Why You Should Use MFA

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.

The Problem With Passwords

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.

How Can You Enhance Your Password Security?

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:

  • Something you have: Includes a mobile phone, app, or generated code
  • Something you know: A family member’s name, city of birth, pin, or phrase
  • Something you are: Includes fingerprints and facial recognition

An MFA solution offers a range of key benefits to modern business which help to increase security without affecting the user experience:

  • Bring Your Own Device: In today’s modern business world, more and more employees prefer to do at least some of their work through their mobile devices, which can present a serious security risk. However, with an MFA solution, you can enroll new employee devices in minutes, given that there’s no need to install an endpoint agent.
  • Convenient Flexibility: An MFA solution won’t force you to apply the same security policies to every user in the company. Instead, you are given the capability to specify policies person by person or group by group.

How Does A Multi-Factor Authentication Solution Work?

  • User logs into the session with primary credentials.
  • The session host validates credentials with Active Directory.
  • Then, it sends credential validation to the cloud via the login app.
  • The MFA client sends its secondary authentication to the user. User approves.
  • The MFA client sends approval back to the session host via the login app.
  • The user accesses their session very securely.

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.

How To Enable MFA On Amazon

  1. Go to “Advanced Security Settings”.
  2. Click “Get Started” to set-up Two-Step Verification.
  3. Add your primary phone number or download an authenticator app.
  4. Click “Send code”.
  5. Enter the code that was sent to your phone number or generated through the authenticator app and click “Verify” code and continue.

How To Enable MFA On Your Banking Website

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:

  1. Select “Profile & Settings” in the top left-hand corner.
  2. Click “Manage SafePass”.
  3. Click “Add SafePass”.
  4. Follow the on-screen steps.

How To Enable MFA On Your Personal Email

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:

  1. Open your Google Account.
  2. In the navigation panel, select “Security”.
  3. Under “Signing in to Google,” select 2-Step Verification and then Get started.
  4. Follow the on-screen steps.

Why Is MFA So Popular?

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?

Set up Using MFA Doesn’t Mean You Can Use Weak Passwords

Keep in mind that using MFA doesn’t give you the right to use weak passwords — even though so many users do.

57% of people who have already been scammed in phishing attacks still haven’t changed their passwords, and 71% of accounts are protected by passwords used on multiple websites.

Even with MFA, you need to be sure your passwords are strong and complex. Here are two tips for doing so:

    • Length and Complexity: Keep in mind that the easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to figure it out. That’s why short and simple passwords are so common – users worry about forgetting them, so they make them too easy to remember, which presents an easy target for hackers.
    • Numbers, Case, and Symbols: Another factor in the password’s complexity is whether or not it incorporates numbers, cases, and symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols in order to increase the complexity.
    • Pattern and Sequences: Like the other common mistakes, many people use patterns as passwords in order to better remember them, but again, that makes the password really easy to guess. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty”, etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.
  • Manage Your Passwords: You don’t have to worry about remembering complex passwords so long as you manage them properly.
  • Update Your Passwords: Change your passwords on a regular basis. It’s as simple as that, like spring cleaning.
  • Use A Password Manager: A password manager generates, keeps track of, and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers, and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option. Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher.

Need Help With MFA?

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.

I have a strong passion for helping Ottawa Businesses, Entrepreneurs and professionals to become more productive and successful while allowing them to feel at ease and secure when it comes to their Information Technology needs. As the President of Fuelled Networks since 1998, I specialize in providing no-nonsense flawless and prompt technical support to Ottawa businesses, with in-depth consulting on Fortinet, Microsoft, Microsoft Cloud Stack and security. I strive to help businesses to succeed and take great pride in building long-lasting positive relationships and taking on a strong leadership role within the Ottawa community.

Published On: 17th August 2021 by Ernie Sherman.