What Is Phishing Resistant MFA?

What Is Phishing Resistant MFA?

Over the years, phishing has become a dominant threat to many organizations. A successful phishing campaign can lead to stolen credentials, ransomware attacks, and account takeover. The good news is that most businesses are accepting and implementing multi-factor authentication to secure their accounts and network devices. The bad news? Many businesses using MFA report a rise in phishing attacks. These attacks have evolved to target not just the first authentication factor but also the second factor. According to a study, MFA can be vulnerable to phishing attacks, SIM swaps, communication protocol weaknesses, or fake push alerts.

As a result, given the increasing rate at which organizations are under phishing attacks, it’s not surprising actions are being taken. Organizations are being advised to implement phishing-resistant MFA in their business and IT solutions, and for a good reason.

Phishing-resistant MFA is a cyber security practice that falls under the umbrella of the zero-trust principle. This MFA type has a similar authentication process as the traditional MFA; the only difference is that it doesn’t involve people.

Continue reading to know more about phishing-resistant MFA and why it should be implemented.

What is Phishing-resistant MFA?

Phishing-resistant MFA is a multi-factor authentication that is resistant to compromising attempts or disrupting authentication processes, commonly achieved through phishing attacks. Phishing-resistant MFA adds an additional layer of security to MFA and does not involve SMS, phone calls, security questions, OTPs, or links. This makes it more difficult for hackers to use various dangerous phishing trends to intercept or spoof a user’s identity and access sensitive data.

Because it is a FIDO2 Security key, even the most sophisticated phishing attempt cannot compromise this authentication method.

Difference between Traditional MFA and Phishing-resistant MFA

Without a doubt, traditional MFA remains an effective form of protection against many forms of cyber-attacks because

  • It creates various detection methods when there is an attempt to bypass the authentication process
  • It limits what the hacker can do.

However, the traditional MFA relies on the user’s competence for security. Since humans are the weakest link to a cyber security plan, no matter the level of competence, hackers exploit those weaknesses through social engineering. 

With phishing-resistant authentication, the user’s competence is irrelevant to the cyber security plan. This is because the user does not carry the burden of protecting the factor used in the traditional MFA, as the phishing-resistant MFA does not use any weak authentication factors. It uses strong possession and inherence factors, thus providing a better user experience and security.

Key Attributes of Phishing-resistant MFA

The key phishing-resistant MFA attributes include

  • Authentication intent: The user must explicitly respond to each authentication or re-authentication request.
  • Verifier impersonation resistance: This entails using cryptographic binding between the user identity and the authenticator. 
  • Verifier-compromise resistance: This ensures that the public key stored by the verifier is connected to the usage of recognized cryptographic techniques.
  • Replay resistance: This involves using look-up secrets, OTP devices, and cryptographic authenticators.

5 Reasons why Phishing-Resistant MFA Should be Included in Your Business

There are so many reasons why phishing-resistant MFA should be included in your business. Some of these include

1. Phishing attacks are on the rise

Phishing attacks are becoming more rampant and sophisticated. Every day, over three billion phishing emails are sent worldwide. According to CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), in the 3rd quarter of 2021, phishing attacks blocked by Canada’s cyber security service were close to 95% and have increased since then.

Recently, phishing attacks have been integrated into ransomware, malware, insider threats, and other business espionage. As a result, having a stronger security form is essential.

2. Passwords aren’t enough

When it comes to any form of cyber security, passwords aren’t enough. They can be easily stolen, guessed, or phished. Today, a new form of guessing passwords is known as password spraying. This means the attacker uses brute force to guess common passwords across multiple accounts. Also, employees are prone to password sharing, and not only is this bad for the company, but it can also lead to the data of the employee being exposed.

Using Phishing-resistant MFA in your business removes the issues of using simple and easy-to-guess passwords and strengthens the MFA option. The phishing-resistant MFA makes it extremely difficult for the hacker to gain access to your data.

3. Protects your business revenue

Many phishers go after security-weak businesses, and if your business is the target of a phishing attack, the damage can be significant. A phishing attack on a business can lead to financial losses, data breaches, and reputational damage. In some cases, many businesses close down within six months of being attacked because of the sheer damage involved. 

Phishing-resistant MFA has the ability to protect your business’s revenue by making your business less likely to be phished. 

4. Increases Security across accounts and devices

Phishers don’t just target businesses; they also target individuals. Using MFA helps protect employees’ personal accounts from being hacked. It also protects their devices. But that is not enough.

Phishing-resistant MFA provides a united and secure front, thereby increasing security across all accounts and devices.

5. It should be part of the business security strategy

Implementing phishing-resistant MFA is essential in a comprehensive business security strategy. It will serve as a gate, preventing phishers and malicious attackers from breaching your business and gaining sensitive information.

Phishing-Resistant MFA is the Future of Cyber Security

As businesses continue to be threatened by phishers and malicious attackers, the need for stronger security measures is important. Phishing-resistant MFA is an essential security strategy that should be included in your business because it is going to become more important in the future.

Haxxess can help your Northern Ontario business ensure you have phishing-resistant MFA in place to combat all forms of phishing attacks.

Contact us today to book a free consultation! Call 705-222-8324 or reach out online.

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