January 27, 2023

Worried about Data Security? Think beyond 2FA!

Worried about Data Security? Think beyond 2FA!

Why it is smart to start investing in the stock market?

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Should I be a trader to invest in the stock market?

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What app should I use to invest in the stock market?

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Is it risky to invest in the stock market? If so, how much?

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Tell us if you are already investing in the stock market

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The online world has been getting increasingly unsafe and dangerous with each passing day. With the advancement of technology and the rise of sophisticated AI-powered tools, hackers are becoming more creative and devious with their cyber attacks. In a scenario where passwords had become highly unreliable and required stronger augmentation, 2-Factor Authentication emerged as a powerful tool for safeguarding sensitive user information.

However, there has been a steady argument among developers and industry experts questioning the efficacy of 2-Factor authentication. Although 2-Factor Authentication parameters provide much more efficient security than passwords, is it truly a security panacea?

What Is 2-Factor Authentication?

2-Factor Authentication is a special category of authentication protocol that falls under the wide spectrum of “Multi-Factor Authentication”. 2-Factor Authentication enables users to leverage an additional layer of security in the form of Timed-OTPs, email or mobile phone verification, push notifications, security questions etc to provide a personalized form of protection and keep user information under wraps.

2-Factor Authentication utilizes a combination of two important aspects of a user’s identity to provide an added layer of security to the user account. The two aspects are as follows:

  • Something that the user knows: Passwords
  • Something that the user possesses: a trusted device (their smartphone) where they can receive an additional authentication code.

Once verified, a combination of these two parameters confirms the user's identity and grants them access to a specific website/ mobile application. 2-Factor Authentication is currently leveraged by various companies, including the banking sector to provide a superior form of security against any form of cyber theft and hacking attempts.

Security Threats Posed By 2-Factor Authentication

Although 2FA provides an additional layer of security, recent data has surfaced that points towards the fact that 2FA is not a foolproof mechanism and is still vulnerable to major man-in-the-middle attacks and phishing scams. Hackers have access to various sophisticated software and bots that allow them to retrieve 2FA codes and dupe users effortlessly. In a report by IndiaToday, it has been revealed that hackers use a plethora of bots to place calls and extract 2FA codes from users. Furthermore, these bots are also capable of intercepting SMS and are openly sold within the dark web hacking community. Hackers are known to use phishing tools like Oktapus, EvilProxy and OpenBullet to conduct a series of brute-force attacks and extract 2FA codes from users.

 A detailed study by FlashPoint reveals that over 245 million user information has been compromised globally in 2022. Further data from Maine Attorney General indicates that in the US alone, 9.4 million people have been affected by data breaches and phishing scams. These breaches can result in significant financial blows to companies. A detailed study by IBM and Ponemon Institute highlights that the global average cost of data breaches has gone up to $4.35, a 2.6% increase from the previous year. The financial losses accompanied by reputational damage that comes with data breaches can affect the growth of the company, resulting in the loss of several trusted clients.

2FA security breaches occur not only in the form of OTP attacks but also in the form of keylogging attacks, email phishing, and push notification scams. Hackers are also known to intercept SMS sent to users and gain access to the user's 2FA code. Push notifications are also easily hackable as one phone call or a single hack to the device's operating system can gain access to the verification codes received through notification. In this way, a user’s account as well as their device can be hacked without the user’s knowledge.

Weak security protocols are not just limited to private corporations and startups, in fact, government bodies are equally at risk of data breaches and guilty of gross negligence when it comes to data security. A report has been published by the Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Interiors that highlights the sheer negligence of the US government in protecting some of the most crucial information as well as employee credentials.  The report shows that over 14,000 accounts could be successfully hacked within the first 90 minutes of penetration testing. Although the implementation of 2FA has been mandated for all government officials, a majority of employees still don't use strong 2FA authentication mechanisms and implement easily guessable passwords like “Password1234”.

A culmination of all these reports and statistics unanimously point towards a singular conclusion: The online world is in dire need of a foolproof authentication alternative that goes beyond the conventional password and 2FA-based authentication mechanisms.

The Rise Of Passkeys: Passwordless Authentication

When the need for strong and secure existing authentication options becomes inevitable, FIDO Alliance, a global open network dedicated to improving the standardization of login procedures, designed and developed an authentication standard completely independent of passwords!

Backed by some of the biggest tech corporations like Google, Apple and Microsoft, FIDO’s digital credentials (also known as passkeys) pave the way for a fast, secure and friction-free authentication experience. Passkeys have been developed according to WebAuthn standards and work on the principle of Public Key Cryptography- a concept where a pair of cryptographic keys is generated and stored. While the Public key (such as the username) is stored within the website`s database and available across the internet, the Private key (such as the user’s biometric information) never leaves the user’s trusted device. 

Passkeys can be easily generated using alternative authentication parameters like Face ID, fingerprint, PINS, patterns or security tokens. Login through passkeys requires the public key and private key to be verified against each other as a match. Keeping that in sight, passkey-protected websites will be impenetrable to hackers as they won’t have access to the user’s private key. Passkeys are easily synced to the user’s iCloud keychain and can be accessed by multiple devices with end-to-end encryption. Additionally, with passkeys, users can log in within seconds, contributing to an unparalleled user experience. With all these crucial factors weighing in, it’s safe to say that Passwordless Authentication has the potential to become the security panacea within the online space.

SoundAuth | Leading Businesses towards a Passwordless Future

By the end of 2023, over 80% of devices will be compatible with passkeys. While companies will be swiftly switching to the password-free future, implementing passkeys in a completely secure and risk-free way can be challenging. Businesses might require spending tons of money and resources on the deployment of passkeys. Even after spending months on the code base, the success rate of the deployment may be low.

SoundAuth offers a revolutionary no-code/low-code passkey integration solution that can help businesses implement passkeys within minutes. No code bugs, no trial and error, and no high-risk deployment! Redirect your customer towards a secure and passwordless future within a day! Interested to know more and leverage our unique solution for your business? Sign up at SoundAuth.com and become a part of our community!

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