Maintaining strong and complex passwords may sound easy in theory, but in reality, most users opt for easy-to-remember passwords instead. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a great way to overcome the users’ resistance to maintaining strong passwords, while still ensuring adequate standards of cybersecurity.
Even though passwords are the most direct way to access a user’s private information, most passwords in use today are simply not strong or complex enough. Passwords protect email accounts, banking information, private documents, administrator rights, and more — and yet, user after user and business after business continue to make critical errors when it comes to choosing and protecting their passwords.
A recent report showed that 86% of more than 2 million breached passwords were identical to passwords that had already been breached. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s all being exaggerated to get your attention. If anything, there are too many data breaches for the news to keep up with.
In the end, creating and using strong passwords can be frustrating — the more secure they are, the more difficult they are to remember. The more memorable they are, the greater threat they pose to the business.
MFA is a superior way to keep your data more secure — after all, it blocks 99.9% of identity-based attacks.
MFA requires the user to utilize two methods to confirm that they are the rightful account owner. There are three categories of information that can be used in this process:
An MFA solution offers a range of key benefits to modern business which help to increase security without affecting the user experience:
How Does A Multi-Factor Authentication Solution Work?
Though MFA does make it harder for the account owner to access the account, it also makes it more difficult for cyber thieves to learn your password. Their job becomes much tougher because they now need to do more than just hack your password. They’ll need personal information about the account owner.
With so many accounts being too easy to break into, hackers are more likely to just move on instead of trying to break through the multiple-factor authentication process. That’s why you should have MFA enabled on any accounts that deal with your financial information or private data.
Every major banking service in the country offers or automatically enforces some form of MFA. While the specifics will differ slightly from one bank to another, you should find the option under your account settings in the security menu.
For example, you can enable MFA on Bank of America accounts by following these steps:
Similar to banking sites, whatever email service you use almost certainly offers an MFA feature. For example, with Gmail, follow these steps to set up MFA:
If you’ve hesitated to enable MFA for your accounts because it seems too complicated or too fiddly for everyday use, you should know that the benefits greatly outstrip the perceived annoyance.
The protection that MFA adds allows you to use your passwords for a longer length of time between password resets, and in the event that your service provider is compromised and your email and password end up in an open database on the open web, you will have time to change your password before your individual account is compromised.
You may not need MFA for every account you use—but for your email accounts, financial services, and work-related accounts, if MFA is an option, you should enable it. If it’s not an option, you should ask yourself, and perhaps the service itself, why you would keep using a service that doesn’t offer an easy step to keep your data secure?
Keep in mind that using MFA doesn’t give you the right to use weak passwords — even though so many users do.
Even with MFA, you need to be sure your passwords are strong and complex. Here are two tips for doing so:
If you’re unsure about how to implement a multi-factor authentication solution, don’t try to handle it all on your own. Fuelled Networks will help you evaluate your password practices and security measures as a whole to make sure you’re not taking on any unnecessary risks.