Why Two Factor Authentication is Utmost Priority for Government Institutions?

In present era of digitization, the government institutions are adopting the latest technological standards and converting their services online for making the access easier to the users. These institutions have websites, servers and highly sensitive data available in the cloud for simplifying the access. Security of these digital assets is must, as hacking incidents have become too common over the past few years. So, incorporating an additional protection layer is the key to a better digital security.

Two Factor Authentication seems a powerful solution for protecting confidential data and other digital assets of government institutions against frequently increasing security threats over the Internet. As per a research, the global Two Factor Authentication market to grow steadily at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of around 24 percent by the year 2021. The rise in the volume of online transactions is the major drive to this increased market growth.

 

Security challenges and needs of the public sector (Government Institutions)

Government organizations are a likely target for cyberattacks due to the vast amount of information; including financial data, they gather and share about the market or businesses. The U.S. Federal government, being the largest employer in the country, maintains a “massive confidential data volume” on its employees and other constituents – Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report, which looked at security threats in more than 20 industries of different domain. Government entities face various types of security breaches like viruses and other malware, hacking incidents, malicious activities, phishing, DoS (Denial of Service), advanced persistent threats, etc.

The U.S. Federal government is on the top of the list of entities that attackers like to breach. In a report issued in October 2014, The Heritage Foundation, public policy research institute, provided a list of federal government cybersecurity breaches. Most of these breaches occurred during the year 2013 and 2014.

The organizations included in this list have been pointed below:

  • S. Federal Courts
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Defences
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Department of Education
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Federal Election Commission
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Government sector data breaches on rise

An analysis by Rapid7, security risk intelligence solutions provider, has reported that more than 94 million records have been breached over a 3-year period (2009-2012) due to government sector data breaches. These records were containing PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Unintended disclosure, portable devices loss/theft, physical loss, hacking, etc., were some of the leading causes of data breaches in the government sector. Majority of these records; i.e. 86 percent, were breached due to the loss or discarding of endpoint devices.

A few highlights from the report:

  • The highest number of data breaches (102) was in 2010.
  • From the year 2009 to 2010, 50 percent increase was observed in the number of data breaches.
  • The number of PII records increased by 169% from 2010 to 2011, and 138% from 2011 to 2012.

Two factor authentication becoming mandatory for Government sector – here’s why

As per IBM X-Force data, 200 million government records around the world were compromised by July month of the year 2016. This is 60 million more than all the records breached from 2013 to 2015 combined. It shows that the percentage of hacking incidents of the government records is increasing rapidly.

Security Incidents Percentage by Attack Type

  • Physical, 5.71%
  • Phishing, 8.57%
  • Malware, 14.29%
  • Heartbleed, 2.86%
  • SQL Injection, 42.86%
  • Misconfiguration, 25.71%

Major Cybersecurity initiatives in the year 2016

  • 29% Strategy
  • 37% Monitoring
  • 29% Governance
  • 29% Risk Assessments
  • 39% Training and Awareness
  • 29% Operationalizing Cybersecurity
  • 29% Identity and Access Management
  • 29% Metrics to Measure Effectiveness
  • 29% Regulatory and Legislative Compliance

To prevent the increasing number of cyberattacks on the government records globally, Two Factor Authentication has been accepted as a fruitful solution. It is an approach to move beyond password-only verification and use an added level of security in the login process.

Defining this security solution

Two Factor Authentication, commonly known as 2FA or Two Step Verification, is an extra layer of security added to the traditional username and password-based approach of accessing the online accounts or logging in to a server admin panel. 2FA requires two different types of login credentials or authentication factors – password and verification code, to verify whether the user is authentic or not.

Every authentic end user knows his account password (first factor), and the verification code (second factor) having validity of less than a minute is sent to his registered physical device. So, the user must have access to his physical device for a successful login and protection against the exploitation of stolen passwords.

Two Factor Authentication, a type of Multi Factor authentication, requires not only the username and password combination, but also something that only the user has. Hence, it makes difficult for intruders to gain unauthorised access and steal confidential data, thus improving government institutions as well as other sectors digital assets security.

As per a study, MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) market was valued at US $5.22 Billion in the year 2016. It is expected to rise $12.51 Billion by 2022 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15.52 percent.

Authentication factors

Something that only the user knows – knowledge factors

Something that only the user has – possession factors

Something that only the user is – inherence factors

Why this security solution is important?

Standard online security procedures that require just username and passwords to authenticate a user are vulnerable to security breaches. With this simple form of login procedure, it has become increasingly easy for cybercriminals to compromise sensitive personal and financial data. Therefore, it is must to add an extra security layer; i.e. Two Factor Authentication security solution, as relying only on password-based authentication for digital security is not sufficient in today’s online world.

What benefits 2FA solution provide?

  • No Fraudulent Logins
  • Double checks user’s identity
  • Ensures peace of mind for both users and the system administrators
  • Alerts user in the form of a verification code when password gets compromised

 

Two Factor Authentication is intended to empower government institutions digital assets security by combining a strong password with additional level of security in the login procedure. Implementing Two Factor Authentication will ensure ‘no more unauthorised access to data of the authentic users’.

