Protecting Your Business from MFA Fatigue Attacks

Shimon Sorga 16-Feb-2023 09:03:00
Example of Mutli-Factor Authentication

With cybercrime at an all-time high, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) has become a standard security practice among businesses of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are savvy and unrelenting. They’ve developed a simple yet effective trick for bypassing MFA Authenticator Apps via a method known as an MFA Fatigue Attack.

MFA fatigue attacks are a real threat, but with the proper protections in place, you can ensure that your business is secure and your data is safe. This blog will help you understand the threat and outline the best strategies to protect your business. But first, let’s remind ourselves exactly why we should still use MFA.

Benefits of MFA for Businesses

MFA provides businesses with an additional layer of security that can help to prevent unauthorised access. Instead of just passwords, which can be passed around, duplicated, and stolen, multi-factor authentication requires a mixture of two or more things. What the user knows (a password), what the user has (a security token), and who the user is (a secure biometric verification). Making it more challenging for hackers to gain access to a system.

You also benefit from better security controls over who has access to your files and helps meet regulatory requirements. From a hacker’s point of view, you can see why bypassing MFA is lucrative.

What is an MFA Fatigue Attack?

MFA fatigue is an attack that targets users using MFA for authentication. Rather than rely on human error, like a Phishing email, these types of attacks rely on human emotions.

During an attack, the hacker attempts to gain access to a system by bombarding the user with multiple authentication requests. The attacker’s goal is to wear down the user to the point where they become frustrated and approve the login attempt, allowing the attacker to gain access to the system.

MFA fatigue attacks can be hazardous for businesses, allowing hackers to access sensitive data or systems without detection. MFA fatigue attacks can also be challenging to detect, as they often appear as legitimate authentication requests. For this reason, businesses need to understand the risks associated with MFA fatigue attacks and take steps to protect their systems.

How to Avoid MFA Fatigue Attacks

The best way to protect against these attacks is to ensure that your systems are adequately secured. Here are a few tips to help you protect your business from MFA fatigue attacks:

  • Implement a robust MFA system: The first step to protecting your business from MFA fatigue attacks is to ensure that you have a strong MFA system in place. Choose a system that requires multiple authentication factors, such as a biometric and a code.
  • Limit authentication attempts: To reduce the risk of MFA fatigue attacks, limit the number of authentication attempts a user can make. This will ensure that attackers cannot bombard a user with multiple authentication requests.
  • Monitor user activity: Monitor user activity on your system to ensure that there are no suspicious activities. If you notice any unusual activity, take action to protect your system. You can deploy solutions such as SIEM and 24/7 SOC to do this for you.
  • Create a policy: To ensure that all staff members follow regulations, implement an MFA Policy.
  • Educate your employees: Educate them about the risks of MFA fatigue attacks and what they can do to protect themselves. Make sure they understand the importance of properly securing their accounts and authenticating them properly.

How to build a security-aware culture in your business 

At Netitude, we’ve recommended our clients move from the traditional single approve/decline button to Number matching. When a user responds to an MFA push notification using the Authenticator app, they’ll be presented with a number. They need to type that number into the app to complete the approval. Making it unlikely that anyone but the user can verify the login. It also stops the hacker from sending more prompts.

While MFA is the simplest way to secure your enterprise against many cyberattacks like phishing, credential stuffing, brute force and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, you still need a robust cybersecurity strategy. The best way to start is with a Security Audit to pinpoint gaps and weaknesses in your infrastructure and test if your cybersecurity safeguards are up to scratch.

At Netitude, our cyber security audit is designed around the controls outlined by the government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme, as well as some additional controls based on our own experience too. We'll write a report with your results, including our recommendations for next steps and present you with the information.

To get started on your cyber security journey, get in touch with one of our expert representatives and book a cyber security audit today.

Book a meeting