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What is Phishing-Resistant Multi-Factor Authentication?

By Chris Boudreau | January 2, 2023


The acceleration of digital transformation in the Canadian business workspace and the adoption of the hybrid environment have exposed various companies’ essential systems and confidential data to cyber threats and attacks. The impact of these attacks is becoming more sophisticated as the day goes by. One such is phishing. Phishing is dangerous because it facilitates so many different types of cyberattacks. It continues to be among the major cybersecurity threats reported each year, making the adoption of preventive security measures a necessity.

One of the security measures that many Canadian companies have implemented is multi-factor authentication. Although MFA is one of the most important and must-have security measures every business must have, it is still vulnerable and can be compromised by phishing. 

According to a Forbes report, experts believe that over 95% of companies worldwide are using MFA technologies that can be easily bypassed and are susceptible to phishing. As a result, the key is to make multi-factor authentication more secure and more resistant. That is where phishing-resistant MFA comes in. 

What is phishing-resistant MFA, and what does it mean for Canadian businesses? 

What is Phishing-Resistant Multi-factor Authentication?

Phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication is exactly what it seems like. It is a phishing-resistant security measure that can’t be compromised or hacked by even the most advanced and sophisticated phishing attacks. Phishing-resistant MFA is the gold (best) standard for multi-factor authentication, meaning there is nothing that cybercriminals can steal or leverage to access sensitive information. These include OTPs (one-time passwords), passwords, security questions, and push notifications.

Phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication follows the same MFA approach. The only differences are that it is more advanced, removes people from the authentication process, and allows users to leverage biometrics or other security key devices to verify their identity rather than using the push notifications associated with MFA.

This increases the difficulty level for hackers to use various dangerous phishing trends to spoof or intercept a user’s identity and access sensitive data.

There are various ways to implement phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication, and the best method of implementation is called FIDO2. This method makes it extremely difficult for cybercriminals to use various attempts to intercept, steal, or access sensitive data.

Benefits of Phishing-Resistant MFA

Phishing-resistant MFA includes the following benefits 

  • Phishing-resistant MFA does not utilize weak factors to authenticate.
  • Eliminates the dangers associated with using shared passwords.
  • Ensures proper single sign-on (SSO) compliance and consumer identification 
  • Increases security across accounts and devices.
  • Creates a strong connection between the browser session and the devices being utilized
  • Only the device used to authenticate an app or website can log in.

Without a doubt, phishing-resistant MFA has many benefits for you and your company.

Key Features of Phishing-Resistant MFA

Just as MFA has unique features, there are some key phishing-resistant MFA factors. These include:

  • Authentication intent: The user will have to clearly respond each and every time an authentication or re-authentication request is made
  • Replay resistance: This involves using OTP devices, look-up secrets, and cryptographic authenticators to protect against the capturing of transmitted authentication or accessing control information.
  • Verifier impersonation resistance: This necessitates using cryptographic coupling or binding between the user and the verifier. This helps manage user impersonation. 
  • Verifier-compromise resistance: This ensures that the verifier’s public key that has been stored is linked to the usage of trusted and recognized cryptographic techniques.

Why It’s Time to Include Phishing-Resistant MFA in Your Business

Due to the advancement in technology and the sophistication of cybercriminals, it’s time to include phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication in your business. This can serve as a higher level of security protection.

Reasons why you need to have phishing-resistant MFA in your business include:

  • Phishing attacks are on the rise

If there is one cyber attack that keeps increasing steadily every year, it is phishing. Phishing is one of the most dangerous types of cyberattacks a business can experience. Some businesses don’t even return to their feet after being victims of malicious phishers. As a result, to protect your business, having a strongly built security system is essential, and that is what you get from phishing-resistant MFA.

  • Passwords aren’t enough

In today’s business setting, just using passwords alone as a security measure is not enough. In fact, it is getting outdated as many businesses are not implementing single-password authentication anymore. This is because passwords can be guessed, phished, or stolen regardless of how complex they are. Using a technique called password spraying, the attacker will use brute force to guess common passwords that are used across multiple accounts.

Including phishing-resistant MFA in your business security plan removes the use of simple, easy-to-guess passwords and the person involved. This time, biometrics and other security key devices will strengthen your authentication option instead of using passwords. This makes it extremely difficult for the cybercriminal to authenticate on the user’s behalf and gain access to your business data.

  • Protects your business revenue

A phishing attack can lead to financial loss, data breach, reputation damage, and loss of trust, and it can also shut down a business. This is because, aside from your sensitive data, your business revenue is also at stake once a phishing attack occurs.

Implementing phishing-resistant MFA can help protect your business’s revenue by safeguarding the authentication process, making your business less likely to be phished.

  • Increases security across accounts and devices

People make up a business, and once they are down, the business is also down. Including phishing-resistant MFA helps protect your employee’s personal account from being hacked. It also provides an increased sense of security across all devices and accounts.

  • It should be part of your business security strategy

Including phishing-resistant MFA should be a part of your business strategy. Get an IT professional in security services to help handle the phishing-resistant MFA framework. This is because it will serve as a barrier between phishers, cyber attackers, and your business, keeping them from breaching and stealing important data.

Need Help Implementing Phishing-Resistant MFA in Your Business?

As phishers continue to threaten businesses, all hands need to be on deck to combat these attackers. Therefore, the need for stronger security measures is important

Need a cost-effective way of getting phishing-resistant MFA included in your business? Then contact PartnerIT. Reach us via our contact form or call us at 519-772-2525 (Kitchener) or 519-672-0900 (London).


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