Multi-factor authentication ("MFA") is one of the most effective cybersecurity measures organizations can implement to protect their teams from modern cyber-attack strategies. News-making attacks, such as the Colonial Pipeline hack, as well as the thousands of other attacks that don't make the news, all could have been thwarted by simply implementing MFA.
MFA is a relatively simple idea. When you log in to an MFA-protected account from a new device, in addition to providing your typical username and password, you are also prompted for a "one-time passcode" from your smartphone. This simple measure and extra step mean that if an attacker happens to capture your username and password, they still need physical possession of your smartphone in order to log in to your account.
What is happening today
In 2017, Facebook experienced one of the largest data breaches in history, leaking the usernames and passwords of nearly all its users. Recently, the contents of the Facebook data breach were released on the dark web for free. Eager to exploit this available data, malicious organizations launched massive cyber-attack campaigns targeting users who were affected; but not in the way you would expect.
As creatures of habit, many people use the same password for their Facebook account as many other accounts. Threat actors know this and try to capitalize on this insecure practice. Using social engineering techniques, threat actors will determine what company an individual works for and what email system the company uses. Then, they will use the leaked passwords to log in as the user. Once they've gained access to the account, they will typically launch an email phishing campaign to all of the individual's contacts in an attempt to gain access to more accounts, spoof a person of influence, and ultimately trick people into initiating financial transactions to the attacker.
It's not just Facebook. Most major data breaches of widely-used services are intended to gather this same information and execute similar cyber-attach strategies. MFA, however, is unbelievably effective at preventing such attacks. Once again, even if the user's password has been exposed in a breach, and they use that same password for something like their company email, the threat actor cannot log into their account without the temporary passcode from the user's smartphone.
Although MFA is just one of many critical layers of a business's cybersecurity strategy, it is one of the most effective defenses against today's cyber-attacks. MFA is no longer an important measure just for technology administrators. It is essential that all employees in an organization use MFA to protect their accounts, regardless of their role or influence.
Contact Us today to learn more about protecting your organization with MFA!