When you set up a password for your account, despite being vigilant and following the best practices of setting a password – use of upper cases, lower cases, numbers, and special characters, etc. can you be sure that your account will never be compromised?
Given how there are data breaches, phishing, and hacking attacks occurring every day, no matter what you do, there is always the possibility of your account being subject to a data breach.
The corporate employees, who use multiple digital identities to access sensitive data-base and customers’ information are most vulnerable to identity theft.
For instance, Anthem Inc, a renowned health insurance provider became a victim of identity theft; the hackers implemented a phishing campaign that compromised multiple C-level executives’ accounts. Since executives did not use additional authentication mechanisms, hackers got to access the entire data warehouse and more than 80 million customers’ records.
Details such as full names, physical addresses, email addresses, social security numbers, insurance membership numbers, medical IDs were exposed. Eventually, Anthem Inc incurred significant costs related to the data breach – $2.5 million to engage expert consultants, $115 million for the implementation of security improvements, $31 million to provide initial notification to the public and affected individuals; and $112 million to provide credit protection to breach-impacted consumers.
This incident confirms that merely having a strong, complex password would not suffice; it is time we start opting for additional authentication mechanisms, and what better than Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-Factor Authentication – What is it?
Multi-Factor Authentication is a validation technique wherein more than two independent credentials are verified via biometrics, E-mail/SMS OTP, security questions, soft-tokens, etc. before granting access to applications.
As you authenticate your identity multiple times in different ways, you go on to add an extra layer of security to your credentials that prevent unauthorized access. A hacker can decode a password, but with MFA, he has multiple barriers to breach before he breaks into access.
Let’s break MFA down a little more and understand how it works.
How does Multi-Factor Authentication Work?
MFA combines more than two of the below factors to form an authentication mechanism.
1. Knowledge factor – Something the user and only the user knows, like the childhood pet’s name, the street he grew up in, etc.
2. Possession factor – Something the user and only the user has in his possession such as a token, ID, etc.
3. Inherent Factor – Something the user and only the user is, for instance, fingerprints, face recognition, etc.
It only takes a few seconds to authenticate your identity via MFA, but the process reduces the incidence of Identity theft significantly.
The importance of MFA is not only restricted to providing optimal security to digital identities, it also has the following benefits:
1. Improves Fraud Detection
A hacker can decipher your password and accesses your application, there are chances of such an unauthorized access being unnoticed for quite a long time.
However, with MFA techniques such as OTP, biometrics, soft tokens, etc. not only is it impossible for the hacker to get access, if there are multiple login attempts, the user is notified about the same. Therefore, with MFA, fraud detection happens quickly, and action against such unauthorized access can be taken before it is too late.
2. Eases the Login Process
Most employees today have access to multiple applications, and they must take some time out, daily to login to all of these applications. Therefore, once the identity is verified via MFA, they can easily sign in to their access without having to authenticate their identity again and again.
For instance, as a user of the Office suite logs in with MFA for their first use of an app, then onwards, they will have instant access to all the Office suite applications covered by the single sign-on software.
3. Enhances Employee Productivity
Once the login process is streamlined, and the employees no longer must remember multiple passwords, it significantly reduces their dependencies on the help-desk for password updates and reset, thereby increasing their productivity.
Also, when employees know that their accesses are secure, they can focus on their work and not worry about their hard-work being hacked away due to identity theft.
An article by DAV management states, “Organizations can and should make better use of existing technology and procedures such as multi-factor authentication, or 2FA, which requires not only a password and username but also something that only that user has access to, such as a smart keypad.”
4. Helps Build Better Business Relations
Every business would like to transact with a company that gives topmost priority to security. Companies that adopt the new techniques in securing the customers’ data establishes itself as a good brand.
Therefore, when a business is certain that your company is seldom subject to breaches, and hacks, they assume their data is safe with you. Such trust is extremely important in building your goodwill.
Protect your Digital Identity with Ilantus
It is certain that following the basic protocols of securing digital identities and setting up complex passwords is not the answer to reduce identity theft and we understand this.
Our solution – Xpress Password offers enterprise-class password management service secured with MFA options such as Challenge-Response Questions, SMS OTP, Email OTP, Third-Party Soft-Token Apps, and Biometric Integration.
Drop-in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and know more about mitigating identity theft with MFA.