 

Two Factor Authentication is Utmost Priority for Government Institutions

7 Reasons Why Banking and Finance Need 2FA Solution

For banks and finance organizations like Trading Houses, Credit Card Providers, Investment Funds, etc., protecting the sensitive data and money of the customers is of the utmost importance. A security survey report reveals that in the year 2015, there were nearly 2 Million attempts to steal customer’s money via online access to bank accounts.

There are several links that make it quite easier for the hackers or attackers to get into customers’ bank accounts online and steal money. But, one of the weakest links that simplifies this task is compromising password-alone verification, also known as One Factor Authentication. Hence, banking and finance need 2FA solution for better security of customers’ bank accounts and data.

 

Stats based on this powerful solution

80% of security breaches occurring over the Internet can be easily prevented with 2FA security solution.

Around 65% of people use a single password for multiple websites and accounts, so if your login credentials get stolen, you are leaving the doors wide open for the hackers to hack all your sensitive data and accounts.

 

What 2FA solution is, and how it stops breaches?

2FA, also known as Two Factor Authentication and Two Step Verification, is a security method that requires two different factors for verifying a user. It is more than just password-only authentication and uses a verification code; the second factor, to check whether the user is authentic or not.
The two factors are in the form of –

 

“Something you know (the knowledge factors) – username, password, PIN, or the answer to a security question.

Something you have (the possession factors) – any physical device to receive the verification code.

Something you are (the inherence factors) – biometric characteristics like iris, retina, face scan, voice recognition, fingerprint.”

 

The verification code is sent to the registered physical device of the user immediately after entering the correct password. This code is valid only for a few seconds. If an intruder steals your primary set of login credentials, i.e. username and password, then he won’t be able to gain access. It is because the second factor – verification code is required to complete the login process successfully. In this way 2FA security solution prevents breaches.

 

The Importance of a Better Security

As security breaches continue to increase over time, organizations of different types & sizes are being forced to safeguard against these threats. And when it comes to security, the banks and finance organizations have always been on the cutting edge. With evolving technology, hackers have become more sophisticated and it’s now easier for them to figure out the passwords, identify vulnerabilities in servers and get into someone’s bank account. The primary focus of banks and the financial services organizations must be to prevent all sorts of breaches by implementing better security on client account information.

A recent survey of 200+ corporate directors reveals that more than 40% of respondents feel like CEOs should face the brunch of breach-related backlash. Financial services organizations and banks need to put securing client information and protecting accounts on the top priority. The best approach is to implement Two Factor Authentication.

 

Reasons why banking and finance need to enable 2FA

 

Check out the 7 most important reason why banking and finance need 2FA solution:

  1. Customer Satisfaction and Peace of Mind

If the banks and finance organizations become victim of the cyberattacks due to the lack of proper security measures, then it will result in a negative impact on the customers. For better customer satisfaction and peace of mind, safeguarding client’s banking information against threats must be the primary focus of these organizations. With 2FA solution, account information gets protected from all attacks.

  1. Increased Cyberattacks

Taking the rate of frequently occurring cyberattacks into consideration, one thing is clear that the frequency and intensity of these attacks will increase in the future alarmingly. So, the banks and finance organizations need to be prepared for these future security threats. According to a study, security breaches rose by 48 percent in the year 2015 to 42.8 million. That’s the equivalent of 117,339 attacks per day. Since 2009, the growth rate of detected security breaches annually has grown a whopping 66% year over year. It reflects that survival of banks and financial services organizations without implementing 2FA solution is not possible in the future.

  1. Liability Issues

If any sort of cyberattack ever happens in your organization, then at that time you may face serious liability issues. The lack of adequate safeguards or security solution in place can result in severe damage. If proper security solution like 2FA – Two Factor authentication is enabled, then you will be able to confidently claim that you have put every possible effort from your end to protect sensitive client information.

  1. Secure, Cost-effective

Another important reason for banks and financial services organizations to enable 2FA solution is that it’s highly secure as well as cost-effective. By choosing the right Two Factor Authentication solution provider, you will be able to continue your business operations with high security level and no fear of getting compromised.

  1. Mitigates the Password Problem

Changing the passwords at frequent time interval is a good security practice. But, most of the customers feel discomfort in this practice, as after every few days they need to create and remember the new password. For simplifying this task, the customers either use weak passwords or write down on sticky notes. 2FA solution mitigates the password problem. It is because if someone else tries to reset your password, then he needs access to your physical device as well for getting the second factor, i.e. verification code, and accomplishing this task successfully.

  1. Dual Checks Identity

Weak or stolen user credentials are used in 95% of all web app attacks. Focusing on customer account security, organizations (banks and finance) are recommended using PCI-compliant ecommerce system. PCI compliance system requires 2FA for checking identity and verifying a customer. 2FA solution not only dual checks identity, but also restricts an unauthorised user even if he knows your password.

  1. Alerts you in case of any breach

With 2FA activated on your account, you will be alerted with a security code in case of any breach. This code warns that someone else has stolen your account password. Therefore, banking and finance need 2FA solution in place for better customer account security all the time.

The demand of security is increasing at a rapid pace and it does not seem possible without Two Factor Authentication. So, banks and financial services organizations are required to implement 2FA security solution for ensuring trustworthiness.

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