Passwords, while integral to security measures, can pose significant threats due to their inherent vulnerabilities. Weak or reused passwords, susceptibility to phishing and brute-force attacks, and potential insider threats all make passwords a weak link in your security posture.
Although ubiquitous and seemingly secure, passwords can pose a significant threat to organizations for various reasons. Common issues include the use of weak or easily guessable passwords and password reuse across multiple accounts, making it easier for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access. Additionally, the prevalence of phishing scams and brute-force attacks means that even the most careful users can become victims. Lastly, the risk of insider threats, where employees with compromised credentials can exploit their access, is an ever-present concern.
To effectively counter these risks, organizations need to look beyond passwords and embrace robust security measures such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). Implementing MFA introduces an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide additional authentication factors. It not only validates user identities using their passwords but also involves a second form of verification like a one-time code sent to the user’s mobile device. However, while MFA provides additional security over passwords, it is still susceptible to MFA bypass attacks such as SIM swap, MFA prompt bombing, and more.
For these reasons, organizations must explore comprehensive security solutions beyond just passwords and traditional MFA and look to phishing-resistant MFA such as certificate-based authentication.
The Entrust Solution
Entrust Desktop Credential Provider for Microsoft Windows, which provides robust passwordless and multi-factor authentication for Windows desktop login, is one such solution. It integrates with Entrust Identity Enterprise (IdE) and Identity as a Service (IDaaS), allowing comprehensive user authentication and management. Entrust Desktop responds to various use cases like workstation login, password change, and unlock, thereby enhancing security and providing better access controls.
Using MFA with Entrust Desktop Credential Provider increases organizational security, provides better control over system access, offers various choices to meet specific security needs, and helps meet regulatory requirements.
MFA Methods Supported by Entrust Desktop:
- Passwordless Authentication: This method eliminates the need for users to remember and input a password for subsequent logins after their initial setup. Instead of the traditional password-based approach, it relies solely on Entrust’s second-factor authentication mechanisms. This not only simplifies the user’s experience but also offers a secure way to verify their identity, given the robustness of the second-factor authentication techniques involved.
- OTP (One-Time Password) Authentication: A unique, time-sensitive password is dispatched to the user’s registered contact details – either their email address or phone number. Since the PIN is valid for only a short duration and can’t be used more than once, it reduces the chances of unauthorized access.
- Token Authentication: Here, users authenticate themselves using secure tokens, which can be either hardware devices or software-based. These tokens can originate from Entrust or other reputable vendors in the cybersecurity realm. Entrust provides support for two main types of tokens:
- Response-Only Tokens: Provide authentication through a simple response mechanism
- Challenge-response Tokens: Engage users in an interactive authentication process, where the system sends a challenge and awaits a correct response
- Mobile Soft Token Authentication: In this approach, users receive an out-of-band authentication challenge directly on their mobile devices. These challenges can range from simple prompts to more interactive mechanisms, making the process both user-friendly and secure.
- Grid Authentication: A unique method that presents users with a grid filled with an assortment of characters organized in rows and columns. During the login process, users are asked to provide specific characters from predetermined coordinates on the grid. Given its unconventional nature, this method offers an extra layer of security against automated bot attacks.
- Knowledge-Based Q&A Authentication: Here, users respond to a set of personalized questions either online or offline. These questions are typically formulated during the user’s initial setup and are based on information only the user is likely to know. The Q&A mechanism can be seamlessly integrated into the Entrust Identity Enterprise platform, specifically via the Entrust Identity Enterprise Self-Service Server (or the Entrust Identity Enterprise Self-Service Module) or the Identity as a Service platform. This method combines the security of knowledge-based tests with the convenience of user-defined answers.
- Mobile Smart Credentials Authentication (Certificate-based authentication): This is an advanced out-of-band authentication strategy. Users receive a challenge on their mobile devices, which is then signed by the Entrust Mobile app upon verification of the user through biometrics or a unique PIN. Once signed, the challenge is verified by the Entrust Identity Enterprise or the Identity as a Service platforms.
Entrust supports multiple MFA authentication mechanisms and we highly recommend using phishing-resistant authentication mechanisms.
Ready to enhance your organization’s security posture? Contact us to learn more about Entrust’s solutions.