Playing The Access Game Using Multi Factor Authentication

Written by Adam Foster

25th September 2019
When it comes to gaining access to your accounts we have to play the access game, proving who you are, where you’re from and what you had for lunch three weeks yesterday. Proving your identity is there for the right reasons, after all you would not want the wrong people getting access to things like you bank account, your trade secrets or all those selfies that didn’t quite make the cut for Instagram. Passwords have been the historical go to security method and still have their place. We’re now seeing the adoption of using newer tech to prove who we are. Bio authentication uses things such as your fingerprint, you eye or even your face as the key to unlock your digital kingdom, tech that is readily available in flagship mobile phones. When it comes to accessing your digital treasure trove, there are 3 main areas that will either work independently or can be clubbed together to provide a layered approach to access. First of all, we have the well-known password, which is something you (hopefully) know. Second, is all about something you have. An ever-changing access code that you have with you makes things a bit harder to guess. Third, we have something you are, your biological self. By taking the unique data of what makes you, well, you, it provides an extra layer of security. When using bio authentication, it does mean that you are in a strong position to prove yourself…or your identical twin. Admittedly the spy game does make this form of authentication a bit more gruesome if the movies are to go by, but it does raise a valid point. The security methods of using yourself as your entry does reaffirm the need of stringent security measures for the people who hold your bio data. Ultimately it is easy to change your password, not so easy to change you. Mixing and matching the three forms of authentication discussed above provides layers to access. This approach is called Multi Factor Authentication and basically means you have to prove your identity in more than one way. Passwords are a well-known practice for access so adding in a second layer of the “something you have” is now strongly advised if not mandatory by security conscious companies and providers. Consider that someone else may know the password of your account or at least be able to use techie skills to get to know it. This leaves us all in a vulnerable state, especially in a digital world where a lot of our data is held with service providers that can grant you access from all over the world. By adding in an additional layer of a constantly changing code you won’t be granted access into the account with just a password. These codes can be generated in a number of ways from text message, email, a physical token or by a mobile app. This security net is why MFA is now widely used and though some may see the extra step as a hindrance, the overall result is that your account and data is more secure. Plenty of statistics are available to show the damage data breaches have already caused. Cyber crime is the fastest growing type of crime and is now more profitable than drug related crimes. While is is easy to think that we are not a target, in fact we all are, and it is our duty to protect ourselves. For further information on data security and ways to keep yourself protected online check out our blog posts or contact our team for a chat.

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