It getting harder and harder to feel secure in the world. Criminals seem to be getting smarter by the day and their crimes ever more sophisticated. The response by security experts has been varied, but a measure once confined to emails – multifactor authentication – has become a popular choice. Multifactor authentication requires you to prove your identity in multiple ways, such as a password and a biometric scan. So where is it being applied other than email?
Since banks handle money, it’s not surprising that many of them have taken to multifactor authentication. A fairly common example is to require a username or account number, a password, and then a security code sent by text to a designated phone. Another common approach is to issue hardware tokens that provide a single use password to gain access to the systems. While none of these approaches are foolproof, they do make bank accounts more secure.
Home and Business Security
Creating a secure home or business environment is challenging. In high-security business facilities, employees may need to swipe an ID card, input a PIN, and provide a biometric scan. Fingerprints and iris scans are fairly common, but facial recognition and palm scans are also in use some buildings. Access codes and biometrics can also be used in home security, but a new twist on hardware tokens offers some real possibilities. A new technology from LISNR, INC. uses sound waves for device-to-device authentication. Accessing the building requires a person to have the right device transmitting the right kind of ultrasonic audio. This could prove extremely effective when paired with other authentication methods.
Many businesses need off-site employees to have access to the internal network. A salesperson who is overseas may need access to inventory data. A virtual private network or VPN is a popular solution to the problem, but it also creates a security risk. A hardware token can serve as an authentication key. A different approach is to install specific software applications on a limited number of devices. Without the software on that specific device, along with a user name and password, the VPN can’t be accessed. This protects company data and still allows for remote use of the network.
Multifactor authentication has moved well beyond its email roots. With innovations in technology and a more sophisticated criminal class, it’s also become necessary. This is evidenced by that fact that it’s found in everything from home security and banking to VPN systems. While it’s not the last work on security, it is a big step forward in tightening up physical and data security.