Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication process in which a user has to provide multi-factors in order to gain access to particular resources. Resources here mean an internet site, an application, network, or a VPN.

miniOrange Multifactor Authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security used to verify an end user’s identity when they sign in to an application.

miniOrange admin can set up MFA at the organization or application level. If both levels are enabled, end users are prompted to confirm their credentials with factors when signing in to miniOrange and when accessing an application. To learn more about MFA, checkout- About Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Rather than just asking for a username and password, MFA (Multi-Factor authentication) adds additional verification factors (OTP, push notifications, fingerprint, etc) which indirectly halts cyber attacker’s activities like phishing, Malware, etc providing a high level of assurance and security. In simpler terms, you need to convince the system or online service of your identity more than once, so the system can detect if you have the right to obtain the data services that you’re trying to retrieve.

Multi-Factor Authentication MFA

The goal of leveraging MFA is to make a layered defense so even if one factor (username-password) is stolen or a targeted cyber attacker still has at least one more barrier to breach before successfully breaking into the actual targeted device.

Why use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

The main benefit of MFA is – Passwords might be one of the supreme measures we use on a daily basis but what the newest cyber threat reports depict has raised concern regarding security issues. Regardless of how complex your password or the password management system is, it is never enough to prevent account takeover because all it takes is one simple phishing email or database breach and your password is out in the world.

Users also make it easier for hackers by choosing weak passwords, using the equivalent password for multiple applications, storing passwords in insecure locations, and keeping the same password for long periods of time. These practices may help users remember their login credentials, but they invite hackers in through the front entrance. The 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 81 percent of account breaches could be put right down to passwords that were either leaked or passwords that were easily feasible approximately weak (e.g., “passw0rd, admin”).

  1. 92% of organizations have credentials for sale on the Dark Web.
  2. 81% of data breaches are the result of weak or stolen passwords.
  3. 90% of passwords can be cracked in less than six hours.

These all factors sum up the solution to why you ought to have an MFA as your daily asset whether it’s a corporation, institution, or any company. By combining your username and password with Multi-Factor Authentication methods your access becomes safer and impossible for an attacker to pass it even if they have your password.

How does MFA Work?

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) workflow basically revolves around:

  • Something you know
  • Something you have
  • Something you are

As the user attempts to gain access to a specific resource, they are prompted with multiple authentication factors, instead of only one. The user credentials are then verified by a core identity provider (IdP) or directory services platform. Once authenticated, the user gains access to the requested resource.

The most common MFA systems use the unique One Time Passcode commonly known as OTP with every login attempt that you simply make. miniOrange also provides a more modern and secure sort of MFA which is “Push notification” on your smartphone. A push notification is sent to your registered smartphone and in order to gain access to your account, you’ve got to approve that notification.

The authentication process using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), takes place within the following steps:

  1. The user navigates to the application login page. For instance www.example.com/login.
  2. The user enters a username and password. This is called the first factor of authentication. When a user submits the login credentials it’s checked whether the user exists within the database.
  3. If the login credentials match with the user the second factor of authentication is shown to the user. E.g Pop up asking for OTP sent over SMS /Email
  4. When the user enters the second factor like OTP or Push notification it’s checked against the database system if the second factor is correct.
  5. After successfully completing the second-factor user is granted access to the system.
  6. In the same manner, if you have lined up more authentication methods, it will ask for authentication for all of them and final permission will be granted.

 

Multi-Factor Authentication MFA Flow

 

What are different MFA methods?

miniOrange supports a variety of methods for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We support the following authentication methods that ensure you have secure access to your site, application, or network.

  • OTP Over SMS
  • Out of Band SMS
  • Google Authenticator
  • Mobile Authentication
  • Push Notification
  • Soft Token
  • OTP Over Email
  • Out of band email
  • Display Hardware token
  • Yubikey hardware token
  • Security Questions
  • Phone verification
  • Voice verification

What are the different factors used by MFA?

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is based on various authentication factors. Multi-Factor Authentication takes the help of these factors to authenticate a particular individual.

Knowledge Factor

It is something that a user remembers like “First Password”, “First School Name” ,“A Pin” etc.

Possession Factor

It is something the user has, such as a mobile device, smartphone app, security token to approve authentication requests.

