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Why Authentication is Weak with a Single Factor

Posted on August 1, 2018

Today there is a heightened awareness that credentials are perhaps the most valuable digital asset because they are a conduit to confidential information and systems. The right set of credentials are the electronic keys to the digital kingdom. Not only have hackers changed their methods, but users have gained a reputation for favouring productivity and convenience over security. In other words, they don’t always make the best choices when it comes to their credentials. According to a report from TeleSign, 73% of online accounts are guarded by duplicated passwords and 54% of people use 5 or fewer passwords across their entire online life. To make things even worse, the top 5 most used passwords in 2017 were the following:

  1. 123456
  2. Password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345

Clearly, IT admins have their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping their environment secure.

Increase Security with Multi-Factor Authentication

To help guide users toward making better choices, IT organisations have employed a couple tools. One of them is enforcing more stringent passwords by utilising password complexity management solutions. This forces users to add in characters, numbers, and uppercase letters to strengthen their passwords or just lengthen them. However, one of the strongest defences IT admins have started to leverage is second factor or multi factor authentication. Generally, passwords are considered something that you know. By adding a second factor – something that you have – it is much harder to compromise an account because both are required to gain access.

The desire to increase security is what is driving the growth of the identity management category multi-factor authentication. With the advent of smartphones, the process to leverage MFA technology has become easier than ever. Historically, security technology has been difficult to implement and use. Now, though, MFA has become nearly ubiquitous.

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