To Protect Your Company, Think Like A Hacker

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To Protect Your Company, Think Like A Hacker


We live in a digital world which requires us to have a variety of online accounts. Our online accounts vary in use, from online bank accounts and social media to online shopping accounts. All these accounts are prone to hacking attacks.

What are companies and financial institutions doing to protect their clients? Companies can introduce various identity verification techniques as a measure of fraud prevention, but criminals are getting smarter. Let’s examine how a criminal might breach verification defenses.

Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA)

KBA determines how accurately an applicant answers questions about their financial, consumer or personal history. It typically requires knowledge of personal information to gain access to secure material. There are two different types of KBA: static and dynamic. Static KBA is based on shared secret questions. This data is onboarded only once and has standard, consistent answers to questions like “What was your first pet's name?” Dynamic KBA is based on answering questions pulled from a wide base of personal information. The questions are ever-changing. For example, “What was your last deposit at Chase Bank?” Dynamic KBA questions are spontaneously generated in real-time.

How Criminals Bypass KBA: Data breaches of personal details such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and even credit reports can be purchased for a small fee on the dark web. Criminals can use this purchased information to bypass verification systems when they are asked to input answers to these personal questions to verify and authenticate themselves. Plus, in the age of social media, fraudsters have even more access to information about the everyday lives of their targeted victims. It becomes very easy for criminals to steal information online.

Two-Factor Authentication

To make KBA more secure, two-factor authentication was developed. After entering a username and password, the user is logged in and a token is sent via text message to the user’s cell phone. Token input will give users access to their accounts.

How Criminals Bypass Two-Factor Authentication: There are a couple of ways expert criminals can bypass two-factor authentication.

The first is a phishing attack. In this case, fraudsters start by texting an account holder that suspicious activity has been noticed on one of their accounts. The text requests that users reply with a 6-digit verification code, which they should receive shortly. The criminal then begins the two-factor authentication process. When the user receives the code, they send it back to the hacker through the original text message. With this information, the hacker suddenly has access to the account.

There are also flaws in mobile networks that can allow criminals to intercept data coming into and out of a smartphone. Criminals can infect a user’s computer with malware and perform this type of attack. While the attack takes place, they wait for the user to perform two-factor authentication. Those codes are intercepted by the hacker and used to gain access to an account.

Fingerprint-Scanning Authentication

Fingerprint scanning has been hailed as an effective tool for reliable identity verification. Fingerprint scanning relies on unique fingerprint patterns for verification. This pattern is saved as an encrypted biometric key. From there it compares this pattern with a pre-saved pattern in its system. If the patterns match, the fingerprint passes the verification process.

How Criminals Bypass Fingerprint Scanning: You thought a fingerprint scan was unbreachable? Not anymore. Criminals have overcome fingerprint scanning security measures by using photos of a finger. The photos are of normal quality and taken with a regular camera. They put these photos through a publicly available software program to create an accurate thumbprint, which is then printed. From there on, ordinary latex or white wood glue can be smeared onto the photo and allowed to dry. Once it is cured, the glue is carefully removed from the sheet. With this type of fingerprint dupe, criminals can hack into accounts that are secured by this kind of biometrics.

Voice-Recognition Authentication

Voice recognition checks customers' unique voice characteristics to determine their identity.

Voice biometrics capture a speech sample from a customer to create a baseline voice print. Once this baseline has been established, the customer simply provides another speech sample for comparison. The technology uses a significance level to determine whether a voice matches against the baseline.

How Criminals Bypass Voice-Recognition Authentication: Criminals can bypass voice-recognition software with some simple hacks. If they obtain a voice sample of the user they are trying to target, it can be used during the voice-authentication process. This will immediately give them access to the user’s account since the system cannot detect that the voice being authenticated is a recording. Plus, if the baseline voice files are not secure, they can be breached and stolen by criminals as well.

The Best Way To Increase Account Security

Clearly, our online accounts are vulnerable. Current fraud prevention methods do not provide complete account protection as they should. Criminals can easily overcome a lot of the typical barriers put in place for account security.

Biometrics are not the solution either. As demonstrated above, there are ways to overcome these verification methods. While they are more secure than traditional KBA or two-factor authentication protocols, they do not provide complete account security. These limitations should be considered when designing a fraud-prevention strategy that will include the use of biometric authentication.

Avoid single-layered security approaches. They can easily be thwarted by criminals. To secure customer accounts, companies should deploy a multilayered risk approach. Using a variety of security measures — for example, static KBA and biometric fingerprint — companies ensure more complete security against account fraud. It is less likely for criminals to be able to bypass multiple security measures rather than just one.

To prevent hacking attacks, we need to think like a hacker.



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