What is multi-factor authentication (MFA)?
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an important security measure that companies are utilizing to protect their important data. By using MFA, users must provide two or more forms of authentication to confirm their identity, making it much harder for an attacker to gain access. This commonly includes a password along with an additional factor such as a code sent via text message or an extra hardware device. Through its added layer of protection, MFA helps prevent theft or misuse of valuable assets and keeps user accounts safe without compromising convenience. The additional time and effort required by the user to authenticate their identity is well worth the increased security that comes with using multi-factor authentication.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication Prompt Bombing?
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a great tool for protecting accounts from cybercriminals, but even MFA can be hacked by something called MFA prompt bombing, also known as MFA bombing or MFA fatigue attack. This sneaky attack sends users multiple prompts at once, making them unable to process them all, allowing access to their account without the correct credentials. This can be done through a variety of means, such as brute force attacks, where hackers attempt to quickly guess the right code or combination, or through sophisticated technology that collects information about the user and their device to bypass security measures. Regardless of the method used, MFA Bombing is dangerous because it allows someone to access confidential data without requiring high levels of authentication.
Interested in learning more about implementing MFA for your business? Read our blog “What Is the Best MFA Method for My Business?”
In order to prevent MFA fatigue attacks, it is important for organizations and individuals alike to take proper security measures, including implementing strong authentication methods, regularly updating their systems, and educating users on best practices for protecting themselves.
This type of attack has become increasingly common in recent years and is effective due to the sophistication of bots and hackers. Even if you do have MFA enabled, if an attacker provides enough requests quickly enough, it will not be able to keep up with them all. Nowadays, attackers rely on MFA fatigue to gain unauthorized access to company accounts.
Although the user makes the right selection and denies the request the first time, users can still get worn out or confused by the messages being continuously sent. Attackers may find success in MFA prompt bombing by using authentication requests involving phone calls or texts. It is important to be aware that attackers can do it with any “phishable” factors. It is essential to deploy other protection measures as well such as IP blocking and rate limiting (allowing only a preset number of attempts in a certain amount of time) to prevent this kind of attack from being successful.
Commonly Used Strategies Hackers Are Using for MFA Prompt Bombing include:
- Sending the user MFA requests simultaneously with the intention that the user will accept one of them.
- Sending a reduced number of reminders, such as one or two daily.
- Impersonating an individual from a company and calling users to inform them they must submit an MFA request as part of a standard procedure.
How to Protect Yourself Against MFA Prompt Bombing?
Using the following approaches, you can ensure that you are better protected against MFA prompt bombing and other threats.
In the event of a potential MFA prompt bombing, advise users at your company to change the account password to prevent further login attempts and report the activity to the company, its IT department, or a manager. Once and IT department or a manager is notified of this issue, instruct the user to choose a more secure MFA method, such as authentication apps, hardware tokens, or a Two-Step Authenticator when possible. Users need to be careful with communications, especially from unknown senders or individuals stating to be from a user’s company. Companies should use monitoring processes to help identify questionable MFA prompt activity.
2. Authenticate new and unknown MFA devices
Check each new and unknown device registered to your MFA app regularly. To ensure that these devices are secure and truly authentic, it is crucial to have a method for verifying them before allowing access. This can be done by using industry best practices such as multi-stage authentication processes with strong credentials like passwords. Through taking all these steps during authentication process, you can ensure only authorized access to data and guaranteed safety for your information systems.
3. Include additional context
A variety of one-step authenticator apps only provide the minimum amount of information regarding the request users must authorize to access the account. By means of declaring the user’s location, device details, and application context while asking for approval can inform users of an issue so they can deny the request and report it.
4. Never approve unintentional MFA Prompts
Outdated MFA solutions enable a user to take limitless attempts at trying a password. Limitless attempts offer hackers the ability to send you multiple unintended MFA prompts. It is essential to remember to never approve MFA prompts unless you can verify the identity of the individual requesting to gain access to your account first. A solution to never having to receive unintentional prompts is to use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). In cases where 2FA is not available, replacing simple PIN codes with randomized codes will make it harder for attackers to hack into your account.
Cybersecurity At PSM Partners
At PSM, we offer managed IT security services in which we will take over the implementation, maintenance, and monitoring of your cybersecurity. With our cloud security managed services, we can help you set up and manage your cloud storage and implement the appropriate security measures to protect from data breaches. We will continue to monitor and maintain the cloud and make updates when needed to the cloud software and security measures. You will have peace of mind knowing that our professionals are monitoring and maintaining your cybersecurity solutions 24 hours a day to keep your system protected.
Contact us to get started!