Thus, it’s usually essential to put necessary authentication systems in place to prevent unauthorized network access. Single-Factor Authentication (SFA) has been one of the most used authentication methods. However, technological advancement, which has brought both positive and negative effects, has made it vulnerable. Hence, we review SFA loopholes while looking at other alternatives you can consider for your business.
Single-Factor Authentication (SFA)
Single-Factor Authentication is the conventional security method for regulating and securing access to a network or system. The method identifies and ensures that the party trying to gain access is indeed permitted to do so, by requesting one category of credentials for verification.
Password-based authentication is the most common Single-Factor Authentication method. The method demands users to enter the right username and password before granting them access. The method relies heavily on the diligence of the user or network administrator to create a strong password and ensure it remains secured and unknown to unauthorized persons.
Single-Factor Authentication has been viewed as a vulnerable authentication method by most experts, with CISA (Cyber-security & Infrastructure Security Agency) adding it to the list of bad practices. SFA has been vulnerable to many passwords comprising techniques like phishing, social engineering, network sniffing, keylogging, etc.
This makes businesses that employ it as the major network security method susceptible to network compromise and other security threats. More information on the risks involved in Single-Factor Authentication (SFA) will be shared in this article, but first, we will look at the methods’ alternatives.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
This authentication method is sometimes referred to as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication method. The security method requires a user or system administrator to provide two distinct verification factors, enabling the system to carry out a proper identification or verification process.
It is a much-improved method compared to Single-Factor Authentication (SFA), and it’s fast replacing SFA in the cyber security world. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) better protects your business network, data, and other essential resources with restricted access. While SFA requires only a username and password (the only factor), 2FA goes further by requesting a second (different) factor, which could be a code (security token), fingerprint, or facial scan (biometric factors).
The method provides an additional security layer to the verification process by making it complex for unauthorized personnel to access the system or network. Thus, ordinary password compromise doesn’t leave the system vulnerable, as the attacker would still have to scale through a second factor for proper identification and verification.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a form of multi-factor authentication (MFA). This authentication method requires users to provide more than one factor for authentication before gaining access to a system or network. Multi-factor authentication is a generic term for other authentication methods apart from Single-Factor Authentication (SFA). This may include 2FA, 3FA, 4FA, and even 5FA.
MFA methods provide a higher level of security based on the number of factors. This implies that a system protected by the 3FA method is more secure than that of 2FA, and 4FA provides more level of security than 3FA, etc. Additional authentication factors in MFA systems usually include fingerprints, voice recognition, facial scan, PINs, security token, and other methods to verify or prove your identity.
Most businesses now rely on MFA, especially for sensitive information and data with high market value. The method provides complex security layers, which render most password decryption methods like phishing, social engineering, and malware fraud ineffective. While Multi-Factor Authentication isn’t a lasting solution to these attacks, it helps mitigate them and makes it complex for unauthorized users to access the network.
What Are the Risks of Single-Factor Authentication?
Businesses that still use the Single-Factor Authentication method expose themselves to certain risks which can cause loss, compromise, or inability to access valuable data.
Whether you use Single-Factor Authentication for your financial account, company network, database, or computer system, the following are the risks you’re exposed to:
Ease of Attack
Single-Factor Authentication is a basic form of network security, making unauthorized access and data breach easier for attackers. The average data breach cost has increased by 2.6% over the years, moving from $4.24 million in 2021 to $4.35 million in 2022. This indicates that businesses keep losing to data breaches continuously. Using the SFA method for your network security makes your system susceptible to these breaches, putting your business on the verge of losing millions.
SFA requires a single factor (password or pin code) which can be easily compromised through phishing and other methods. According to IBM’s cost of data breach report 2022, 19% of breaches were due to compromised or stolen credentials, while phishing was responsible for breaches 16% of the time. This indicates that using SFA puts your business at risk of these attacks due to how easy it is for attackers to bypass this security process.
Permanent loss of Access
Using a Single-Factor Authentication (SFA) could result in permanent loss of access to a system or network if you forget or misplace the required factor without any means of retrieving it.
An example is the cryptocurrency wallet — Trustwallet. It requires a unique set of words called “Phrase” to access your wallet. Failure to provide that phrase means loss of permanent access to your portfolio and whatever digital assets you have in it.
Multiple Factors Authentication (MFA) provides alternative means of gaining access to a system or network in case one is impossible. This is another MFA over SFA.
Contact Us For Help With Multi Factor Authentication
Businesses need to move past Single-Factor Authentication and adopt Multi-Factor Authentication to prevent ease of attacks and data breaches that could cost them millions and avoid permanent loss of access to vital databases.
You shouldn’t compromise on integrating any of the MFA into your business to improve your network security. Contact Dynamix Solutions to implement a convenient user authentication system that is also secure. Call us toll-free at 1 (855) 405-1087.