Tightening the Security Net: Strategies to Counter Multifactor Authentication Vulnerabilities

Tightening the Security Net: Strategies to Counter Multifactor Authentication Vulnerabilities

MFA is a strong defense mechanism, but cybercriminals have more advanced attack strategies. Hackers can carry out devastating cyber-attacks in various ways, and this list is expanding.

Many people consider multifactor authentication (MFA) one of, if not the most important, security measures available. Although strong authentication is unquestionably the foundation of good security, it’s important to remember that there is no industry-wide panacea and that cybercriminals have developed ways to get around MFA safeguards.

By verifying identities in multiple ways before providing access to a network, multifactor authentication (MFA) raises the bar for cybersecurity. MFA adds an extra layer of security, preventing hackers from accessing sensitive data without authorization.

MFA is a strong defense mechanism, but cybercriminals are developing more advanced attack strategies. Hackers can carry out devastating cyberattacks in various ways, and this list is expanding.

Multifactor authentication increases the security of usernames and passwords, but it may not provide as much protection as one might think, depending on the MFA method used. It’s time to strengthen MFA to make user accounts and data more secure.

How to Improve MFA’s Resilience

MFA product vendors should make them as resistant to attacks as they can. Here are a few options that security experts should think about when implementing MFA.

  • USB Tokens

An increasingly popular option for password-less initiatives is USB/FIDO2 tokens. Some users complain that USB tokens are costly, difficult to deploy and manage, and “one more thing to carry.” However, replacing passwords can provide a good user experience (although using them with smartphones can present some challenges).

Security professionals should ensure that using USB tokens to replace passwords completely is not MFA; rather, it is 1FA, which has the same security risks as using passwords alone for authentication.

Anyone with that token can access the system that otherwise needs authentication. Always use at least two authentication factors; in this case, use USB tokens and PINs or biometrics.

  • Adopt secure programming

Vendors should use the secure development lifecycle when creating MFA methods. This method entails conducting internal penetration tests, in-house codes review, hiring outside pen testers, taking part in bug bounties, and looking into pertinent hacking reports.

Vendors should also develop and share a threat model that details the various ways MFA techniques could be compromised, including social engineering, man-in-the-middle attacks, and reliance on external systems like DNS and Active Directory.

  • Attacks Based on OTP

When users attempt to log into an application, a system automatically generates and sends them a one-time password (OTP) code to confirm their identity. A cyber attacker who cannot enter the OTP cannot access the network in question as a security precaution. A cyber threat actor will hijack the medium holding the OTP to gain access.

OTPs are typically sent to cell devices. Implement a Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) system to find and block threat vectors that could expose the code to prevent OTP-based vulnerabilities in MFA.

  • Recovery Attacks

Recovery attackers are hackers who take advantage of users forgetting their login credentials and then attempt to recover them. They compromise those ways to access that information when they start taking steps to recover through alternative means.

Using password managers to store the passwords will help users avoid forgetting them and using recovery methods, thereby reducing the likelihood of recovery attempts.

  • Give customers enough information

The first choice is the easiest to carry out. Before users accept a push notification or click a link in a text or email message, give them enough information to choose. MFA notifications should include more than just a code, according to Grimes.

Instead, give users the who, what, where, and why so they can decide before acting reasonably. Additionally, vendors must provide instructions on how to file abuse reports.

  • Brute force attacks

MFA products should be resistant to brute-force attacks. Implementing account lockouts after numerous unsuccessful login attempts is one way to achieve this. Security teams can prevent hackers from repeatedly attempting to log in within a predetermined period by imposing strict rate limiting or throttling.

  • Phishing for consent

Many applications use open authorization (OAuth) to request constrained access to a user’s account data. For instance, a third-party app can access a user’s Google calendar through OAuth without needing the user’s password or full access to their Google account.

Hackers can pose as legitimate OAuth login pages and ask for any level of access they require from a user by using a contemporary attack technique called consent phishing. The hacker can side-step any MFA verification if given these rights, potentially enabling a full account takeover.

The Significant Contribution of MFA to Contemporary Security

After the global pandemic, zero-trust and remote work security emerged as top business priorities. The first step in making these efforts successful is identifying the users using the important data and resources. According to a Gartner Multifactor authentication and access management report, companies without remote access will experience five times more account takeover incidents without MFA protection.

The time when companies could afford to view MFA as an option rather than a necessity has passed. Nevertheless, it’s critical to recognize that MFA isn’t faultless. Organizations beginning to investigate or review MFA must carefully compare the available options to their particular deployment and risk profile. While correctly implementing the MFA deployment is essential, businesses shouldn’t overlook the importance of user education and training, a layered approach to security with additional safeguards and protections.

Also Read: Why AI is Imperative for Building a Robust Zero-Trust Strategy?

Establishing more effective communication channels

To increase security even further, several solutions have already surfaced. One is “out-of-band” authentication (OOBA), which necessitates user verification through two distinct communication channels. In this situation, one factor is sent over an Ethernet network, while another is sent over a 4G network. Separating the channels will increase security. Utilizing “deep voice detection” technology, which can identify voices produced by AI, is another option. Due to the expense of putting them into practice, however, their use is still restricted.

Therefore, it’s critical to be aware that 2FA and, to a lesser extent, MFA are vulnerable to highly advanced cyberattacks. However, having a second authentication factor even a weak one does not increase the vulnerability compared to just having a single factor. As a result, these authentication techniques are still effective at thwarting the most common cyberattacks.

Organizations must implement two-factor authentication properly to maintain the company’s high level of access security. Expanding communication channels and adding a third or fourth authentication factor for groups like system administrators and other corporate VIPs can further reduce authentication vulnerabilities. As is frequently the case, everything comes down to risk management and the investment required to lower it.

For more such updates follow us on Google News ITsecuritywire News. Please subscribe to our Newsletter for more updates.