What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-Factor Authentication

Nowadays, everything in our life is dependent upon technology. We prefer to secure our essential information in our computers, laptops, and mobiles. We consider this a convenient and less time-taking way to ensure our information is always safe from the eyes of competitors and hackers.

With time, technologies are revolutionizing, but the number of illegal activities using these technologies is also growing. We often hear that someone’s data is stolen or someone’s account gets hacked.

This can cause significant loss in our life as it’s not easy to afford this if our personal or official information gets stolen. It may cause a loss in business too. Keeping this factor and providing security to data, a technology named multi-Factor authentication is being introduced.

What is Authentication?

Authentication is the method when you verify to the service that you are the one that you are saying. It happens whenever you are signing into your account. Traditionally username and password are considered enough for that. But unfortunately, in this global world, this provides a chance to hackers.

Username can be identified easily, as often it is the same as email. Some people prefer easy passwords or use the same passwords in every account, which provides an easy path to hackers.

Because of that reason, many companies are using a way that offers more protection to our data. That technology is named Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a security process in which a user has to provide multiple factors for authentication to prove his identity. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requires additional verification information; one of the most common factors is OTPs, (One-time passwords).

These are some digit codes that you may receive via email or SMS. Whenever an authentication request is submitted, a new code is generated.

Multi-Factor Authentication aims to create a robust defense system. MFA makes it difficult for unauthorized persons to access the information, ultimately providing security to data.

Multi-Factor Authentication vs. Two-Factor Authentication

When authentication techniques were introduced first, it was restricted to two features of security keys only to keep it simple as possible. This is called Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Users had to add two forms informing the system that they were authorized.  But unfortunately, this system can be easily hacked by unauthorized persons, which causes multi-Factor authentication.

Some users think that multi-Factor authentication is inconvenient because they must provide multiple information. That’s why some people consider it time taking too. But the fact is multi-Factor authentication is not complicated. It just includes two or more extra steps during the login process. We don’t have to pass the same process whenever we log in from the same device.

Methods of Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor authentication is usually based on one of these methods.

Things you know (Knowledge Factor):

Knowledge-based authentication requires a user to answer personal security questions, such as passwords.

Disadvantage:

Users may forget the knowledge, e.g., passwords, or if they are stored, it can be stolen.

Things you have (Possession Factor):

Possession Factors are also called Physical factors. It requires a token or certificate such as a USB (universal serial bus) or any portable device that can be used to generate code. People commonly use mobile phones as they are readily available. Virtual soft tokens (a piece of code stored in a way that effectively turns a device into a physical pass) can also be used.

Disadvantage:

Mobile phones can also be stolen; unauthorized persons can copy soft tokens.

Things you are (Inherence Factor):

Inherent-based authentication is the most advanced factor of Multi-factor Authentication. It includes retina or iris scan, fingerprint scan, voice authentication, hand geometry, facial recognition, or digital signals scanners. This factor is most reliable than others because inherent characteristics are relatively unique, secure, and always present.

Location-based Authentication:

As we can carry our phones everywhere and nowadays, every phone has GPS (Global positioning system), it also eases the authentication burden. This factor provides credible confirmation about login location.

Time-based Authentication:

Their presence can also detect a person’s identity at a specific time of the day. Such as a person is unable to use an ATM card physically in the US and then in France 15 Minutes later. This can be used to prevent online bank fraud.

Advantages of Multi-Factor Authentication

Extra Defense:

Multi-Factor authentication adds the extra defense layers at hardware, software, and IDs.

Enhances the security:

Multi – Factors authentication enhances organization security by reducing security breaches

Easy for users:

Users can easily set up Multi-Factor Authentication.

Affordable in cost:

Multi-Factor Authentication is also available at an affordable cost for small businesses.

The trust of Customers:

Multi-Factor Authentication provides extra security, which ultimately causes an increase in the trust of customers.

Simplifications in Multi-Factor Authentication Techniques

Serval strategies are being used to simplify the multi-Factor authentication techniques for users.

Adaptive Multi-Factor authentication:

It is also called Risk-based authentication. It applies information, business rules, or strategies to user-based factors, such as devices or locations. For example, a system knows that it is okay for a user to sign in from the place he entered before because it sees its location and can assume the risk of unauthorized access. But a user who accesses the system from another site will activate the system and be required to enter multi-Factor authentication information.

Single Sign-on Authentication Technique:

This authentication system organizes the user information and then shares this information with every application that requires that information. This authentication technique allows the system to automatically log the user into multiple applications.

Push-based Authentication:

The security system automatically issues a third, single-use identification code to the user’s device in this authentication technique. This is an automatic authentication technique. Users need to push that notification, and the system gets provided with code. This authentication technique eliminates the need for memorization of code.

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