Let’s admit it, we all know someone who has faced online frauds or we have at least read about data breach cases, like Yahoo, Uber, eBay, Adult Friend Finder, and Adobe. Ever wondered what’s the root cause of these data breaches?
According to Verizon’s 2015 data breach investigations report, the main cause behind 95% of the recorded security incidents was a hacked password. People often pay less-to-no attention to the strength or uniqueness of the password. They either put a weak password, use the same password across different platforms, log in from untrusted devices, or share their password with others. As a result, the hackers find it easy to crack the password and fulfil their evil desires, or better say, the user privacy and security gets compromised.
With so many credentials getting compromised and attackers getting access to the sensitive information, one issue that arises is - how to improve the security of your enterprise app? How to prevent a data breach? One effective solution is adopting Multi-factor authentication system.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), in simpler terms, is the process of confirming a user by validating different claims he provided. These claims are categorized into different groups, namely:
The Knowledge factor refers to a password, PIN (personal identification number), or secrets questions set in the beginning. It is the most prime authentication practice and it can be exploited, since people either use too simple passwords or use the same password on different platforms.
The Possession factor refers to a token (an OTP, Employee ID card, Mobile SIM card, USB token, or a key fob) that can be used to add extra security to the knowledge factor. Even if someone guesses or steals your password, he might not have your mobile device in real-time, which means he will not be able to crack this layer of security.
Inherence factors are generally related to biometric authentication practices, such as voice recognition, fingerprint reader, facial recognition, and retina scanner.
Besides, location and time are also considered as factors for ensuring security in various scenarios.
Effectiveness of Multi-Factor Authentication Practice
The prime goal of multi-factor authentication (also called two-factor authentication) is to provide a layered security so that no unauthorized user can get access to sensitive information of the authorized users. This makes it difficult for an unauthorized person to gain access to your device, account and data.
Even if someone sees, guesses, overhears, or bypasses your password accurately, he will not be able to steal your data, since he will be exposed to more security barriers. It will be useless for the person to get your password, if he does not have solutions for possession and inherence factors. This signifies that your account/data will be less likely to be hacked and misused.
Besides, authenticated users can take the perks of a single sign-on feature, which will let the users employ their data while keeping everyone else logged out. This boosts security and lowers down the risk of data breaches. So, are you ready for it?
Let’s dive into the different ways to implement multi-factor authentication system in a mobile app.
Ways to Implement MFA into Your Mobile App
As per our experience, there are basically 4 ways to effectively implement multi-factor in a mobile app, namely:
Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) Method
This mechanism of multi-factor authentication embraces generation of an OTP (one-time password) from a shared secret key (like on your device) and the current timestamp via particular kind of cryptographic function.
In this process, a user logs into an app or enterprise platform using his credentials. When found valid, he is directed to a form where he has to fill the one-time code generated via Auth0 Guardian or Google Authenticator. This code is time-bounded which implies user has to check his device and enter the code within the allotted time. If done correctly, the server checks the entered code and allows the user to enter and access data once verified. Otherwise, the user has to follow the complete process again. Apart from this, you can also use a hardware or software token to use for ensuring an authenticated log-in.
SMS Multi-Factor Authentication Practice
In this method, a user is asked to register a valid phone number along with the username and password. A unique one-time code is sent to the entered phone number from the server. When the user enters the generated code, he is authenticated and allowed to access data.
Email MFA System
Email multi-factor authentication method also works like the SMS multi-factor authentication system. The only difference is that the unique OTP is sent via email instead of phone number.
Push Notification MFA Solution
As for the push notification multi-factor authentication method, when a user tries to login into an enterprise app/website, a push notification is sent to the mobile device via Auth0 Guardian. The notification provides details like the name of the app, Operating system, browser used, location, time, and much more. When the user accepts the request, he is automatically logged in.
In addition to this, you can also think about Phone Callback authentication system. This process will be an effective source of validating account in case the end user does not have a smartphone or is offline. In this process, the user is asked to attend the call from the administrator and press the specific key asked. This way, the authentication will be done.
Now, how to integrate these methods into your enterprise app or platform? Well, it’s a technical and challenging task due to which we recommend hiring the top enterprise app developers and level up the security of your enterprise mobile application.
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