3 Types Of Multi-Factor Authentication

3 Types Of Multi-Factor Authentication

What are the types of multi-factor authentication methods?

  1. Something You Know
  2. Something You Have
  3. Something You Are

Multi-factor authentication refers to two or more verification processes that a user must comply with before they can access an account, view data, or make a transaction. Compared to only username and password information, this method allows you to decrease the likelihood of hacking. If a hacker steals the password, he would have difficulty accessing an account if he doesn’t have the other credentials. To know how this works, continue reading to learn more about the types of multi-factor authentication methods.

Something You Know

Are you familiar with questions such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What was the street where you first lived?”. These are some of the examples of how knowledge-based authentication (KBA) works. It requires information that the user knows. This could be a second password, PIN, or an answer to a security question. It could either be Static KBA or Dynamic KBA.

Static KBA involves information that is provided by the user or an organization—such as a personal code or an answer to a security question such as “What is your first pet’s name?”. On the other hand, dynamic KBA requires you to answer questions from real-time data records like credit transactions. This is harder to guess than static KBA because a potential hacker can research background information about a user. If they personally know you, it is easy to generate an answer to a question such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?”.

For this reason, knowledge-based authentication is often combined with information that a user has and a user is. Because these two are harder to get a hold of, it makes it more difficult for hackers to access an account.

Something You Have

Another way to authenticate a user is by requiring something that you have. The most common example to be would be a one-time password that is sent through an SMS or voice message. The user needs to enter this password to gain access to their account. This would work best for people who have stable phone service or frequently access business data on their phones.

Other than a text message, a one-time password can also be sent to an email address. This is convenient for users who don’t always have their phones with them in the office due to a company’s security rules. Both SMS and email token authentication have a time limit before the password expires. If this happens, users can generate a new one.

Software token authentication is also a popular option to verify the identity of a user. Instead of sending the one-time password through text and email, you need to open a smartphone application that generates it for you.

Something else that an organization can give to a user for authentication is a USB device. This is used to connect to a person’s computer as an additional form of authentication. Because hardware is used to verify identity, it is considered one of the most secure methods available.

Something You Are

Lastly, some organizations prefer biometric authentication when controlling access to sensitive company data. The information you need to provide here is something that you are as a person. This refers to biometrics which could be any part of your body—such as a fingerprint, palm, face, retina, iris, or voice. This is one of the most difficult pieces of information for hackers to steal because it needs some effort to take possession of.

But you might be thinking, how would this work for remote workers? Offices might have special devices to scan these body parts but an employee working from home won’t have access to this expensive equipment. The good news is, biometric authentication can work on some smartphone and tablet devices. Most people already have gadgets that have built-in fingerprint scanners that can also be used to authenticate access to online banking and the like.

The advantage of biometric authentication is the speed a user can complete an authentication process. Instead of waiting for OTP, you can simply press on your fingerprints, align the authenticating device to your face, and more.

Key Takeaway

There are multiple types of multi-factor authentication. It can be categorized into something that you know, something that you have, and something that you are. While each one has its own set of pros and cons, combining different methods can help your organization protect important information much more effectively. Other than the examples listed above, the list of verification processes is continuously growing with the advancement of technology.

If you’re interested in getting multi-factor authentication solutions for your business, CT Link offers a variety of options that can suit your needs! This way, you can better secure your corporate data from cybercriminals. Click here if you have additional questions and inquiries.