Kylie Addison Sabra
October 22, 2019
Multi-factor authentication? I’d rather be nibbled to death by ducks. I use it, but let’s face it, it can be a pain. Case in point. Last week, my phone burned up–literally. I have a blistered finger and a new paperweight to prove it. So, off to the store I ran because life without a phone smarter than me is something of long-distant fairy tales. A whole lot of time and money later I depart coddling my new tech baby. She is wrapped up in the latest technology. and encased in silicone, because it’s simply fact: I will drop her.
I walk into the office the next morning, new phone in hand. The first thing my boss notices is that I have not set up the lock screen. Now, in my defense, I’d only taken it out of the box late the previous night and there were no company apps on it yet. I even eschewed my usual commute via public transport that morning. So I figured chances were slim that someone would pry my ridiculously expensive, smarter-than-me phone from my cold, dead fingers. From the look on his face though, I realized he had entertained that very scenario.
Lock screen activated, with fingerprint, in under two minutes, complete with email confirmation to concerned boss. I received a thumbs up. I spent much of the rest of the day restoring apps, passwords and multi-factor authentication for everything. At the end of the day, I knew one thing for certain. I never wanted to go through that again.
Passwords Are Breakable
Multi-factor authentication is nothing new. You use it every time you type in your PIN when making a debit card purchase. There was a time when passwords were enough. Today’s cyber criminals, of any level of expertise, can easily defeat them. Experts strongly urge that we institute a second layer of security.
The PIN has been with us since Lloyd’s Bank issued the first debit card in 1972. We guard it like a mama bear watches over her cubs. Yet, we are reluctant to adopt additional security for our computer and phone apps. Oddly enough, these vehicles give access to the very accounts for which we guard those precious pieces of plastic.
We worry about identity theft and yet we use passwords that are far too simple and certainly not random. We incorporate everything we are told not to use: pet’s names, first born’s birth date, zip code . . .. And we justify. “There’s just so many accounts. I can’t possibly remember all those logins.” We keep it simple. No judgment here, but raise your hand if you’re using some variation of the same password on all of your accounts, or, the same password. “Hey. You in the back. With the red face, using 1234 as your password. I lied. I am laughing.”
Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Adding multi-factor authentication can be tedious, but the payoff is invaluable. Data breaches are on the rise, with the first quarter of 2019 showing a 54% increase in data breaches over the previous year and stacking up to be the worst year so far. According to Risk Based Securities Cyber Risk Analytics, 2019 Mid Year QuickView Data Breach Report, “3,813 breaches were reported through June 30, exposing over 4.1 billion records.”
One of the nation’s largest password management providers, in their Third Annual Global Password Security Report, estimates that 43% of cyber attacks are aimed straight at SMBs (small and medium businesses). Yet, only 27% use multi-factor authentication to protect themselves.
Am I annoyed when Amazon insists I put in my authentication code? Yes. Do I sleep well knowing that if someone hacks my account, it would be useless to them without that little six-digit code? MFA protects your personal accounts from banking to social media to shopping. Imagine how devastating having any of those accounts compromised would be.
Now, imagine your company fails to train and enforce the use of MFA for their systems–for their employees. As a result. they become a victim of cyber crime. Or worse–The processes are in place, but you fail to comply. Frankly, whether multi-factor authentication is part of my company’s IT security protocol, or not; I know one thing. I do not want to be the one who allows an intruder in the gate when it is so simple to keep him at bay.
Institute your own multi-factor authentication program with Zen Techwork’s help.
Zen Techworks requires MFA on every access point and piece of software we touch. We can arm you with the policies and programs you need to make multi-factor authentication a necessary added layer of security. We even offer ongoing cyber security training for your team.