Security breaches and identity theft are on the rise as the implementation of remote access services and cloud applications have become essential to how enterprises conduct business. Not only have these attacks become more prevalent, hackers are becoming increasingly savvy and sophisticated in their deployment of these attacks. Authentication tokens are increasingly outdated and unreliable in fending off malicious actors. It is clear that the industry is ripe for a next-gen approach that delivers truly secure, real-time multifactor authentication.  

The surge of remote access

Online services have become an integral part of the enterprise over the past decade as remote access has become the default way for employees to access systems and conduct business. As organizations have integrated cloud apps into their business models, identity theft has become a significant threat with astonishing complexity and speed. As a result, there is an increased demand for modern mobile phone-based multifactor authentication.

The evolution of the remote access industry has brought about an increase in threats as well as their complexity. Initially, online services only utilized usernames and passwords as the sole form of authentication. Hackers either used brute-force attacks or dictionary attacks to guess the username or password.

Eventually, systems evolved and locked the account down after a few faulty attempts, leading hackers to develop new techniques such as key loggers. Today, phishing and pharming are the most commonly used attacks. These methods lead users to a fake website that appears to be identical to the original, thereby fooling the user into entering his or her username and password. Some of the more strategic attacks send stolen data to the hackers in real time via a small instant message program, compromising commonly used two-factor authentication tokens.

Making matters worse, malicious actors have developed more sophisticated approaches of intercepting user interactions with online services, including man-in-the-middle and man-in-the-browser attacks, along with session hijacking. Traditional two-factor authentication tokens are no longer guaranteed to safeguard the identity of a user against these latest threats. However, many organizations are left in the dark, unaware that traditional tokens can be compromised, posing a significant security risk.

To prevent these kinds of outcomes, organizations must constantly evaluate their level of investment in security measures considering today's evolving threat environment. However, putting the best protection into effect on a wide scale can be out of the price range for many organizations, forcing them to make a compromise somewhere. To address the challenge of safeguarding organizations within budgetary constraints, a number of authentication solutions have hit the market, including biometric scanning, identity cards, certificates, hard- and software tokens, with the latter being the most dominant technology. Although certificates are often considered the ideal way to connect two devices with a secure identifiable connection, there are frequently errors in implementation. Certificates run a high risk of being copied without the user's knowledge. Furthermore, the certificate authority might be compromised as well.