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Strengthen IT security with multi-factor authentication, or MFA

Strategies and benefits of using MFA to defend against unauthorized intrusions

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) strengthens security by requiring multiple proofs of identity, such as passwords plus tokens or biometrics, to protect against cyber attacks.

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Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is a security mechanism that requires the user to provide multiple proofs of identity before gaining access to a system or application. These proofs are generally based on a combination of something the user knows (password or PIN), owns (token or smartphone), or is unique (biometrics, such as fingerprints or facial recognition). The simultaneous use of multiple factors increases security exponentially, reducing the probability that unauthorized access can occur through the theft of a single credential.

Operation and typical mechanisms of MFA

MFA works through a process where the first step is generally entering a password. Subsequently, the system requests the additional element of authentication, which can be generated by the device owned by the user, such as a temporary code sent via SMS or generated via dedicated apps (Google Authenticator, for example). In the case of USB MFA tokens, these are physical devices that, once inserted into a USB port, generate the necessary code or certify the presence of the user. All this guarantees a robust security barrier, since the attacker would have to take possession of several distinct elements of the user at the same time.

Protection against specific and beneficial attacks

MFA is particularly effective at thwarting phishing, social engineering, and credential theft attacks, as intercepting a single password is not enough to grant access. Furthermore, sophisticated attacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks are significantly mitigated by the use of multiple factors that authenticate the session in ways that are not easily replicated by malicious actors. The introduction of MFA can represent a deterrent to cyber attacks, thus increasing user confidence in the protection systems adopted by organizations.

The importance of universal USB tokens in MFA

The adoption of USB tokens dedicated to MFA constitutes a strategic choice both in terms of security and practicality. In fact, these devices are not tied to a single user device and can be used on any system that supports MFA, making them versatile and exceptionally secure solutions. USB tokens do not require network connectivity to generate login credentials, providing additional protection against cyber attacks while simplifying the end-user experience. Investment in these devices is recommended to raise the corporate security standard and to ensure accessibility in different operational circumstances.

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02/08/2024 10:16

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