One of the key issues with using only username and password for authentication purposes is the single point of failure. If one device is compromised, then all accounts on that device are compromised as well. Two-factor authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an easy way to solve this problem. This requires two or more independent pieces of evidence (factors) to verify a user’s identity when they attempt to log in or access data. By deploying 2FA/MFA in your environment, your organization is taking the first and most important steps towards protecting your organization against a potential cyber-attack.
Here are common risks your organization face when using passwords as the only authentication option:
1. Users tend to reuse the same password for multiple services and devices. In many cases, the passwords being used are of a weak character and therefore easy to both guess and hack. It’s hard to believe but the most used passwords still include “password” or “12345678”. Keeping simple passwords or using the same password for multiple accounts and devices makes it easy for hackers to gain access.
2. Passwords to different systems and applications are often shared between several users and sent through non-secure networks. This makes it easy for unauthorized individuals to access information and passwords since organizations never fully know who has access when accounts are being shared. In today’s work environment, it’s not uncommon for colleagues to share an account, meaning the username and password are shared amongst multiple people. Whether it’s written on a post-it or sent in an email, this is an easy way for non-authorized people to get hold of critical information.
3. Hacking and password cracking techniques are becoming more sophisticated. Therefore, even though strong passwords are used, these techniques can still easily break the code. Hackers want to find a password using the easiest method possible. Using techniques such as phishing, malware or social engineering are popular ways to crack passwords as the person becomes the weakest link in the security system. Many times, the result of one single password in the wrong hands can put an organization hostage in a ransomware attack.
4. Organizations don’t know when a hacker has gained access to company passwords, or they discover the breach way too late. Without having the proper tools and processes in place many companies don’t even realize that a password has been compromised. Many times, it is a lack of a clear cybersecurity strategy that would ensure that the correct measures are in place to recognize suspicious activity or unauthorized users in systems and applications.
Our recommendation is to implement a Zero Trust model for both people and devices as soon as possible. We also advise removing passwords for all admin accounts and protecting them with MFA. The next step is to minimize the overall use of passwords in the organization and transfer all users to smooth and easy-to-use MFA solutions. Learn how Nexus Smart ID enables passwordless authentication and simplifies the full lifecycle management of your users’ digital identities on smart cards, mobile phones and laptops. With the Smart ID platform, your organization can utilize ready-to-use workflows, automation and self-service functions to strengthen security and ensure strong authentication for your workforce and workplace devices.
Read further to know more about the many options of identities for the workforce and workplace here.