Dev Security: Authentication Is More Important Than Ever in 2017
A high-level look at the differences in levels of authentication, from single to multi-factor.
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In this digital world, hackers reign supreme. Sad fact but true nonetheless. New technologies and companies being too frugal with their security budgets has concocted the perfect storm for more sophisticated threat mechanisms. In turn, this made cyber security a necessity =. Governments and companies have finally acknowledged its importance and started pouring big bucks into data protection. The increased funding has led to better and more efficient authentication trends.
According to Gartner, “user authentication” is the real time corroboration of a person’s claimed digital identity with an implied or notional level of trust. The three main authentication methods are single factor authentication (password mediated), two-factor authentication, and multi-factor authentication.
Single Factor Authentication (SFA)
It’s only natural that in such a fast-paced environment, what used to work 55 years ago is not sufficient anymore. Passwords are indeed the weakest link in the security chain. For starters, people use very weak passwords. If you are the kind who uses the word “password” as your security log-in, no offense but you deserve to be hacked. Then there’s the tendency to use the same password for more than one account.
We are at the age where a run of the mill password will simply not cut it. In 2017 we expect a good number of websites to switch to more secure log-in mechanisms. The traditional passwords will be increasingly oriented towards a more biometric approach.
Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
This is basically an upgrade to the traditional password-based authentication. The second tier of security has been added to the log-in process. It has been around for quite some time now but it wasn’t noticed by users as such: a different authentication system.
One of the most common forms of two-factor authentication is SMS-based as it is largely used by most financial institutions. The ease of switching from password authentication to 2FA has been a major contributor to its new found popularity. Major companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook have already implemented it. As 2FA will gain more traction in terms of implementation, vulnerabilities will be eliminated; the number of companies to use will increase in 2017.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
MFA creates a layered defense system that makes it harder for hackers to break in. They will have to hack all the independent credentials:
- Something the user knows (password)
- Something the user has (security tokens)
- Something the user is (biometric verification)
Albeit the Google searches for the term “Multi-factor authentication” didn’t see an abrupt increase as in the case of 2FA, it sees a steady rhythmic evolution. A report released by Markets And Markets reveals that the market for MFA is projected to surpass $9.6 billion.
Besides the high level of security, multi-factor authentication allows a certain degree of flexibility. The company will be able to set the desired level of security depending on its user’s profile and needs.
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