Why multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become a necessity today
In the competitive global market, continuous advancement of smart devices and related activities has increased. Hence, people are giving up and sharing a lot of their personal and professional security details.
The traditional authentication systems work as a sender identifies himself/herself through a password-generated system, and the system thus validates his/her identity whilst making sure s/he is the legitimate owner of the system.
However, this traditional process is no longer appreciated because of the ongoing cyber-security risks, and that a single password can no longer be used as the only validation the user can depend on from an information technology perspective.
Primarily, single-factor authentication (SFA) was mostly adopted due to its simplicity and user-friendliness, where the user can simply log in to his/her accounts by providing a password (PIN) against his/her user ID. Though it was simple in managing, this was considered to be one of the weakest levels of authentication.
To increase the security base, later two-factor authentication (2FA) was adopted as a rescuer to deal with the risks that SFA could not provide. With 2FA, after receiving a username and password, the site then sends the user a unique one-time passcode (OTP) via text messaging or automatically calling and verbally delivering the 2FA code to the user.
Later, multi-factor authentication (MFA) was introduced as a higher and advanced level of security measure. MFA is a trusted security method that requires verification from non-related credentials to authenticate user identity for login or transaction purposes.
MFA incorporates several independent credentials: Password, security token, and biometric verification. Before logging in, the users are required to access MFA codes (one-time passwords (OTP)) sent via email or text and then a biometric verification such as a face ID or fingerprint scan. MFA is used to create a layered defense for disabling a cyber perpetrator to access a software target such as its computing device, database, and network.
Why MFA is needed in today’s competitive world
MFA prevents the “foothold” compromise that provides the superusers with access and privileges to the entire system environment. If implemented correctly, it can prevent most threat actors from easily gaining an initial foothold into software products, even if credentials and license keys are compromised.
MFA is now being ubiquitously used in banking, gaming, social media, and related transactions and communications. While many users are concerned about their biometrics, if the biometrics are properly implemented, it will not only save personal and professional privacy but also will make sure that this crucial information does not end up in the wrong hands.
Sumaiya Noor is a development sector research professional. Her areas of interests include RMG Automation, Energy & Environment, Green Finance, and Sustainable Development. She can be reached at [email protected]