MFA and You: Protecting Your Business From Exploits

Protecting sensitive information and corporate accounts is a top priority in the modern business landscape. Companies must take the necessary precautions to secure their online presence with the increasing dependence on technology and the growing threat of cyber attacks. One such protection is using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).MFA is a security process that requires multiple forms of verification before granting access to an account. By requiring something you know (such as a password), something you have (such as a device), or something you are (such as a fingerprint), MFA provides an added layer of security compared to a single password. This makes it an essential tool for securing corporate accounts, protecting sensitive information and mitigating the risk of cyber attacks.However, despite its increased security, there are still weaknesses in some systems that hackers can exploit. In this article, we’ll explore common MFA weaknesses in the business context, how hackers exploit them, and what steps companies can take to protect their sensitive information and corporate accounts. Whether you’re a small business looking to secure your digital presence or a large enterprise looking to protect your data and assets, this article has the information you need to stay safe in the digital world.

Common Weaknesses of MFA

Despite the added security, there are still weaknesses in MFA systems that can leave businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks. Let’s take a look at some of the most common weaknesses:

1. MFA Fatigue

An MFA Fatigue attack is when a threat actor runs a script that attempts to log in with stolen credentials over and over, causing an endless stream of push requests to arrive on the account’s owner’s mobile device. The goal is that eventually, the user will get frustrated and allow the attempt or make a mistake and press the affirmative option, allowing the attacker entry into the account.

2. Relying on SMS for MFA

While SMS is a common form of authentication, it is also one of the weakest. Hackers can intercept SMS messages through SIM swapping. A technique where a hacker takes control of a victim’s phone number and redirects the SMS messages intended for that number to a different device. Once a hacker has intercepted an SMS message, they can use the code contained in the message to bypass MFA systems, making it essential for businesses to consider alternative forms of security.

3. Poor implementation of MFA

In some cases, systems can be poorly implemented, such as by not requiring MFA for all sensitive transactions or by not properly securing tokens. Poor implementation can make security systems vulnerable to exploitation by hackers.

4.Reusing MFA tokens

A token is a code used to verify a user’s identity. Copying and reusing MFA tokens makes it challenging to determine who has accessed sensitive information and accounts, as multiple individuals can use the same token. This can make it harder to track down the source of a security breach or identify the individuals responsible for unauthorized access.These are just a few of the most common MFA weaknesses that businesses need to be aware of. By understanding these weaknesses, companies can take the necessary steps to protect their sensitive information and accounts from cyber-attacks. 

How Attackers Exploit Weaknesses

Hackers are constantly searching for ways to bypass MFA systems and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information and accounts. They exploit MFA weaknesses in a number of ways, including:

1. Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the most common ways that hackers exploit MFA weaknesses. In a phishing attack, the hacker sends an email or text message that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or online service. The message may contain a link that, when clicked, takes the user to a fake login page, where they are prompted to enter their MFA information. The information is then used by the hacker to bypass the MFA system.

2. Social engineering tactics

Social engineering tactics, such as impersonation, baiting, and pretexting, are also commonly used by hackers to bypass MFA systems. For example, a hacker may call a user and pretend to be a technical support representative, asking the user to provide their MFA information for troubleshooting purposes.

3. Technical exploitation

Technical exploitation, such as exploiting software vulnerabilities, can also be used by hackers to bypass MFA systems. For example, a hacker may use a vulnerability in a web browser to steal the MFA code that is generated by an authenticator app, or to inject malicious code into the page that captures the MFA information as it is entered by the user.It is important for businesses to be aware of these and other tactics that hackers use to exploit MFA weaknesses, and to take steps to protect their systems from these threats. This may include using stronger forms of MFA, such as hardware tokens or biometrics, and implementing security awareness training programs to educate employees on how to recognize and avoid these threats.

Protecting Against MFA Weaknesses

Now that we’ve explored some of the common weaknesses in MFA systems, let’s take a look at what businesses can do to protect themselves from these weaknesses. Here are some steps that businesses can take to keep their MFA systems strong:

1. Use stronger forms of MFA

Rather than relying solely on SMS or security questions, businesses should consider using stronger forms of security such as authenticator apps, biometric authentication, or hardware tokens. Implementing additional settings like number matching and device health policies are also great ways to improve your security stance.

2. Implement MFA for all sensitive transactions

To ensure that sensitive information and accounts are properly protected, businesses should implement MFA for all sensitive transactions, including login, account changes, and high-risk transactions.

3. Implement Yubikeys or other hardware tokens

Yubikeys are a type of hardware token designed to implement multi-factor authentication. These tiny devices verify the user’s identity. By adding an extra layer of security to the authentication process, they are much more secure than other forms of authentication. Additionally, they cannot be intercepted or phished.

4. Educate employees on MFA and phishing attacks

Employees can play a crucial role in protecting business information and accounts. It’s important for businesses to educate them on MFA and phishing attacks. This can include training on how to recognize and respond to phishing emails and the importance of using strong authentication.

5. Regularly review and update authentication policies

To ensure that systems remain strong, businesses should regularly review and update their policies. Review new features and settings and plan for implementing new strategies as they become available.By taking these steps, businesses can keep their systems strong and protect their sensitive information and accounts from cyber attacks. With a Managed Services plan from Hermetic Networks, businesses can have peace of mind.multi-factor authentication is a crucial tool for protecting sensitive information and accounts from unauthorized access. However, they are not perfect and can be exploited by hackers through various means. It is important for businesses to be aware of common weaknesses. That includes the use of SMS, the reuse of tokens, and the exploitation of social engineering tactics. It’s also important to take steps to address these risks. By implementing the strategies we’ve discussed today, businesses can help to minimize the risk of exploitation.At Hermetic Networks, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of security. We work closely with our clients to understand their unique security needs. We design custom solutions that meet those needs and keep our customers secure.Contact us today to learn more about our MFA services and how we can help your business stay protected.

Jeff Hughes

Jeff Hughes

Having a reliable and enthusiastic partner in the IT services and solutions sector is imperative for achieving sustained business growth through effective technological strategies. Jeff Hughes, the CEO of Hermetic Networks, is wholeheartedly committed to assisting clients in optimizing their technology resources to maintain a competitive edge within their respective industries. Within Hermetic Networks, Jeff collaborates closely with a team of dedicated professionals who are deeply committed to delivering exceptional IT security services and solutions. Leveraging his extensive expertise and practical experience, Jeff ensures that clients receive unparalleled support and guidance for their IT security initiatives. When you choose Hermetic Networks as your partner, you can have confidence in our ability to enhance your business systems, helping you stay at the forefront of today's highly competitive business landscape.