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How to prevent authentication hacking attacks

(Last updated on June 3, 2020)

Long gone are the days of traditional passwords to access devices or sensitive details, like a bank account. Over the years, features have evolved drastically allowing us to access our information using our fingerprint or face recognition. But for many, this can be seen as a major breach of privacy.

With that in mind, security experts at Specops Software were curious to see the public’s opinion on new authentication methods by surveying 3,740 Brits about how comfortable they feel using biometric authentication methods, and how many would prefer using traditional passwords to unlock their devices.

Which authentication method are people most comfortable using?

Our research can reveal that individuals prefer traditional authentication methods over biometric authentications, with more than three quarters of Brits (78%) saying they feel most comfortable using just the traditional password. The token authentication method (where a small hardware device is used to authorize access to a network service) comes next with 7 in 10 (72%) saying they feel safest using it.

We can’t say the same about some of the most technologically advanced security measures, such as iris recognition and retina scans, as only 11% of people said they would feel comfortable using these authentication methods.

While fingerprint recognition is growing in popularity and many phone companies implementing this feature into their new smartphone devices, less than half (42%) of respondents said they feel truly comfortable using it.

How can I prevent an authentication hacking attack?

One of the main reasons for people being afraid of using certain authentication methods is a concern of their biometric data being hacked. With that in mind, here are Specops Software’s top tips on how to prevent authentication hacking attacks and how to keep your private information safe.

  1. Stay away from public Wi-Fi networks when logging into important accounts – Whilst using public Wi-Fi, you are more susceptible to Man-in-the-Middle attacks. Hackers can easily position themselves between your device and the connection/service, putting your accounts at risk.  
  2. Implement multi-factor authentication when possible – This will offer you extra security and make it much harder for hackers to crack both of your authentication methods. Possible combinations include: password and one-time-code, password and text message, password and fingerprint.
  3. Choose your password wisely – While you might be tired of hearing it, having a strong password is one of the most important steps in keeping your information safe. There are many types of password attacks, from brute-force attacks to dictionary attack, so we advise being more creative and staying away from “Password1234”. 
  4. Keep your device up-to-date – If you want to keep your information safe, keeping your device updated is an important step, especially if you are using biometric authentication methods like fingerprints or face recognition. These updates will offer you critical protection against hackers who will take advantage of older systems without security patches.
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