Ranking MFAs

DKB Security Operations

4 Min Read

Were you wondering what type of MFA you should use to protect your company? We rank our top 5 favorites.

Safeguarding our online presence has never been more crucial. When logging into our favorite apps and websites, we all know that feeling—the slight inconvenience, the extra step, the seemingly never-ending barrage of codes and passwords. Yes, we're talking about Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), the unsung hero of modern cybersecurity.

While it's true that MFA can sometimes be as exasperating as finding your keys in the morning rush, it's worth noting that this security layer is here for a reason. Like the double lock on your front door or the PIN for your ATM card, MFA is essential to good cyber hygiene. Its mission? To protect your sensitive information and ensure that your digital world remains safe from prying eyes.

What is MFA?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a robust security practice beyond the traditional username and password combination to verify a user's identity. It adds an extra layer of protection by requiring users to provide at least two or more different types of authentication factors before granting access to an account or system. These factors typically fall into three categories:

  • Something you know (like a password or PIN).
  • Something you have (such as a smartphone or hardware token).
  • Something you are (like a fingerprint or facial recognition).

MFA is a powerful defense mechanism against unauthorized access, making it significantly harder for cybercriminals to breach your accounts and ensure your digital world remains safeguarded.

Number 1: Time-Based One-Time Passcode with a Token

Anyone who uses Microsoft Authenticator to access the M365 web portal or uses their Microsoft password for single sign-on knows what this is. You sign into the application or web portal, and the application will send a token, usually a number, that you must enter into an authenticator on a separate device, usually your phone.

Token-based Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a robust security method for keeping your online accounts safe. It's powerful because it requires two things to log in: something you know (like a password) and something you have (a unique device or app). 

Number 2: Time-Based One-Time Passcode (Without Token)

When people hear MFA, Time-Based One-Time Passcode Multi-Factor Authentication (TOTP MFA) is most likely what they think of. It generates unique codes on your smartphone or another device every 30 seconds. These codes are needed along with your password to log in. Since the codes change so frequently, it's extremely tough for anyone to access your account without the correct code, even if they know your password. TOTP MFA adds an extra layer of security to keep your information safe from cyberattacks.

TOTP MFA is vital because it combines multiple layers of security, including time-sensitive codes and the need for physical possession of a device, making it an effective defense against unauthorized access to your online accounts.

Number 3: Push Authentication

Push Authentication Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a secure way to protect your accounts. Instead of typing in a code, a notification is sent to your phone when you log in. You tap "Approve" to confirm or "Deny" to reject the login request. This real-time confirmation adds an extra layer of security, making it difficult for unauthorized users to access your accounts, even if they know your password. Push Authentication MFA is user-friendly and helps guard against phishing attempts, making it a robust choice for keeping your digital world secure.

Push Authentication Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a solid way to secure your accounts, but it has some limitations. It depends on the security of your phone or device, so if it gets lost or stolen, an attacker might gain access. It also needs a good internet connection to work and assumes you always have your device nearby and charged. You must actively approve logins, so you could accidentally approve a bad request if you're not careful. While it's safer than just using a password, it's not as independent as other MFA methods that don't rely on your device's security or an internet connection.

Number 4: Email Authentication

Here's how it typically works:

1. When you attempt to log in to an application or service, you enter your username and password as usual.

2.The system sends a one-time verification code to your registered email address.

3.You need to access your email, find the code, and enter it into the login page to complete the authentication process

Email-based MFA is relatively straightforward and user-friendly, relying on a familiar communication method (email). However, it is considered less secure than other MFA methods, such as TOTP or push notifications, because email accounts can be vulnerable to hacking. If an attacker gains access to your email, they could intercept the verification code. While it provides an additional layer of security compared to relying solely on a password, it may not be as robust as other MFA methods in high-security scenarios.

Number 5: text Message Authentication (SMS-based MFA)

SMS-based MFA typically works: After entering your username and password, you request MFA, and the system sends a one-time verification code to your registered mobile phone number via a text message. You receive the text message containing the code and enter it on the login page to complete the authentication process.

While SMS-based MFA is a straightforward and widely used method, it has some security concerns. It is less secure than other MFA methods, like TOTP or push notifications, because attackers can intercept or redirect SMS messages through techniques like SIM swapping or phishing attacks. Therefore, while it does provide an additional layer of security compared to using a password alone, it may be less robust in high-security scenarios. For enhanced security, many organizations and experts recommend using alternative MFA methods.

Right MFA for Your Business

Ultimately, the choice of MFA method depends on your specific needs and risk tolerance. Regardless of the flavor you prefer, embracing MFA in your digital life is essential. In an era where protecting our online presence is paramount, MFA is your ally in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. So, choose wisely, stay vigilant, and secure your digital world.

With years of expertise and a commitment to your security, DKBinnovative is your trusted partner in selecting the perfect MFA strategy tailored to your unique needs. Our cybersecurity professionals will assess your security requirements, guide you through the MFA landscape, and implement a solution that fits your company. With DKBinnovative by your side, you can confidently embrace the power of MFA, knowing that your organization's defenses are more vital than ever. 


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