Multi Factor Authentication Examples & Methods (MFA Use Cases)

Multi Factor Authentication Examples & MFA Methods (MFA Use Cases). The general overview of this article is the introduction of what what multi factor authentication method is. So what is it? A rule that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to access a resource, such as an application, online account or VPN

Importantly, today most companies are under constant siege by security threats. The best and easiest way to protect today’s networks is through multi factor authentication and single sign on.

This article  teaches us about what MFA authentication is, and how it works. After that, the authentication examples and methods are presented.

Let’s start with Multi Factor Authentication Examples & Methods (MFA Use Cases).

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

Simply put it is an effective way to add another layer of advanced security to your devices and infrastructure.  It uses multiple credentials to manage identity and access. For example, instead of just asking for a biometric scan and a password, it might ask for a code or additional biometric scan.

The choice of multi factor authentication is due to the fact that traditional usernames and passwords are vulnerable to compromise and hacking. Thus, several layers of security are created and hacking attempts are minimised.

Additionally, MFA is a key component of strong management and access identity policy (IAM). 

How does Multi Factor Authentication work?

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To understand how this works, it’s important to first note that there are two types of authentication:

  • Multi Factor Application Authentication: this type implements a process when an attempt is made to access one or more applications.
  • Multi Factor Device Authentication: second authentication process, that implements a process directly at login stage.

However, the process is the same in both cases. When you try to access a specific file, folder, application, or device, the authenticator asks you one factor at a time to verify your identity. After you confirmed your identity in the system, you are granted access.

Importance of Multi Factor Authentication Methods

A) Identity theft is a growing threat -a fairly common risk described as mild, low risk, but a high paying crime that poses a serious threat to all businesses. Furthermore, password theft is constantly evolving, as hackers use techniques such as key logging, phishing, and pharming. 

B) They don’t just steal your datacyber criminals don’t just steal your data. They often corrupt data, modify programs and services, and use servers to send out propaganda, spam, and malicious code. Thankfully, MFA helps prevent all of this.

C) Antivirus is not enough antivirus systems and advanced firewalls are essential security features, as are vulnerability tests. However, without authentication, the system becomes vulnerable to intruders.

Multi Factor Authentication Examples (MFA Methods)

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1. Identification through what the User knows (Pin / Passwords)

Generally, information that a user knows has long been used as a major authentication step. It’s also worth mentioning that just using this step is quite risky, as this information is a very easy target for cybercriminals. Users process common passwords on a daily basis, making it easy for hackers to intercept their media and public registrar accounts.

 We can take a look at these most common types of IDs:

  • PINs.
  • Passwords.
  • Answers to personal security questions.

2. Identification through something the user possesses (Such as a device)

Another method uses a different solution, namely using a physical asset and data information explicitly sent to the user. One can easily conclude that this level is an effective solution, when one wants to confirm someone’s identity. As long as the users themselves do not react or respond to phishing attempts by hackers, whose main task is to seize this information.

Let’s turn our attention to examples of identifier data that a user may possess:

  • Code sent by SMS text message.
  • Soft tokens, such as one-time password (OTP) tokens sent via email.
  • Hardware tokens such as Bluetooth tokens, smart cards, and USB tokens.
  • Google Authenticator (an app on your phone).

3. Identification through who the user is (Biometric)

The next example that is very relevant is identification requires something, in the style of personal data. With the technological leap in identity verification, it is downright impossible to forge or duplicate. Below we can look at what methods we have:

4. Identification through location and time (Geo Location)

So this factor, which is also commonly referred to as adaptive authentication, is no doubt the latest and most complete form of authentication. Its important alternative is that it has an advanced form of authentication ie: it takes into account location, time or behaviour. In addition, it mainly focuses on using GPS and AI to indicate a user’s location or activities and calculating the level of risk.

The most popular examples of Adaptive Authentication:

  • Are you accessing from a known location, such as your home or office? When a user attempts to log in for the first time at a coffee shop, additional verification is required.
  • Allow Access Hours? Requests for access late at night outside of business hours can be deemed suspicious.
  • Accessed from an unknown device? This is a red flag, if your users are using a new, shared, or rented device.
  • Are users switching from a private network to a public network? Performing tasks using public Wi Fi requires stricter security measures.

