Top Reasons Why Linux Server Needs 2FA

Linux is a secure and an open source OS (Operating System). Jack Wallen, a technical writer cum security expert, predicts that the market share of Linux server will cross 5% by the end of year 2017. With this increased market share in the coming days, it is obvious that the security risks, hacking incidents and vulnerabilities on this secure platform will be on the rise as well.

As per an analysis by GFI, the network and security solutions provider, Linux was one of the top three most vulnerable operating systems of the year 2014. Total 119 vulnerabilities were reported, 24 of which were rated as high-severity, 74 and 21 were rated medium and low vulnerabilities respectively. This analysis is based on the data from the US NVD (National Vulnerability Database). Therefore, the enterprises which are having Linux servers must take the security seriously, follow a proactive approach, and need 2FA solution for completely reducing/minimizing any kind of vulnerability in the future.

A total of 7,038 new security vulnerabilities were added to the NVD in the year 2014, which reflects that on an average 19 vulnerabilities were reported per day. Nearly 80% were reported in third-party applications, 13% in operating systems, and 4% in hardware devices.

All these statistics are enough to show that implementation of an additional security layer on the Linux servers and other online services is must for protection against threats. One of the best and proven security solutions that every enterprise and the end user need to enable is 2FA.

Brief of this solution

2FA (Two Factor Authentication) is a method that adds an additional security layer to the password-alone verification approach of login an account. This method verifies identity of a admin or end user through two independent factors, namely password and verification code. Every authentic end user knows the password (first factor), and the verification code (second factor) is sent to registered physical device of the user. This code remains active for less than a minute, and strengthens authentication.

If unluckily an intruder manages to know your password from any source, he won’t be able to get the privileges or access rights that you have. It is because he needs an additional factor along with the password to gain the access completely. Due to the use of two varied steps in the login procedure, 2FA security solution is also known as Two Step Verification.

Factors used for user authentication

Something that the user knows (knowledge factors)

Something that the user has (possession factors)

Something that the user is (inherence factors)

Possible reasons why 2FA is must for Linux server

Server admin and the end user can’t avoid using 2FA security solution in present scenario. Below are the possible reasons to use this proven method:

Increased Linux Usage and Vulnerabilities

The market share of Linux is on the rise, so are the vulnerabilities level on this powerful operating system. A recent report based on market share data and usage statistics shows that Linux is used by 37 percent of all websites available over the Internet. For reducing increasing vulnerabilities on Linux server, Two Factor Authentication (2FA) has been proved to be the best solution. It is because 2FA method is more than just password-only verification.

Dual Checks Identity

Along with advancement in technology standards in the last few years, there has also been an increase in identity theft cases globally. For logging in to Linux server admin panel, a valid username and password combination is required by default. If this password goes in the wrong hands, then gaining admin rights becomes extremely easier for an unauthorised user. But with 2FA solution, identity theft seems a tedious task because it dual checks identity, i.e. an extra verification step is involved in the login process.

Constant Fraudulent Logins

When it comes to guessing Linux server password, the intruders use various password cracking techniques like dictionary attack, brute force attack, social engineering, rainbow table attack, phishing, etc. The number of fraudulent logins increase on the server once the intruders guess the right password. To prevent this type of logins from happening constantly, 2FA has emerged as a powerful solution. As per a survey by TeleSign, 8 in 10 people are worried about the online security and 7 in 10 no longer rely on just password-only verification. Hence, Linux server need 2FA for added security and protection against fraudulent logins or several other malicious activities.

Unauthentic Impersonating themselves as Authentic

This is one of the major security issues associated with login in to a Linux server using just password-alone authentication. This type of authentication mechanism requires only password, and facilitates both unauthentic and authentic users to gain the access completely. To distinguish between both these users, it is must to enable 2FA security solution on all the Linux servers. With Two Factor Authentication, it becomes a complicated task for an unauthorized user to impersonate himself as an authentic user. The reason for this strong authentication is the use of an additional factor along with the password. 

Usage statistics for 2FA

The result from a study by SecureAuth, an access control company, shows that 99% of IT departments believe 2FA is the best solution to protect an identity and its access. This company also states that 81% of all confirmed security breaches involve stolen yet valid credentials.

56% of organizations worldwide are using 2FA solution either across the organization or in certain areas.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA) usage statistics for Drupal websites. 5,499 Drupal sites currently report using this security solution for different module categories: Mobile, Security, User Access & Authentication.

