Have you gone passwordless yet?

Making the switch may be the best security move you can make today, because passwords are becoming even less secure, especially when you consider users’ tendency to have poor password security habits. For example, 52 percent of users reuse the same password for multiple accounts, and 59 percent of American adults have incorporated a name or a birthday into their password to an online account.

This makes passwords even more of a cause for worry in the midst of the global shift to remote work, where not all businesses are coping as fast and as effectively as they should when it comes to their network security with the new setup.

Besides, no one really likes passwords, right? According to a survey by the Ponemon Institute, 57% of internet users would prefer passwordless logins to protect their identity.

How does passwordless authentication secure your business?

Passwordless authentication takes passwords out of the picture, and along with it, the headaches that go with password juggling, password resets, and password hacks—all of which cost you. A lot.

Without passwords, you can authenticate everyone in your organization using either of a combination of biometrics (physiological and behavioral), tokens, magic cards, PINs, keys, and the like.

You can implement passwordless through passwordless multifactor authentication (MFA) and/or passwordless single sign-on (SSO).

MFA can mean using more than two factors to authenticate a user. SSO seamlessly logs a user in through multiple accounts using either of the factors mentioned above.

When used together without involving passwords, MFA and SSO provide a multilayered protection that can deter even the most determined attacker.

How do you get the most out of passwordless authentication?

IBM shares the following 4 tips to optimize your passwordless security:

1. Implement silent authentication.

Right now it’s not that hard to imagine getting to a point where users no longer have to devote some of their time to authenticate in order to access work and personal accounts. That is where silent authentication comes in.

Passwordless authentication strategies that work quietly in the background, analyzing such factors as physical and behavioral biometrics, help ensure a frictionless user experience while enhancing threat detection. 

This type of analysis can serve two crucial security purposes: 

  • Look for risk factors
  • Analyze positive identifying factors

Together, these ensure breach-proof use identity authentication, leading to a less urgent need for a login since users will have become easier for their respective organizations to recognize.

As authentication gets more user-centric, take note of these options for providing a seamless experience for your entire organization: 

  • Mobile threat defense (MTD)
  • Identity and access management (IAM) 
  • User trust scoring together 

2. Keep authenticating after login.

Many of the recent cyberattacks are undetected during login, such as what happens in these three instances: 

Social engineering attack

A legitimate user (i.e., a verified employee with all the necessary access credentials) gets tricked into acting on behalf of a cybercriminal. In a scenario like this, there will be no red flags at the login stage since the victimized user is using their own device while being in their usual location, making their recognizable, previously established mouse movements and keystrokes.      

Things begin to look suspicious only once the user starts navigating your network or a site.

Session hijacking 

Malicious actors exploit a valid computer session (sometimes also called a session key) to illegally access information or services in a computer system). 

Remote overlays

Cybercriminals “overlay” fake messages on top of a legitimate website to manipulate users into sharing sensitive data.

With continuous, real-time authentication, happening quietly in the background, attacks like session hijacking, remote overlay, and certain forms of social engineering can be effectively addressed. As cybercriminals develop more sophisticated attacks, adopting risk-based authentication (RBA) strategies may not be enough. For one, RBA is liable to miss an attack like the social engineering attack that involves the use of a legitimate employee’s credentials at login.

3. Go from static to dynamic.

The static rules that dictate the policies in older risk-based authentication to determine the appropriate level of access to grant a user or the need for step-up authentication will eventually be unable to cope with the way cybercriminals sidestep login authentication.  

By adapting passwordless authentication, you can develop more modern strategies around advancements in technology such as machine learning to create access rules that are more dynamic and highly adaptive—that is easy to assess and update as the need arises. 

4. Expand your authentication ecosystem.

Integrate your passwordless authentication strategy into a larger ecosystem of data and user insights. Adopt API integrations to overcome information silos. This allows you to create a comprehensive picture of the users—both your customers and your employees—in your network, their respective risk levels, and the appropriate level of digital identity trust that that will be granted to each of them.

The importance of context

To understand your users, always consider the context of their need and your need for them to access your network. Having your pulse on user experience will make it clear to you that in this day and age, security and a frictionless user experience should go hand in hand, and together, they can help you take your business very far.

Excited about where Passwordless authentication can take your organization’s online security in the near future?

So are we.

Contact TraitWare today and tell us how we can make your Passwordless experience truly meaningful for your business.