How to Safeguard User Identities in 2019?

by Paul Anand
on May 15th, 2019

A user identity consists of a user's personal details such as name, username, email, phone number, etc. But universities, educational institutions, and organizations store much more than just the basic data. This additional data could consist of users Social Security Number (SSN), residential address, regularly used apps, proprietary data of the educational institute or corporation, etc. So, with cyber-attacks on the increase, the question arises, “how to safeguard user data in 2019?”

The easy answer or solution to this problem, as suggested by most educational institutions or organizations, is to “change passwords”. But we all know that changing and setting different passwords for each of our regularly used websites or apps is next to impossible since we need to remember all the usernames and passwords. This evidently leads us to an alternate solution of setting the same or related passwords for most of our regularly used websites. However, this also makes the job of hackers easier. So, we come back to the million-dollar question, “how do we actually protect our online user identities?” Well, here are some solutions:

Switch to MFA

As established above, safeguarding identities by setting different passwords or protecting identities with a single password isn’t good enough. In this scenario, multi-factor authentication (MFA) emerges as a good alternative solution. With MFA users can put an alternate or additional barrier to their account. Users can opt for any of the multiple factors of authentications such as OTPs sent to their email/device or manually insert a YubiKey to their device or opt for a challenge question & answer.

MFA protects users from brute force attacks because a hacker would have to manually provide answer(s) to challenge question(s) or OTPs sent to the user’s email/device or insert a user's YubiKey. Hence, MFA will keep users protected.

Adopt Adaptive MFA

MFA is quite useful as it is, however, Adaptive MFA acts as an additional mode of verification that prompts the users for MFA when system detects any change in user behavior. This change can correspond to a change in user location, browser, device or time of login. It empowers you to identify and respond to high-risk logins, thereby securing user identities. 

“Shield” User Accounts

Last, but certainly not the least, brute force attacks have troubled the IT department of many educational institutions and organizations. However, the end user can be safeguarded against distributed denial of service (DDoS), and account takeover attacks. This can be done by blocking the IP addresses of the attacker upon multiple failed login attempts.

Institutions or organizations can make a huge difference in 2019 by switching to MFA, adopting Adaptive MFA and/or by Shielding user accounts. Make a bold statement against hackers this year by making a change in your university or corporate web portal. Safeguard the data of your students, alumni, staff and faculty members. “Adapt to Safer Technology”’