As technology improves over the years, so do hackers. One popular technique being exploited is MFA Fatigue, referring to the hacking of accounts through multi-factor authentication systems.
What is MFA?
MFA occurs when you log in to your account and it requires an extra step for authentication. This can be a push notification, a text message, a call, etc. This process is a way to prevent hackers from logging into your accounts with simply a password. It’s considered a reliable cybersecurity technique and your account is better protected than having no multi-factor authentication at all.
However, there are major downfalls to the method as well. One in particular: MFA Fatigue.
What is MFA Fatigue?
MFA Fatigue is when hackers use these login push notifications to tire the user. For example, if a hacker is trying to log in to your Apple ID account, you’ll most likely get a push notification on your phone with some sort of authentication request. This may be a set of numbers the hacker would have to input into their device to successfully login, or simply an “Allow” or “Deny” request.
A hacker will use the MFA Fatigue method to repeatedly send push notifications to the account owner, no matter how many times they’ve denied the authentication. Eventually, this tires or confuses the account owner and they end up clicking the “Allow” button. This can be extremely detrimental when employee credentials are stolen and private information gets leaked.
Luckily, there are multiple ways you can protect your account and prevent these attacks.
Tips to Avoid MFA Fatigue
Listed below are best practices that technology experts believe will help to mitigate these types of attacks, or at least combat them in a more effective way.
- Improving Your Password Strength — The best and simplest way to prevent MFA attacks is creating a strong and unique password. Using different passwords for your various accounts, including numbers and special characters, and avoiding personal information in your passwords are all ways to avoid getting your credentials stolen.
- Avoid Simple Approval Techniques— When using multi-factor authentication, do not use simple approvals that only ask for “Deny” or “Allow.” It is much safer to use authentication procedures that require you to enter other information, rather than a quick click of a button, which could occur with the slip of a finger. A safer approach requires the user to enter the number they see on the user’s registered device. That way, there is no accidental approval.
- Limit Authentication Requests on Your Account — If permitted, in your account settings, limit the number of MFA authentication requests per user. When the limit is passed, the account may be locked or the user is restricted from sending more push notifications.
- Detect Location Changes — Some authentication providers take a more proactive approach to avoiding MFA attacks. If you’ve ever received a notification asking if you logged into your account from a country 5,000 miles away, then you’ve seen this in action. Detecting a change in the location of a user’s login is a way to catch when something is off with a login attempt. It gives the user a heads-up to any strange incoming login attempts and sometimes immediately denies login attempts from unusual locations.
This information is extremely vital to all but is especially important to businesses and employees who store private information on their accounts. Massive companies like Uber and Microsoft, just to name a few, have endured MFA attacks in this past year. Equipped with these tips in mind, account users and business owners have better ways of protecting their confidential information.
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