MFA Bypass: Five Techniques Attackers Use to Break Strong Security

MFA Bypass: Five Techniques Attackers Use to Break Strong Security

Hackers and cybercriminals are becoming more adept at getting through MFA. Organizations need to be aware of the methods attackers use to get around MFA systems for an attack.

Although multifactor authentication (MFA) provides a high level of security, phishers, scammers, and other malicious actors are highly motivated to find ways around it to steal valuable data. Hackers use MFA bypass techniques to circumvent the authentication system.

Discovering MFA Vulnerabilities

Cyber attackers often find MFA bypass opportunities by exploiting flaws and security gaps within organizations’ systems. Security teams need to make stringent checks for vulnerabilities in their MFA systems, to mitigate attacks. Many vulnerabilities surface due to attackers impersonating a website’s member login portal. In addition, attackers attempt to log in as members; it appears as a cyber-attack on multifactor authentication with no specific login codes.

And there are other ways attackers target MFA and its bypasses using advanced attacks.

Today’s organizations must be cautious of the broader impact and collateral damage to their IT systems. They should continue to test and retest business security processes to ensure they work correctly and secure incident response systems such as MFA or 2FA (2-factor authentication).

Most importantly, organizations and security leaders should also know cyber criminals’ techniques to break MFA systems. Below are the top five techniques attackers are using to bypass Multifactor Authentication. Even they can use these methods to avoid two-factor authentication security easily.

Cookie Hijacking

Cookie hijacking or session hijacking occurs when cyber attackers attack a user’s login session through a man-in-the-middle attack. Cookie hijacking plays an essential role in UX on website services.

When users log into an online account, cookies contain their authentication credentials. When hackers track those credentials, they quickly catch their session activities. Because cookies remain active until the user ends the session by logging out, that’s the best way to fight.

Cookie hijacking is possible when a website server doesn’t flag cookies as secure. If in case, cookies aren’t safe, then attackers can steal them and attack the logged-in session. Thus bypassing multifactor authentications applied on servers.

Consent Phishing

Many applications use open authorization (Oath). It provides limited access to users’ account data from the cloud applications. Through consent phishing, cyber attackers can pose legitimate OAuth login accounts and request to get different levels of access they need from a user in cloud applications. With these permissions, attackers can successfully attack multifactor authentication verification.

Millions of websites and applications rely on OAuth to operate. When a visitor or user signs in to access a website or app, an OAuth authorization exchange following the user login and consent, allows login. When a user provides login details or consent, the email addresses, contact information, documents, etc., can deliver data. The information shared is an open gate for cyber attackers, and they take advantage of a legitimate OAuth 2.0 authorization exchange, bypassing MFA.

Consent phishing also happens when attackers send phishing messages linked to malicious URL on mobile devices and offers authorization code. When shared, it directly takes attackers to penetrate the authorization wall to attack and takes down crucial information.

Brute Force Attacks

Cyber attackers carry out brute force attacks by trying to apply various combinations of passwords until they hit in the right way. These attacks’ ability to defeat MFA is due to simple password combinations. This includes a 4-digit PIN that is easier to crack than a complex alphanumeric combination.

Other than passwords, attackers use pictures of users to bypass multifactor authentication verification. They use users’ images for facial recognition, an additional factor aligned with MFA. In fact, in some cases, attackers find users’ fingerprints to bypass MFA verifications.

Exploiting Authorized MFA

Cyber attackers identify accounts in organizations that use public cloud environments. Organizations have seen more leveraging such cloud environments. Attacks are easier for accounts without multifactor authentication verifications, they attack quickly. Usually, attackers take advantage of legacy applications or cloud environments which do not support MFA credentials. This is when attackers bypass MFA, and cloud accounts compromise their security measures and capabilities.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is the most commonly used technique to bypass MFA verifications. The attackers trick users or organizations into revealing core information, becoming their weapon to attack devices, platforms, and networks. This way, the attacker successfully gains usernames and passwords and breaks the security walls of MFA.

A popular form of social engineering method is phishing. It is used to obtain authentication factors. The attackers fabricate malware-infested links in the email to recipients. The link compromises crucial information and data that the attack may need from users or organizations.

Also Read: Protecting Enterprises from Black Hat Hackers

Continued Use of Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Even after cyber attackers circumvent MFA, organizations continue to emphasize its use due to the numerous benefits, capabilities, and robust security preventions it provides. Because of these enhanced security capabilities, MFA remains critical, and security chiefs prefer to use it for cybersecurity prevention. MFA is a good practice for organizations, and if its algorithms align with the business’s security requirements, organizations should invest in and use it.

If MFA is the strength of an organization’s security system, security leaders should understand how cyber attackers are preparing more advanced techniques to attack the core security system and how they are using the methods to attack. Security and IT professionals should work together to create a robust MFA system with effective detection technologies and processes.

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