If there’s only one cybersecurity statistic you pay attention to today, this is definitely it: C-level executives and senior managers say that their digital plans were accelerated by up to a decade in just six months thanks to the impact of COVID-19—and not just to accommodate their employees working from home.
More Consumers Online Means More Cybercrime
This forced shift to digital is part of a larger effort to keep up with the 45% to 100% growth in U.S. consumers who now make most or all of their purchases online. Executives say a response to this new level of demand for online services and digital products would have taken over 18 months. Instead, most businesses did it in an average of three weeks.
That means hundreds of thousands of online retailers, banks, healthcare firms and various service providers had just six months to develop, plan and implement 10 years’ worth of digital security—something that cybercriminals have taken advantage of, as evidenced by the recent 400% spike in brute-force cyberattacks and the FBI now receiving 3,000 – 4,000 daily cybersecurity-related complaints from U.S. businesses instead of their usual average of 1,000 per day.
With all these alarming numbers, one thing is painfully clear: Companies that don’t take action to upgrade their security measures are playing a dangerous game to the tune of a possible $3.92 million—the average cost of a data breach.
How Quickly Will Things Get Better?
Hoping to escape this recent uptick in cybercrime unscathed isn’t a solid business plan—this won’t end anytime soon. The reason that cybercriminals keep attacking is because they regularly succeed. And with businesses struggling to keep up with the recent acceleration in digitalization, cybercriminals are going to continue to step up attacks until overall security measures get ahead of their game.
Complicating matters, human error is as much to blame for these successful attacks as are outdated security measures, and that’s something that will never go away. The best, or worst, example of these two factors (outdated security and human error) colliding can be found in the once-mighty password—easily forgotten, easily guessed and easily stolen.
And while 98% of companies do recognize the need for strong authentication, a staggering 41% of them still think the username/password combo is one of the most effective tools for access management. It’s not. The simple truth is that businesses that over-rely on passwords increase their risk of credential stuffing and phishing attacks.
The Choice Between Now and the Future
With that in mind, there are security measures more modern than passwords that businesses can implement in order to help lower their risk of cybercrime. Two that are getting a lot of attention since the pandemic began are two-factor authentication (2FA) and multifactor authentication (MFA).
- 2FA – With 2FA, in order to access your account, you generally must satisfy two of three factors: something you know (e.g., password, pin number), something you have (e.g., your phone, a credit card) or something you are (e.g., fingerprint, facial recognition).
- MFA – For MFA, you have to satisfy multiple factors of identification in order to access your account. This can be two, three, four, etc. The more identification factors you meet, the more secure your account is generally considered.
To be clear, these are both modern solutions to modern cybercrime, and by themselves, are more secure than passwords alone. But as mentioned above, digitalization has been accelerated by up to a decade in just six months—what businesses need to do is get ahead of today’s cybercriminals, not just catch up to their modern hacking techniques with modern methods of authentication. The best way to do that is with an authentication method that is accelerated in its own right.
Network-Based Authentication Helps Prevent Cybercrime
ZenKey represents the future of identity authentication because it not only leverages something you have, something you know and something you are, but it also adds another factor of security that cybercriminals simply cannot access—a factor that’s associated with something almost every person already carries around with them: their smartphone.
ZenKey uses factors such as SIM card tenure, provider account status and other proprietary identifiers to give businesses a highly secure way to authenticate and authorize their customers, while giving users an easier, faster and safe way to interact with your business.