Hackers Can Beat Two-factor Authentication

May 11, 2021 11:56 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Let’s face it. Hackers are getting smarter (unfortunately). That means you need to be on top of your game and learn what tricks they use. You need to be aware of just how hackers can beat two-factor authentication.

What Is Two-factor Authentication

You may have heard Two-factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) and thought they were the same. Are they? No. You might remember the article we did recently about 2FA. According to Investopedia, “two-factor authentication can be used to strengthen the security of an online account, a smartphone, or even a door. 2FA does this by requiring two types of information from the user—a password or personal identification number (PIN), a code sent to the user’s smartphone, or a fingerprint—before whatever is being secured can be accessed.”

Multi-factor Authentication takes the authentication one step further and requires more than two forms to let you into your account.

Is 2FA Safe

Two-factor authentication is going to protect you much better than using single-factor authentication. That would be entering your username and password combination. But, wait! The key premise here is that it is a much better way to protect yourself against cyber crime.

Here my word of caution. Even though Two-factor Authentication is a much better way to protect yourself, it will not give you a blanket guarantee that hackers won’t get at your accounts.

Let me emphasize here. Hackers can (and will) beat two-factor authentication.

How Can Hackers Beat Two-factor Authentication

For one thing, if you went to your search engine in your browser and typed in “how can hackers beat two factor authentication,” what you would see would tend to scare you. In the browser I use, I saw anywhere from 1 – 12 methods for beating 2FA. Did I get your attention?

As a result of my research, I found an article from TheWindowsClub that itemizes how hackers can beat two-factor authentication. Below is a high-level overview; you can pick up the details from the article.

1) Cookie Stealing or Session Hijacking

Cookie stealing or session hijacking is the method of stealing the session cookie of the user. Once the hacker gets success in stealing the session cookie, he can easily bypass the two-factor authentication.

2) Duplicate Code Generation

If you have used the Google Authenticator app, you know that it generates new codes after a particular time. Google Authenticator and other authenticator apps work on a particular algorithm. Random code generators generally start with a seed value to generate the first number. The algorithm then uses this first value to generate the remaining code values. If the hacker is able to understand this algorithm, he can easily create a duplicate code and log into the user’s account.

3) Brute Force

Brute Force is a technique used to generate a wide array of possible password combinations. The time for cracking a password using brute force depends on how long it is. The longer the password is, the more time it takes to crack it. That means, the longer the password you use, the safer you will be.

4) Social Engineering

Social Engineering is the method in which an attacker tries to trick the user’s mind and forces him to enter his login credentials on a fake login page. No matter whether the attacker knows your username and password or not, he can bypass the two-factor authentication.

5) OAuth

OAuth integration provides users with an ability to log into their account using a third-party account. It is a reputed web application that uses authorization tokens to prove identity between the users and service providers. You can consider OAuth an alternate way to log into your accounts.

What About Multi-factor Authentication

Lest you think that you’ll just switch over to using complete MFA protection and safeguard yourself, don’t get ahead of yourself. Multi-factor authentication is not 100% foolproof either.

In fact, multiple methods that we listed above for two-factor authentication can also be used with MFA.

Bottom Line

Your safety depends in large part on you on being knowledgeable and practicing safe authentication methods. However, if you find that you are the target of an unscrupulous cyber criminal, then by all means, contact our Help Desk or call us at (904) 430-0350.

#hackers #twofactorauthentication #multifactorauthentication

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This post was written by Megabite

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