Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Adaptive Two-Factor Authentication: Is It All It’s Cracked up to Be? | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Adaptive authentication works by granting users access using just their user name and password if they are in a trusted location

It's a given that employee access to corporate systems should be both as secure and simple as possible. Up until recently however, time-strapped CIOs, under pressure from demanding staff and challenged with authenticating users all over the world on multiple devices, have been torn between relying on the fatally flawed password or hard token two-factor authentication (2FA) to keep their systems secure.

Recently, adaptive authentication has gained in popularity, as it reduces the time it takes to log-in by verifying a user based on their location. But is this the best solution?

Adaptive authentication works by granting users access using just their user name and password if they are in a trusted location. Although in theory this process makes it easier for a user to authenticate their identity, there are several issues with this technology, which many may not realise.

From an end-user prospective, they want speed, stability and consistency in their log-in methods. If a user attempts to verify their identity using adaptive authentication in a non-trusted location, they will be asked to use the full 2FA process. This will require them to enter a code generated on a soft or hard token depending on the technology used. If the user is using the full process less than once a week however, they are likely to run into complications - forgetting how the process works or even to bring their hard token if one is required.

Despite this, a small number of users, usually those who are based at home but travel frequently, login at multiple locations, multiple times a day. In this instance, adaptive authentication can prove its value, as a user will feel the benefit of a fast login process in trusted locations, whilst using the full 2FA process frequently enough to be familiar with it.

There are three ways of achieving adaptive authentication, and it's important for CIOs to consider the differences.

The first is to detect a user's geo position via their IP address. The process, called GeoIP, has its own issues. Internet service provides often change IP addresses of private users to prevent them from running their own servers at home. This means that when an IP address is switched, a user's location could appear to be somewhere 200 miles away, flagging them as now being in an unsecure location. The home of the user now assigned to the old IP address, has also suddenly become a trusted site.

Corporate offices and buildings will usually have just one external IP address and several internal addresses. These internal addresses are not made available externally, which means that to make a corporate location trusted, anyone in that office is then identified as a trusted user.

The second method is to use GPS location. This method requires an app to be installed on a user's mobile device. Whilst this is infinitely more precise, employers can track the location of their staff whenever the device is on, raising serious questions on privacy.

The future of adaptive outreach is to use the local base transceiver station's GSM Cell ID to identify the location of a user's mobile phone, and therefore verify their identity. With this method, neither the organisation, nor the two-factor authentication security provider knows the location of the user. Instead, the security provider sends a request to the mobile operator asking whether a user's mobile phone is within a trusted cell. The operator will simultaneously come back and say either yes or no, never revealing which cell they are in. If no, the user will be prompted so sign in using the full 2FA method.

Individuals already trust their mobile network provider to keep their location secure, and this way their location data never leaves its sphere of trust.

The ultimate solution for both the CIO and the end-user's needs is an authentication method that's so quick, simple and secure, there's no need for it to be adaptive. Near Field Communication (NFC)-based mobile authentication for example, can securely transfer all the information required to enable a browser to start up, connect to the required URL, and then automatically enter the user id, password and second factor passcode in one seamless logon.

NFC isn't just limited to mobile phones either. Wearable technology, highly personal in nature, can also be utilised, enabling users to authenticate using their smart watch by simply tapping their wrists against a corresponding device.

This effectively creates a solution that's even quicker than entering a simple user name and password. The CIO is then safe in the knowledge that their end points are covered, and the user is happy authenticating their way. So question, is adaptive authentication as secure as it should be an everything its cracked up to be?

More: http://www.scmagazineuk.com/

More Stories By Steve Watts

Steve Watts is co-founder of SecurEnvoy. He brings 25 years’ of industry experience to his role at the helm of Sales & Marketing for SecurEnvoy. He founded the company with Andrew Kemshall in 2003 and still works tirelessly to grow the company in new and established markets. His particular value is market and partner strategy; having assisted in the development and design of the products, designed the pricing strategy and recurring revenue model that has been so key to the businesses growth and success.

Before starting SecurEnvoy, Steve was responsible for setting up nonstop IT, the UK’s first IT security reseller in 1994. Prior to setting out on his own, Steve worked as Sales Director at the networking and IT division of Comtec, and had started his career in office solution sales in 1986.

Outside of work, Steve is a keen rugby fan. He also enjoys sailing, mountain biking, golf and skiing

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...