Multi-Factor Authentication

How does Multi-Factor Authentication work?

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is nothing but an authentication method, which requires the users to make use of a minimum of two different verification factors to prove their identities, only after which they enjoy access to a website, mobile application, or some other kind of online resource. Thus, in case a specific parameter is either compromised or becomes non-functional, the attacker must still go through another barrier before they can actually access the account of the target. The majority of multi-factor authentication executions use a minimum of two authentication factors.

Authentication Factors

  • Something the user knows.
    Typically, this is a password, PIN, or some question that has a corresponding answer. For satisfying this specific technology, the user is required to enter the required information, and the backend will then match this input against data that was either set up or stored previously.
  • Something the user has
    Prior to the invention of smartphones, users were required to carry around tokens or smartcards. A one-time passcode (OTP) would be generated by these devices, which users could type into the backend system. However, in the modern world, smartphones are used by users as the device is capable of generating such codes and even enables users to type their one-time passcode.
  • Something the user is.
    This involves several aspects such as fingerprints, retina scans, facial recognition, voice recognition, or even behavior of the user, which may include their typing speed or anything else that is specific to a user.

For multi-factor authentication, it is important for a minimum of two different technologies from two different technology groups to be used during the process. Consequently, the use of a PIN along with a password is technically not multi-factor authentication. Alternatively, the use of a PIN and facial recognition will work. Companies can also make use of more than two kinds of authentication. Do note that the majority of users want authentication that is devoid of friction, which is essentially the need to be verified without an actual process.

The Difference Between Two-factor and Multi-factor Authentication

It is very easy to understand the difference between multi-factor authentication and two-factor authentication. An authentication solution is considered to be two-factor authentication if the users are asked to present two different authentication factors, such as who they are and what they have before they are authorized.
On the other hand, the multi-factor authentication process is more elaborate as it requires the company to make use of two or more factors during the authentication process.

Advantages of Multi-factor Authentication

Advantages of Multi-factor organizations can enjoy many advantages, such as:

  • Enhanced Security
    With multi-factor authentication, there is improved security when it comes to static passwords as well as single-factor authentication processes.
  • Compliance
    With the help of multi-factor authentication, companies can adhere to their industry regulations.
  • Better Flexibility and Productivity
    The overall customer experience is enhanced when people no longer depend on passwords. Through the use of low-friction authentication challenges, companies can exhibit better security and enhance the user experience.

What Are the Types of Multi-factor Authentication Technologies?

  • Hardware tokens
    These are small hardware devices that are carried by an owner and helps them authorize access to a specific network service. These tokens use one-time passwords to ensure strong authentication. As they come with the possession factor, they can be used for multi-factor authentication and are also effective when it comes to securing banks and assisting application providers who must secure several applications using a single device.
  • Soft tokens:
    With Software or “app-based tokens,” a one-time use login PIN is generated. Typically, these tokens are leveraged to facilitate multi-factor authentication, wherein the smartphone is what ensures the possession factor.
  • SMS Text-Message and Voice 2FA:
    With SMS-text messages and voice 2FA, one-time passwords are generated so the user can authenticate. Either a voice message or an SMS-text message is sent to the mobile device of the user.
  • Push Notification:
    With push notifications, the authentication code or one-time password is delivered through a push notification on the mobile device of the user.
  • Visual Cryptogram:
    Visual Cryptogram MFA solutions make use of a unique visual challenge that involves a graphical cryptogram, which displays a matrix of colored dots. The customer makes use of the camera present on their mobile device so they can click pictures of the cryptogram and decrypt the details of the transaction that is present in it.
  • Mobile authentication:
    Mobile authentication involves a process wherein a user is verified using their phone, or in some cases, the device itself is verified, which permits the users to log into secure locations and enjoy access to resources remotely without compromising the security.
  • Biometric authentication:
    This includes different factors such as the use of a fingerprint scan or facial recognition so that the users are authenticated accurately and in a secure manner, and includes behavioral authentication wherein end-users are consistently authenticated based on the unique ways in which they interact with their devices, such as swipe patters or keystrokes.

Why Do I Need Multi-Factor Authentication?

When compared to single-factor methods, the use of multiple factors makes the authentication process more secure. Therefore, multi-factor authentication methods that are designed and implemented properly tend to be more reliable and work better against cyber criminals when compared to single-factor username/password user authentication. The latter is more prone to data breaches, which could cause significant damage to the company in the form of lost/stolen data, identity theft, and phishing attacks, etc.

In the case of multi-factor authentication, users are required to prove their identities through the use of two or more verification methods. Thus, even after the compromise of one factor, the attacker is still required to break another barrier.

Where can I use MFA?

A multi-factor authentication is a tool that must be used when sensitive data is being accessed. For instance:

  • When your bank account is being accessed at an ATM, MFA is used as the pin is something you know and the ATM card is something you have.
  • Each time you open your Facebook, Google, or Microsoft account using a new device, multi-factor authentication is used as the password is something you know, and your mobile phone is something you have, which receives the notification that must be approved before you are permitted to login.
  • With effective multi-factor authentication (MFA), you are more secure when you access the features offered by a service provider.

How do I Begin Multi-Factor Authentication?

With multi-factor authentication solutions offered by Eonia solutions, you can rest assured that your accounts and transactions are being safeguarded as we offer two or three factors of security, as we continue to satisfy users by merely demanding a simple sign-in process. Our team has spent a lot of time developing this simple, scalable, and dependable solution that will help ensure strong authentication with several easy verification options, including color QR codes and Bluetooth. Some of the other methods are:

  • Software authentication
  • Mobile authenticators
  • SMS delivery
  • Hardware authentication
  • USB authenticators
  • Smart card readers
  • Biometric authentication
  • Push Notification
  • Cronto