Businesses often opt to use passcodes instead of passwords, along with a push notification or authentication app coming through a smartphone, for enhanced security. This method, known as multi-factor authentication (MFA), has become the default for many businesses, sending a code to the customer’s smartphone number. However, McBroom explains that this approach has its limitations and can lead to potential security risks.
For instance, while banks have made it a requirement to send a code via text for access to various services, including basic functions like checking account balances, this can be problematic for some users. Subscribers of certain carriers may encounter difficulties receiving these texts, and when traveling abroad, American SIM cards may fail to work, cutting off access to these security codes. Furthermore, failing to provide the required code can result in the customer’s account being frozen, affecting access to important financial services such as ATM withdrawals.
In addition, the security of the phone codes can be compromised through various means, including multifactor authentication fatigue attacks, phishing campaigns, SIM swaps, and other methods used by cybercriminals.
Security questions also pose a potential security risk, with automated systems locking users out even if they provide the correct answers. To mitigate these issues, it is suggested that businesses consider using knowledge-based questions with multiple layers of separation to make it more difficult for hackers to obtain the relevant information.
Biometric authentication, often seen as a more secure alternative to traditional passwords, also comes with its own set of challenges. For example, relying solely on biometrics such as fingerprints, iris or face scans, or voice recognition can lead to user frustration if technical issues prevent these methods from granting access. Additionally, the ability for criminals to lift fingerprints off devices or other items presents another vulnerability in biometric security.
Despite these drawbacks, some experts believe that biometrics can provide enhanced security in certain contexts, such as personal work machines or for specific data access. More advanced forms of biometric authentication, such as invisible biometrics that rely on behavioral patterns during password entry, can offer an additional layer of security.
It is essential for businesses to understand the potential downsides of relying solely on security measures that are visible to users. Enhancing security measures that are hidden from the user’s view, such as invisible biometrics and encrypted data, can play a significant role in minimizing adverse effects on the user experience while bolstering overall security.
In conclusion, while multi-factor authentication, security questions, and biometrics can provide an added layer of security for businesses, it is important to recognize the potential pitfalls associated with these methods. By understanding the limitations and vulnerabilities of common security practices, businesses can work to implement more robust and effective security measures to protect sensitive data and user information.