Knowledge base

January 11, 2024

Understanding and Preventing MFA Bypass

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is considered one of the strongest bastions against unauthorized access. But what if even this line of defense is not infallible? Recently, ThreatLocker shed light on the various ways MFA can be bypassed and what this means for the security of our digital identities.

The Operation of Push MFA

Push MFA secures accounts by sending a notification to a paired device, usually a smartphone, which the user must acknowledge to gain access. This method combines “something you know” with “something you have” for increased security.

Push MFA

Push MFA

The Operation of Pin MFA

Pin MFA requires users to enter a PIN in addition to their password, a combination of “something you know” with another “something you know. This doubles the knowledge factors and is often used in conjunction with a device that the user owns.

Methods for MFA Bypass.

Security Questions and Pin Codes

Simple security questions or PIN authentication can often be cracked by social manipulation or brute force attacks.

Biometrics

Even fingerprints and facial recognition are not infallible. These can sometimes be tricked with replicas or photographs, and even advanced techniques such as 3D printed faces.

Mobile Devices and Authentication Apps

Attacks such as MFA fatigue, in which users are overloaded with authentication requests, or SIM swapping, in which a victim’s SIM card is cloned, are methods used to access SMS/RCS authentication messages.

Prevention of MFA Bypass

Strengthening MFA requires both technological and behavioral adjustments:

  • User training to raise awareness about attacks.
  • Avoid easy-to-guess PINs and security questions.
  • Enable alerts for account changes with mobile providers.
  • Be careful what you share on social media.
  • Use HTTPS instead of HTTP and verify certificates.
  • Make use of two-factor authentication keys

These steps help build a stronger defense against MFA bypasses, with both technology and user awareness playing a crucial role. It is important to constantly keep abreast of new threats and adjust defenses accordingly to ensure digital security.

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Multi-Factor Authenticatie (MFA) bypass