As cyberthreats and attacks continue advancing in sophistication, relying solely on static passwords for access management poses severe risks across sectors. Confirming user identities through multifactor authentication (MFA) represents the vital next step for credential integrity and defence.
However, effective MFA adoption necessitates more than just activating secondary codes without grasping vulnerabilities. Organisations must focus concurrently on several pivotal areas as part of zero trust approaches proactively progressing protections.
In 2024, prominent public and private sector organisations are mandating multifactor authentication (MFA) implementation to strengthen access integrity including:
- US Federal agencies meeting October 2024 phishing-resistant MFA requirements for modernising authentication and combating rising threats. Efforts align to longstanding consumer cybersecurity modernisation drives by authorities.
- NHS Digital requiring health bodies achieve full MFA compliance by June 2024 prioritising privileged accounts. This NHS Cyber Strategy directive greatly toughens previous guidance to bolster protection.
- Amazon enforcing MFA for all privileged AWS account holders from mid-2024. This targets root user access, mitigating breach risks from stolen credentials even if attackers compromise individual user identities.
- The 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon revealed that 74% of all breaches are linked to "Error, Privilege Misuse, Use of stolen credentials, or Social Engineering." Additionally, the report highlighted that the use of "stolen credentials became the most popular entry point for breaches" in the last five years. Consequently, the implementation of MFA is expected to play a significant role in 2024.
How Cybercriminals Bypass MFA Defenses
Cyber threat actors employ various techniques to sidestep multifactor authentication protections and gain system access including:
As organisations adopt MFA assuming enhanced security, cybercriminals relentlessly evolve attack vectors focused on bypassing secondary defenses through trickery, force and telecom infrastructure weaknesses outside enterprise control. Maintaining vigilance remains essential even behind verification safeguards.
How to Enhance Cybersecurity in 2024: Phishing-Resistant Authentication Practices
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) strongly recommends all institutions enable phishing-resistant multifactor authentication to shield against rapidly escalating credential threats. Let us explore modern identity assurance best practices:
1.Exercise Caution: Assess Before You Click
Be vigilant before clicking any link as it might be a trap set by hackers. Employees should exercise caution when encountering unfamiliar links in messages, emails, or on unsecured web pages.
One prevalent method employed by hackers is clickjacking, and clicking on these malicious links can result in significant losses for the company, impacting both employees and the overall business. Avoid falling into this trap.
Hackers often use links disguised as bank statements, password recovery emails, and other seemingly innocuous messages to deceive and extract sensitive business information. These deceptive links may redirect to fake sites resembling legitimate ones, prompting individuals to unknowingly provide personal information that can be exploited by the hackers. Stay alert and think twice before clicking on such links.
2.Prioritise Strong and Varied Passwords
Another crucial cybersecurity tip is to avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. While it may be convenient for remembering, having identical passwords makes the account insecure and more susceptible to potential threats.
It is crucial to maintain different passwords for each account on various platforms. By adopting this practice, even if a company experiences a security breach or hackers gain access to one set of credentials, having diverse passwords helps protect other accounts.
Additionally, users should ensure they use robust passwords for all their accounts, contributing significantly to overall online security.
3.Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) provides an added layer of security, enhancing the protection of your accounts. The MFA process involves the conventional use of passwords for online verification, along with an additional authentication method, such as a fingerprint, a code, or OTP.
When using this method to log in, you'll be required to input more than two credentials, making it significantly more challenging for hackers to gain unauthorised access to your data.
This measure enhances the overall security of your account, representing another essential cybersecurity practice that all employees should adopt.
As per a report on the Multi-Factor Authentication Market by Markets and Markets,
4. Regularly Update Systems for Enhanced Cybersecurity
IT teams should consistently update employee systems, browsers, operating systems, and software as a fundamental cybersecurity measure in the workplace. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the firewalls in use are kept up to date.
The older a system and its configurations, the more vulnerable it becomes to cyber threats. Regular updates help prevent hackers from exploiting system vulnerabilities for an extended period, as new updates address potential security risks.
5. Maintain Secure Backups for Critical Data
Implementing a robust backup solution is a best practice for safeguarding both business and personal information, particularly in the face of significant threats like ransomware. Ransomware and malware have the capability to encrypt systems, files, and networks, posing a severe risk to victims.
To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to maintain a backup solution for all critical data, whether stored in the cloud or on a physical hard drive. Cloud backups create duplicates of data on a server hosted in a different location, enhancing security.
For physical backups, it is essential to store them in a secure location after encryption. By adopting these methods, backed-up data can be restored in the event of data loss or theft.
6. Adopt Data Protection and Encryption Protocols
Organisations should ensure that employees refrain from disclosing information publicly. Moreover, they should exercise caution when communicating or sharing sensitive information online.
Hackers may masquerade as authoritative figures, like government officials, to deceive employees into divulging sensitive information, including credentials. Therefore, employees must stay vigilant when sharing sensitive information, verifying the legitimacy of requests, and encrypting data before transmission. This ensures that only the intended recipient can access the data, requiring a decryption key for decryption.
Increasing awareness among employees is crucial for improving cybersecurity. It is essential for companies to instruct their staff on fundamental measures to protect data from cyberattacks. For more information, consider reading and strengthening your human firewall. Overt Software Solutions has a useful article that provides detailed guidance on Non-Technical Security Tips to enhancing your human firewall.
Safeguarding High-Value Digital Assets and Users
It is recommended that IT leaders within an organisation meticulously consider specific criteria when prioritising the transition to phishing-resistant Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in well-defined phases. Some key questions to guide this process comprise:
What resources warrant protection from compromise?Cyber threat actors frequently target email systems, file servers, and remote access systems seeking unauthorised data access. Identity servers like Active Directory also get commonly targeted as takeovers enable new account creation or existing user credential hijacking.
Which users constitute high-value targets?While any account compromise raises security risks, organizations typically have select user accounts with additional access or privileges proving especially enticing to cyber threat actors. For instance, cracking a system administrator's login could grant unauthorised access across the entity's systems and data. Other prime targets include lawyers having e-discovery permissions and HR staff accessing sensitive personnel records. Identifying and safeguarding such accounts remains crucial for overall cyber defence fortification.
Knowledge Sharing: Combatting MFA Attacks
Here is a short valuable tip: if your business faces a breach linked to MFA bombing, consider sharing your experiences and the insights gained with the wider cybersecurity community. This collaborative effort can assist defenders in researching MFA attack methods and trends, ultimately aiding in the development of solutions to thwart threat actors using this approach.
Explore Further: Strengthening Business Defenses Against MFA Fatigue Attacks
Discover more about how Overt Software Solutions provides extensive support in safeguarding your business against MFA fatigue attacks. Our tailored security awareness initiatives empower users to adeptly respond to MFA fatigue attacks safely. Should an incident occur in your environment, Overt Software Solution’s technical expert can offer consultative solutions to proactively mitigate potential damages from an attack.
Furthermore, our technical experts at Overt Software Solutions are proficient in delivering resilient information protection solutions that incorporate content classification, threat telemetry, and user behavior across all channels. Check out our product page to learn more about what overt can provide you with or contact our experts for more information.