Passwords are incredibly hackable. In fact, researchers say the most common password is “123456.” Leave your security in the hands of your users alone, and a disaster is waiting to happen. Security tokens can mitigate these threats by supplementing – or even completely replacing – user-generated passwords
A proper security token system is built on two types of information.
Possession: The person must have something (such as a phone, a key card, or a USB) to access the system
Knowledge: The person must know something (a password) to complete the loop and gain access.
Legacy: It is related to biometrics. It’s something that the person is (like a fingerprint or facial recognition scan).
When used with passwords, security tokens form part of a multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution. MFA solutions strengthen authentication security, as they require the user to submit another verification factor, such as a one-time passcode and U2F token information.
Using a password exclusively is like protecting your home with just a number combination. This works, but it grants access to anyone else who knows the number. Adding security tokens puts a key-locked gate in front of your door. Even those who know your door combination won’t be able to get past the gate and your home will be safe and sound. This adds another layer of protection to keep you safe.
Consumers appreciate the convenience of security tokens. They also contain important safety information, including:
Accumulated savings information.
Some organizations, including banks, use their two-factor authentication schemes as a selling point to wary customers. By proving that the company cares about security, they are more likely to retain and build its customer base.
Vulnerabilities of security tokens
As the name suggests, security tokens should keep sensitive data safe. Unfortunately, they are not invincible. The risks are real, and sometimes they can be difficult to mitigate.
Common security token vulnerabilities include:
damage Keycards, fobs, and USB sticks are small and easy to lose. If they are not encrypted or protected with a secondary password, anyone who finds them will have access
Steal. These same devices can be stolen, either in a targeted attack or as part of another crime, such as stealing a purse. Like damage, it can put them in the hands of evil people.
Hacking. Tokens will protect users from malware, and companies like banks often tell their customers that token systems are safe for that reason. But anything that is electronic and networked can be hacked by anyone with skill and patience. Although security tokens add another layer of support, they are not impervious to hacking.
Breach of security. Hackers can bypass the authentication system and trick users into tapping into keywords for collection. This happened to a major banking system in 2006 and caused quite a scandal.
Regardless of the security token system you use, moderation and caution are required. Make sure everything is working according to your plan, and be prepared to take action if you see something that has gone awry.