What is Multi-Factor Authentication or MFA?

Staying ahead of the curve has always been the best possible way to neutralize any looming threat. So, when duplication and theft of data, both personal and professional, attained popularity in the criminal circles, it was only certain that the teams in charge of security of their users and customers will be coming up with something that makes the job tougher for data thieves and hackers. “Multi-Factor Authentication” or the “MFA” is one of many such measures being taken to do so.

The MFA comprises of additional information or data along with the normal login pin or password to have the authorized access to a data, account, or info. By doing so it ensures that the correct authority or person was trying to access the confidential information and not any hacker. Adding layers of authentication makes sure that compromise of the confidentiality of one layer of a pin or a password doesn’t make the whole account vulnerable.

The various methods or layers of MFA can be classified into broader lines as follows:

  1. Knowledge Based – They can be any particular security code or password generated through system or even personally.
  2. Device based – Many a times, you are asked to register your device or a personal identity card or badge that will be locked and encrypted to guarantee unique access.
  3. Bio-metric based- This generally involves your unique features like thumbprint, retina scan and other unique physical features.

Apart from these popular classifications, MFA can also be location based, where the access to information to a user can be either granted or denied based on the location, physical or IP address based.

We have also witnessed mechanism being employed by Google, Facebook, and other organizations to detect any suspicious login activity, from a different location or a different device and warning message is sent out to registered number and email address to either authenticate or deny the attempt. This is termed as “Risk-based Authentication”.

MFA has evolved from being a password and pin-based setup to a multi-layered process which will soon see the involvement of Artificial Intelligence and other evolving technology areas, in order to make the experience of accessing information rightfully more safer and secured than before, and also in the meanwhile driving the best out of IT professionals in charge of ensuring this.