MFA Use Cases

1. Logging into Your Bank Account

First of all, let’s say you log into your bank account through your PC’s web browser. You are prompted to enter your username and password. Click to enter. The bank says it doesn’t recognize the device. We’ll send a verification code to your phone. Enter the verification code and log in.

  1. Your login information.
  2. Your device.
  3. Phone number.

Also might think you just enabled two factor authentication. In fact, banking systems are one of the best examples of multi factor authentication, and it happens almost unnoticed.

Generally your bank doesn’t just identify your login details (something you know) and your phone number (something they have). Banks also attempt to identify you over the Internet by checking the device and location from which you are accessing the website.

This highlights the fact that multi factor authentication is very intuitive for users. It’s so intuitive that it’s almost invisible.

2. Connecting to Government Websites

If you’ve ever had to visit an IRS website to get your tax documents, you’ve probably seen one of the simplest examples of multi factor authentication. Therefore, you must start by logging in with your username and password. Then verify your phone number or email address. Answer the last secret question you asked. There are 3 factors in total.

Now there is some overlap between what you have (username and password) and who you are (secret question). As a result, security questions can be thought of as another type of password.

However, this is because biometric authentication and online controls require a little more effort. Nonetheless, using a multi factor multi factor authentication system is inherently more secure.

Someone might have a list of logins and passwords, but it’s much less likely that someone has a list of related security questions.

3. Logging into Proprietary Software

You are using an expensive professional 3D design solution. Enter your username and password. The software system verifies that it is being used on a known computer. Then insert the USB key. You are logged in with multi-factor authentication commonly used to prevent piracy.

Expensive proprietary solutions already use multi factor authentication. You must log in to the correct account with the correct subscription. Check “who you are” as the solution is not available on multiple devices. Finally, check the physical USB support key that contains the unique key. The solution cannot be used without this key.

Unsurprisingly, two factor and multi-factor authentication are most commonly used to protect software from piracy. It was used to protect software from theft a few years before it was also common in banks.

4. Using an ATM / Cash Machine

ATMs require a debit card and PIN. You cannot withdraw money without them. But is it really multi factor authentication?

There are two reasons for this. First, you can actually use 3-step verification without even knowing it. The ATM will ask for your debit card and pin code. However, many newer ATMs also record your face. It cannot be denied based on biometric authentication, but it is used to verify your identity in the future.

Second, multi factor authentication doesn’t have to be “more than three” and is commonly used in that sense. Multi factor authentication includes, but does not exceed, two factor authentication. Two factor authentication is still a form of multi factor authentication. Multi factor authentication is more than that.

5. Using a Credit Card Online / eCommerce

Have you ever wondered why you have to enter so much information on your credit card? Each of them is a separate authentication factor.

The first is a credit card number that identifies the card. Then there is a verification code that is used to verify that you physically have the card. It’s on the back to hide it. The expiry date is another factor in determining if the physical item is in front of you.

So the next time you reach for your wallet, think you’re reaching for the real thing because what you “know” (a stored credit card number) isn’t good enough to use a credit card.

If your device and location don’t match, the system will ask for more information. If you connect it to your PC in London and then connect it to your laptop in Italy the next day, the bank wants to know why.

Thank you for reading Multi Factor Authentication Examples & MFA Methods (MFA Use Cases). We shall conclude this article blog. 

Multi Factor Authentication Examples and Methods (MFA Use Cases) Conclusion

Summarizing, we are aware that MFA market has been booming for some time, especially after the online trading boom caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Investing in a robust MFA solution is a smart move for organizations in all industries. When granting users access to applications, accounts, or devices, implementing a layered authentication approach is the most important step in resolving breaches.

In summary, multi factor authentication is an important cyber security tool on the Internet. These 10 examples and 3 use cases will help you protect yourself and your business using multi factor authentication.

If you wanna know more about MFA visit our website and the blog by navigating over here.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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