20th Apr 2022

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks with Multi-Factor Authentication

If you’re looking to bolster the cybersecurity in your banking operations, then you likely want to know how to prevent cyber-attacks with multi-factor authentication.

Cyber-attacks, after all, are very much back in the global spotlight, along with the associated methods of stopping them.

It’s hardly a surprise. The importance of multi-factor authentication has long been evident, but a string of events in the past several years have made this more apparent than ever.

Bellekens et al.’s 2021 study concluded not only that “increased anxiety caused by the (Covid-19) pandemic heightened the likelihood of cyber-attacks”, but also that there was a corresponding “increase in the number and range of cyber-attacks”.

In fact, since 2020, 81% of global organisations have experienced increased cyber threats.


The other factor is the Ukraine-Russia war. While UK businesses have been reassured that there doesn’t appear to be an increased risk of cyber-attacks in its wake, the media have been quick to warn of a potential spillover.

As such, the UK Government has published a series of new guidelines encouraging businesses to act quickly, with particular attention being dedicated to multi-factor authentication.

In Accesspay’s mission to provide an embedded corporate banking experience and welcome businesses into the 4th Wave of Banking, we understand that security is paramount.

Banking operations of any scale are attractive targets for cyber-attacks, and there are a number of ways in which multi-factor authentication can help bulletproof your processes.

If you want to know more, including how to prevent cyber attacks with multi-factor authentication, read on.


How Does Multi-Factor Authentication Help?

MFA is far from the be-all and end-all of cybersecurity.

If you want to get serious about preventing cyber-attacks, it should just be one of your many lines of defence.

However, when it comes to cybersecurity in banking operations and beyond, most breaches involve getting account credentials – be it through brute force, trickery, or more overt hacking efforts.

Thankfully, implementing MFA is an easy win. It can prevent up to 90% of cyber-attacks with minimal effort involved on your part.

If you’re wondering what multi-factor authentication looks like in a little more detail, there are three core types, based on the following ideas:

  1. Something you know. Also known as knowledge-based authentication (KBA), this added layer of security probably feels like home. It’s something like a second password, a pin number, or a security question. Nothing complicated, but it’s one more obstacle for a cybercriminal.
  2. Something you have. This could be a physical key or smartcard but is more likely a digital token that generates a one-time password (OTP).
  3. Something you are. The most secure type of the three, more formally known as biometric authentication. Stealing your fingerprint or a scan of your retina isn’t as simple as figuring out the answer to your security question.



What Type of Attacks Can it Prevent?

Sadly, cybersecurity is a broad church.

There’s no singular type of cyber-attack, otherwise defending against them would be simpler than it is.

Thankfully, though, MFA is effective at preventing a number of cyber-attacks.

The first – and the type you’re likely most familiar with – is phishing. Cisco’s Cybersecurity Threat Trends report in 2021 found that in around 86% of organisations, at least one person clicked a phishing link.

However, if an employee were to fall victim to phishing in a business or during an internal process where MFA was in play, there’d be a greater chance of your data remaining safe.

While the attacker may have received some information, they either won’t have received the OTP or won’t have access to your biometric authentication.

The same can be said for brute-force attacks, in which cybercriminals typically use software to generate as many email/password combinations as possible in the hope that they’ll get lucky.

Like with phishing, though, they’ll find themselves stumped once past this first layer of defence.

Man in the middle attacks are more sophisticated, occurring when a third party attempts to intercept communications in an effort to steal credentials or corrupt data.

However, the defence works largely the same. An attacker may have gained access to one device, but the connected backup device will prevent them from obtaining true control.

Other forms of defence can bolster the cybersecurity in your banking operations here, such as a Hardware Security Module.


The Importance of Cybersecurity in Banking Operations

With cybercrime costing the world over $1 trillion in 2020 – more than 1% of global GDP – the importance of multi-factor authentication in preventing cyber-attacks is evident in any industry.

For those conducting banking operations, multi-factor authentication is a given.

Finance and treasury professionals make countless payments every day, often highly valuable in nature. Without added layers of security and approval, it’s anyone’s guess who could end up getting their hands on your cash.

Combined with a risk-laden reliance on manual processes in everything from your Bacs payments to cash management, MFA helps plug some of those holes in what otherwise might be a sinking ship.

If you’re worried about the rest of those processes and the security issues associated – or you’re simply looking to streamline your banking operations with added cybersecurity and automation – book a chat with us today.




AccessPay’s Multi-Factor Authentication Offering

Embedded corporate banking isn’t just about simplicity, it’s about peace of mind.

As the framework goes, here at AccessPay we offer you Connectivity and Automation, which in turn provides you with Control and Visibility.

When it comes to boosting your cybersecurity in banking operations, we’ve got a robust MFA offering that can account for processes of any scale:

  1. Duo Push mobile app: compatible with the aforementioned biometric authentication methods such as TouchID and FaceID, we’ve partnered with Duo – a Cisco company – to allow you to easily approve or deny authentication requests.
  2. Physical authentication: we recommend the use of a Yubikey for those who don’t have a work phone. It’s the industry standard for token-based authentication.
  3. AccessPay’s 2FA: we offer up our own two-factor authentication if that meets your banking operation needs. It’s simply a code sent via SMS.
  4. Single sign-on: SSO is a heavily-desired feature, and we’re proud to be able to offer it to our customers. It’ll work with any IDP that operates SAML, and you can continue to use your existing MFA solution within it.

As is apparent, there’s never been a more vital time to bulletproof your processes with multi-factor authentication.

If it’s added cybersecurity in your banking operations you’re looking for, then AccessPay can help.

An existing customer of ours without MFA or single sign-on? Click here to book a chat with us and we’ll get you set up.

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