Additional tips for strengthening Linux server security

Secure the BIOS (Basic Input/output System)

For better Linux server security, make sure that your system cannot be booted from external sources like CD, DVD, floppy, etc. It is also important that no one else have access to GRUB (GNU GRand Unified Bootloader).

Access Remote Computers with SSH

SSH (Secure Shell or Secure Socket Shell) is the best way to ensure communications between two computers remotely. By default, SSH uses TCP port 22, so you can increase the security by choosing a higher numbered port.

Enable SELinux

SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) is an essential security module which is designed to protect overall Linux server security.

Patch the Operating System

It is extremely important that the operating system and several other packages installed must be kept up to date as it is the core of the environment. Without a secure operating system, most of the Linux server strengthening tips will be much less effective.

Apart from enabling 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) solution, the system administrators are required to follow these additional tips for getting the next level Linux server security.

Looking for 2FA Solution

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication or 2FA is the most trending security method nowadays. Traditional authentication method or the password-only verification method, i.e. 1FA (One-Factor Authentication), is no longer a secure way. Besides, According to Key findings from the Global State of Information Security® survey of 2017, there has been a 38% increase in the instances of phishing scams and other cyber security incidents than 2016. Breaches are not limited to computer systems. Hackers often hack cloud architecture and have taken to attacking mobile devices.

These increases in cyber security issues are likely the reason why 55% of individuals, businesses and other entities collaborate with cyber security specialists to help mitigate and reduce cyber security risks. So, it is very obvious that hackers are doing that jobs properly and cyber security is in high threat. More than 28% of survey respondents reporting instances of hacking of these types of devices.

According to Cybersecurity, “More than 3 billion passwords were stolen in the year 2016. It comes to 8.2 million passwords stolen every day and nearly 95 passwords stolen per second”. Consequently, top leading companies like Google, AppleFacebook, and Microsoft have already implemented 2FA solution to ensure maximum security for their users. If you are still wondering why to enable Two-Factor Authentication, keep scrolling down and you will find out Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Enable Two-Factor Authentication.

 

1. Much easier than other traditional methods:

2FA is the much easier than the other traditional methods. Its login process is very much user-friendly. In this login process, you prove your identity by entering your secret password and a unique verification code sent to your registered mobile phone or the device. A unique verification code or OTP (One Time Password); the second factor,

Due to being a simple, inexpensive security measure to implement, 90% of IT departments plan to implement two-factor authentication for access to cloud applications in order to overcome security challenges.

 

2. Rapid increase in cyber-attacks:

Cyber-attacks are rising day by day. Microsoft estimated that “By 2020 4 billion people will be online – twice the number that online now”. Besides, CSS online says, “Cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion just a year ago.” More than £1 billion in losses over the past year due to cyber-crime, this has seen a 22% increase from the previous year.

Two Factor Authentication has become extremely important with the rapid increase in the security breaches or cyber-attacks over the internet. As 2FA adds an additional security layer or factor in the login procedure so it can ensure maximum security to your online accounts or credentials.

 

3. Taking control of your own security:

Previously a user could know about the security breach only after someone unauthorized tried to log in their accounts. All of a sudden they start figuring out that their online account is being breached and all their important information’s like credit cards credentials, Bank account information’s etc. are gone. Eventually, with the traditional authentication method, they could never figure out the security threat.

With 2FA turned on, you will be alerted with a security message or unique verification code on your registered mobile phone when someone else has entered the valid login credentials of your online account. According to Symantec – “80% of security breaches could be prevented with 2FA.”

 

4. Maximum online protection:

Two-Factor Authentication security method protects your sensitive data and information from all sorts of malicious activities. It assures that the password alone is not enough for an attacker or intruder to make you compromise your digital assets.

Besides, the unique verification code is valid only for a few seconds. Due to the use of an additional step in the login process, Two-Factor Authentication security method is also known as Two Step Verification. Because of that 80% of Banks and finance companies in the USA already implemented 2FA for their end users’ online protection.

 

5. Decreased password reliability problems:

Changing the online accounts passwords frequently is a sound security practice. However, only few end users follow it globally and therefore, the best option is to enable Two-Factor Authentication. With 2FA, if someone hacks your secret password, he won’t succeed in accessing your account.

Even, having strong passwords is sometimes not enough to protect your accounts. Applying the second factor, you aren’t just relying on great passwords. This is because, if the intruder knows your password he also needs the verification code to access your account.

 

Hope you already figured out the importance of Two Factor Authentication. With security breaches, digital crime and Internet fraud on the rise, the importance of safeguarding your information has never been greater. Enable this method today to prevent those security breaches.