Protecting your company from cyber threats is a constant battle. Thieves are always developing new tactics to illegally gain access to your valuable information. One of the latest involves defeating multi-factor authentication through spam attacks. Thankfully, Microsoft Authenticator is offering new ways to prevent these hacking efforts from compromising your security.
What Is Microsoft Authenticator?
If you're not familiar with Authenticator, it is helpful to explore using this app for your organization. It offers extra security by using two-step verification, or multi-factor authentication, to make sure every sign-in attempt on your network is legit.
When a user tries to log in to an app or system that is set up with Authenticator, they are required to complete an additional action to gain access. That action could be confirming the login on a separate and secure device or entering a code sent to a predetermined account.
This adds an extra layer of security because no one can log in without the combination of actions. Most hackers won't have access to both your login credentials and the phone you use to confirm the login.
What Are Multi-Factor Authentication Spam Attacks?
Hackers are always coming up with new strategies to get around security efforts. One of the latest attempts involves spam attacks. Sometimes called "multi-factor authentication fatigue" or "MFA push spam" attacks, these tactics take advantage of passive multi-authentication systems in the hopes of getting the user to make a mistake.
Many two-factor authentication programs rely on push notifications on cell phones. A user gets a simple drop-down notification and is asked to confirm or deny the login attempt with a simple tap. While this is convenient, the team behind Microsoft Authenticator knows it creates vulnerability thanks to the chance of human error.
In a spam attack, a hacker attempts nonstop logins with your credentials, sending repeated push messages to your phone. The goal is that as you are clearing the notifications, you hit "approve", either because you aren't paying careful attention or because the notifications are coming in so rapidly that you tap the wrong option in the process of trying to stop the messages.
Once that happens, the hacker gains access to the account and can begin to do damage. They can access sensitive information and change the credentials of the user they've taken control of, locking the real person out of their account and complicating the process of securing it. Any data that is not backed up could be lost.
What Is Microsoft Authenticator Doing To Protect You?
To fight these types of attacks that take advantage of simple authentication techniques, Authenticator is offering more layers of security. Because the effectiveness of these attacks relies on the ability to approve a login with just a tap or two and no real thought, Authenticator now makes sure users have to do more to gain access.
The number matching feature is one way to prevent breaches. When you try to log on to a web app or into a protected system, you enter your credentials and then see a two-digit number. Your secondary verification device will then prompt you to enter that number to continue the login.
If you didn't initiate this process, you won't know the number. Even if you open the two-factor notification, you can't complete it. This means there is no way for you to accidentally approve access for a hacker.
Number matching is also an improvement over codes that are sent to a phone to be entered on a login page. With that method, there is still a chance a hacker could generate a code that works. It's a slim risk, but number matching eliminates the chances by reversing the input process.
Microsoft Authenticator also offers additional context features to make sure you are aware of the details of a login. Instead of a notification that just asks if you would like to approve access, you can get a display with details about where your credentials are being used.
The system will try to use the IP address that the login is originating from to display a map that shows where the activity is happening. The goal is to make the user pay attention and take note of any unusual locations that show up. For instance, if you are in California and a login attempt with your credentials happens in Florida, you have good reason to be suspicious.
Additional context will also show what app or device is initiating the login. That offers another clue as to the validity of the login. If you see an app or device that you've never used, contact your security team.
Use Microsoft Authenticator To Improve Cyber Security
With evolving cyber threats in the world, your company's security can't wait. If you've already started taking steps to protect yourself and your employees with multi-factor authentication, then you are on the right path. However, you can't stop there. Someone is always plotting new ways to get past your security, so you have to stay aware of their tactics and embrace opportunities to increase safeguards.
Microsoft Authenticator is an effective and easy-to-implement way to beef up your cyber security. By involving your company's users more heavily in the authentication process, you can increase the chances that any attempts to breach your systems will be blocked before a hacker can infiltrate your network. Get in touch with Cloudficient to learn more ways to protect your organization.
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