The first step businesses should take to protect their consumers, networks and financial accounts

(BPT) - The threat of cyberattacks has never been a higher priority for businesses. According to DarkReading.com, cyberattack attempts had already reached an all-time high during the fourth quarter of 2021, but these threats show no signs of slowing down. Malware attacks, phishing emails, account breaches and account takeovers are on the rise in the financial world, so having a secure but user-friendly authentication process for consumers is no longer nice to have, but a necessity. Banks and other financial institutions are investing heavily in authentication solutions to help keep customers safe. Spending over $1 billion a year (representing approximately 30% of their total security budget), banks are leading investors in these types of technologies.

But banks and corporations are no longer the only target. Increasingly, small-to-mid-size businesses are also at risk. All companies, regardless of size, should enhance security protocols to prevent breaches before they occur.

Boosting authentication protocols

The first step in securing financial accounts is authentication — making sure each person accessing their account (or the network) is who they claim to be. While usernames and passwords are popular and convenient methods for accessing bank accounts and other financial apps, they are not the safest ways to protect customer information. What’s more, if you use only one factor of authentication without including additional security methods, you’re putting your financial details — and that company’s network — at risk.

Cybercriminals are always seemingly one step ahead. If a fraudster is ever able to get a hold of your username or password, it can have lasting consequences on your financial future. The solution is requiring more than one means to verify your identity.

Multi-Factor Authentication 101

What are the best ways to protect your financial information? Identity and security experts at TeleSign, global leader in digital identity and fraud prevention, recommend applying what is called Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to help ensure your accounts are truly safe. MFA is a combination of multiple factors to prove that the one accessing the account is the owner of that account.

The easiest way to improve the security of your online accounts is to set up a second factor of authentication, also known as 2FA. It works like this: When you log into your account, an SMS One Time Password (OTP) is sent to your mobile phone. You enter this code in the login process, which shows that you have both the username and password, and possession of a phone that was registered to the account. That way, if your username and password is compromised, no one can access your account unless they have physical possession and access to your mobile phone.

This type of security is better than using a knowledge-based challenge like a password or your dog’s name, because both can be easily compromised. So much personal information is floating around the internet in today’s digital world, which unfortunately makes life easier for would-be hackers. For example, if you share your dog’s name on social media and then use that name to verify your bank account, it might create an opportunity for fraudsters to access your account. Simply stated, adopting 2FA is still the easiest way for you to protect your financial accounts.

Behind the scenes, financial companies are increasingly adopting digital identity checks that can quickly validate signals about your identity as well. These include how you last logged in, the device that is receiving the SMS code, or the IP address that is logging in. These “silent” factors help protect you as well to signal when something has changed and where access should be restricted or challenged to protect your information and accounts.

Worth the effort

Providing extra steps in the process of accessing accounts can be cumbersome but protecting your personal information in your bank account and other financial apps is critical to ensuring that your assets remain safe. Unfortunately, all types of accounts are potentially at risk for fraudulent activities, including buy-now-pay-later apps, investing platforms, insurance, and mortgage companies plus tax filing programs. While MFA security methods may seem time-consuming or inconvenient, taking those few extra minutes will help keep your most precious information secure, at the same time making business safer for everyone.

Companies need to strengthen their defenses

TeleSign’s technology uses complete in-depth data analysis to identify and prevent possible breaches, helping businesses set up and prepare fraud prevention solutions to create a frictionless, end-to-end customer journey. TeleSign’s solutions are trusted by some of the world’s largest platforms.

To learn how businesses can protect their networks and customers from fraud, cyberattacks and identity theft, visit TeleSign.com.

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