Inherence Factor

It is mainly referred to as a biometric factor, which is something different in the user’s physical self. These could also be personal attributes like fingerprint, retina, or voice.

Location factor

It usually denotes the location from which an authentication attempt is being made. Location-based MFA methods can limit user access when a user breaks out from the given location. Location-based MFA can also limit the authentication attempts made by the user to specific devices by tracking their Internet Protocol (IP).

Time factor

Restricts user authentication to a specific time panel in which logging on is granted and restricts access to the system outside of that window. In simpler terms, we called it Time-based OTP (TOTP). Mobile Apps like Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, and miniOrange authenticator provide a key code that’s time-dependent up to limited seconds.

Adaptive Authentication or Risk-Based Authentication

Combining all the given Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) factors adaptive authentication makes the way. Adaptive Authentication togetherly analyzes additional factors while authenticating. What adaptive authentication does is cross-check basic factors before providing access.

  1. Which device a particular user is using? Is it the same device registered on the whitelist of the administrator?
  2. From where the user is trying to access particular services (checking geo-location)?
  3. Checking whether a specific user is granted access to the given allocated time? (On-Hours and off-hours)
  4. Check if the network is secured and private?

What adaptive authentication does is, tracks these questions and according to user behavior it prompts different multi-factor authentication, and depending on their authentication identity users will be allowed to log in. Adaptive authentication adds another advantage to MFA.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Use Cases:

There are multiple use cases where multi-factor authentication MFA is employed. You can use MFA for organizations and institution’s websites, applications, networks, VPN. miniOrange provides the answer for various use cases, a number of them are Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for VPN login, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Stripe, and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for office 365 using Yubikey.

 

1.Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for VPN login:

miniOrange provides Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on top of VPN Authentication. This secures access to protected resources rather than counting on only the VPN username & password. To accomplish this miniOrange uses the RADIUS Protocol.

RADIUS stands for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service, it’s a client/server protocol that gives client authentication and authorization.

The RADIUS server is liable for authenticating the users, while RADIUS clients are nothing but the Network Access Servers (NAS) which authenticate users with RADIUS servers and supported responses from RADIUS server grants/denies the access.

RADIUS VPN MFA Flow

 

2.Yubikey as a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft provides MFA only via their default application with limited MFA methods and you can not configure any additional MFA authentication method. In some cases you need to spend an enormous amount for licensing and user differentiation, and if you need to activate or deactivate for the particular user you have.

If you are looking to use Yubikey or any other hardware token as an authentication method while accessing Office 365, it’s supported by miniOrange and can be integrated quickly.

miniOrange allows you to use Yubikey (or the other method from 15+ available MFA methods) as the multi-factor to login into your Office 365 or any of your Microsoft Applications.

 

3.Integrating MFA/OTP Verification for Payment Gateways:

miniOrange has helped many businesses and payment gateways to integrate MFA in their applications. We provide access to our MFA APIs with which MFA is often integrated into any application very quickly without much effort.

Payment gateways that operate in Europe like SecurionPay, Skrill, Stripe, PayU, Authorize.Net, Amazon Pay, PayPal are going to be Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) very soon.

What are the benefits Of MFA?

  • Enhanced security:

    Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) decreases the probability that an attacker can mimic a user and may gain access to the system. miniOrange Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) solution allows users to log in using Username and OTP thus, preventing the necessity to enter Password.

  • More productivity and flexibility

    Organizations are accepting mobility because it helps in increasing productivity. With mobile MFA employees can securely login and access corporate applications and resources from virtually using any device and from any location, without putting the corporate network to risk.

  • Fraud Prevention:

    Multi-Factor Authentication verifies who you say you’re before letting you progress forward. It prevents unauthorized access to your website by providing a further layer of authentication.

  • Improved customer trust:

    MFA lets users assure about their personal info without extra effort.

  • Reduced operating costs:

    Implementing MFA reduces the probability of data breaches, resulting in reduced investment.

 

What is the difference between MFA, 2FA & Adaptive Authentication?

The major difference between 2FA and MFA is: In 2FA there are only two authentication methods: one traditional username-password and another one like (OTP, Push notifications). While in Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) there are no such restrictions, you can opt for multiple authentication methods according to your way. Combining all the given Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) factors adaptive authentication makes the way. Adaptive Authentication together analyzes additional factors while authenticating. What adaptive authentication does is cross-check basic factors before providing access.

Further Reading

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