MFA: What Is It, and Why Use It?

MFA has many benefits, but most people use it to prevent unauthorized logins. This security measure offers many layers of protection, such as locking access to devices after several failed login attempts or requiring that the password match a client’s PIN or other type of credentials.

What is MFA?

Multi-factor authentication, also known as MFA, refers to a security protocol requiring users to provide multiple pieces of evidence to log into a system successfully. This non-repudiation approach ensures that no one can access protected areas without authenticating their identity.

Generally, MFA means adding a second form of authentication unrelated and independent from the password—for example, a second code sent to a mobile phone or something physically separated from it. These credentials include the following:

⦁ Something you Already Know (user ID, password): MFA is a PIN or password. The system may also support multi-factor passwords—for example, a combination of letters and numbers only the user can access. This is often used on mobile apps as an extra security step because it prevents third-party users from finding their PIN code.

⦁ Something you Have (token or key fob): In this case, the MFA is a physical device that unlocks the door and works only for you. It’s also called a secret key (similar to a password) because it must be kept confidential. This is often used for access issues for banking and corporate systems.

⦁ Something you Are (biometric factor): MFA uses a physical trait or characteristic, such as facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, retinal scanning, voice identification, or social media authentication with fobs or smartwatches.

⦁ Time and Location Factors: The third party can request access to the IT system based on time, such as during a specific shift or from a particular location.

The Advantages of Using MFA

There are many advantages to using multi-factor authentication, including the following:

⦁ Increased security and access control: To log in, the user must have access to multiple systems. This applies even if a cybercriminal manages to compromise one of the systems. For example, this might include performing a successful spoofing attack on the company’s Wi-Fi or mobile phone, gathering information about the user, and exploiting it for financial gain.

⦁ Improves user experience: If users want to access protected areas, they need to confirm their identity using more than a password. This will discourage cyber criminals from trying to fake the identity of another user by using stolen credentials.

⦁ Reduces the number of victims: Reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud by adding an authentication factor that’s not part of the password. This means that even if a user’s password is compromised, a cybercriminal will not be able to access protected areas without a second factor of authentication.

⦁ Prevents vendor impersonation: If a vendor requests access to an internal system without adequate authentication credentials, this will cause problems for them in the future. The business should always require vendors to use a unique identity to access the system.

Bottom Line

MFA has significantly improved data security, privacy, and user experience. This is why many companies are beginning to implement MFA in their systems. Unfortunately, most users do not understand the benefits of multi-factor authentication and see it as a device they need to download on their phone or screen.

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