Concept of cyber security with multi-factor authentication

The Importance of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)



Adding an extra step to your access process helps protect your data


What is Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a robust security measure that provides an additional layer of protection to safeguard sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.

In today’s digital society, where cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, relying solely on PINs or passwords is no longer safe. MFA combines multiple authentication factors, such as something you know (basic password), something you have (token or smartphone), and something you are (biometric data), to verify the identity of users. By requiring multiple factors, MFA significantly reduces the risk of identity theft, unauthorized account access, and data breaches, making MFA an essential tool for any small business (or individual) seeking to enhance their security posture.

How does MFA work?
MFA operates on the principle of combining multiple authentication factors to verify the identity of each user. When a user attempts to access a system or application, they are prompted to provide additional factors to authenticate themselves. These factors typically fall into three categories:
  • Something you know: This would be the most basic and common form such as something you store in your brain (e.g., a password, an answer to a security question, or a personal identification number).
  • Something you have: This refers to something that you physically carry with you (e.g., your cell phone to receive a text message or a random 6-digit code).
  • Something you are: This is a physical characteristic that only you and no one else has. That includes your fingerprint, thumbprint, palm, handprint, retina, voice, or face.
To begin the authentication process, the users usually provide their primary factor first, which is typically a password. Once the password has been entered into the system, the system then prompts the user to provide additional factors to the authentication process. This could involve entering a one-time passcode generated by a mobile application, scanning a fingerprint, or providing a voice sample.

The system then compares the factors against internal pre-registered data to determine the legitimacy of the user’s identity. If all the factors match, the user is then granted access to the permitted system. However, if any of the factors fail, access is denied. The user may be prompted to retry or attempt a different authentication method.

What are the perks with using MFA?
  • Enhances Security
  • Reduces risk from compromised passwords
  • Provides a customizable security solution
  • Offers compatibility with single sign-on
  • Provides scalabality for changing user bases
  • Satisfies regulatory compliance
  • Enables enterprise mobility
  • Offers adaptability for different use cases
Ultimately, by requiring multiple factors, MFA significantly enhances security by making it much more difficult for attackers to impersonate authentic users. Even if one factor is compromised, the additional factors act as a backup. This makes it much more difficult for attackers to gain access even if they obtain your password, ensuring that unauthorized individuals cannot gain access to sensitive information. MFA is one of many key components for keeping yourself cyber-secure.

Start using multi-factor authentication on all your accounts today!
Free MFA resources
  • Authy(Easy to operate, supports TOTP and has encrypted backups)
  • LastPass(Encrypted backups,push notification verification)
  • Google Authenticator(One of the very first multi-factor applications,still works great today)
  • Microsoft Authenticator(Can support one account on multiple devices, has backup and restore feature)

CALL OR EMAIL:


Richard Wolford
Software Engineer

814-262-6961
pa-cybersecurity@ctc.com

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