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Muti-factor Authentication: Best practices to avoid SMS Hacks



In today's digital age, it's crucial to have strong security measures in place to protect our personal and sensitive information. The use of multi-factor authentication (MFA), which involves using two or more forms of verification to access an account, is critical in today's complicated threat landscape. One of the most common forms of MFA is SMS verification, where a code is sent to a user's phone via text message. However, SMS verification is not foolproof, and hackers have found ways to exploit it.


Some of the exploits for SMS-based MFA that are becoming more prevalent include:

  1. SMS interception: Hackers can intercept SMS messages meant for the victim's phone by using a rogue base station or other methods. This allows them to receive the MFA code and access the victim's accounts.

  2. SIM swapping: Hackers can convince mobile carriers to transfer a victim's phone number to a SIM card under their control. Once the victim's phone number is redirected to the hacker's SIM card, the hacker can receive SMS messages, including MFA codes, meant for the victim. This allows the hacker to bypass SMS MFA and access the victim's accounts.

  3. Phishing attacks: Hackers can send phishing messages that mimic legitimate MFA codes or other security alerts. Once the victim enters the code into a fraudulent website, the hacker can capture the code and use it to access the victim's accounts.

  4. Social engineering: Hackers can trick victims into providing MFA codes through social engineering tactics. For example, they may pose as a service provider and ask the victim to provide their MFA code as part of a fake security check.

Because hackers have found various ways to exploit SMS MFA and gain unauthorized access to user accounts, it is important to be aware of these threats and take necessary precautions to protect your accounts......

Best practices to avoid SMS multifactor hacks and keep your accounts secure include:

  1. Using an authenticator app: Instead of relying on SMS verification use an authenticator app to generate one-time codes that can be used for MFA. Authenticator apps, such as Google Authenticator and Authy, are more secure than SMS verification as they are not susceptible to SIM swaps or interception by hackers.

  2. Avoid using SMS verification on public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being unsecured and are therefore a prime target for hackers. When using public Wi-Fi, avoid using SMS verification as the data can be intercepted, making it easier for hackers to access your account.

  3. Avoid using SMS verification on international trips: When traveling internationally, avoid using SMS verification as it may not work due to differences in mobile networks. This can leave your account vulnerable to hackers, who can exploit the lack of MFA to gain access to your account.

  4. Keep your phone number secure: Hackers can steal your phone number through SIM swaps, which involves tricking your mobile carrier into transferring your phone number to their device. Once they have your phone number, they can intercept your SMS verification codes and gain access to your accounts. To prevent this, contact your mobile carrier and enable additional security measures, such as a PIN or password, to protect your phone number.

  5. Use a strong and unique password: A strong and unique password is the foundation of good security. Avoid using common or easily guessable passwords, such as "password123" or your birthdate. Instead, use a password manager to generate strong passwords and store them securely.

SMS verification is not the most secure form of MFA, and hackers have found ways to exploit it. By using an authenticator app, avoiding public Wi-Fi and international trips, keeping your phone number secure, and using a strong and unique password, you can significantly reduce the risk of SMS multifactor hacks and keep your accounts secure.


Concerned about your information security posture? principia/RAID Digital Security can help!


contact@principiaraid.com



Photo by Firmbee.com on Unplash




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