Cloud account takeover has become a significant problem for organisations. Think about how much work your company does that requires a username and password. Employees have to log in to many different systems or cloud apps.
Hackers use various methods to get those login credentials. The goal is to gain access to business data as a user. As well as launch sophisticated attacks, and send insider phishing emails.
How bad has the problem of account breaches become? Between 2019 and 2021, account takeover (ATO) rose by 307%.
Many organisations and individuals use multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s a way to stop attackers that have gained access to their usernames and passwords. MFA has been very effective at protecting cloud accounts for many years.
But it’s that effect that has spurred workarounds by hackers. One of these nefarious ways to get around MFA is push-bombing.
When users enable MFA on an account, they typically receive a code or authorisation prompt of some type. The user enters their login credentials. Then the system sends an authorisation request to the user to complete their login.
The MFA code or approval request usually comes through a “push” message. Users can receive it in a few ways:
Receiving that notification is a normal part of the multi-factor authentication login. It’s something the user would be familiar with.
With push-bombing, hackers start with the user’s credentials. They may get them through phishing or a significant data breach password dump.
They take advantage of that push notification process. Hackers attempt to log in many times; this sends the legitimate user several push notifications, one after the other.
Many people question the receipt of an unexpected code that they didn’t request. But when someone is bombarded with these, it can be easy to click to approve access mistakenly.
Push-bombing is a form of social engineering attack designed to:
Knowledge is power. When a user experiences a push-bombing attack, it can be disruptive and confusing. If employees have education beforehand, they’ll be better prepared to defend themselves.
Let employees know what push-bombing is and how it works. Train them on what to do if they receive MFA notifications they didn’t request.
You should also give your staff a way to report these attacks; this enables your IT security team to alert other users. They can then also take steps to secure everyone’s login credentials.
On average, employees use 36 different cloud-based services per day. That’s a lot of logins to keep up with. The more logins someone has to use, the greater the risk of a stolen password.
Take a look at how many applications your company uses. Look for ways to reduce app “sprawl” by consolidating. Platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer many tools behind one login. Streamlining your cloud environment improves security and productivity.
You can thwart push-bombing attacks by moving to a different form of MFA. Phishing-resistant MFA uses a device passkey or physical security key for authentication.
There is no push notification to approve this type of authentication. This solution is more complex to set up but also more secure than text or app-based MFA.
To send several push notifications, hackers must have the user’s login. Enforcing strong password policies reduces the chance that a password will get breached.
Standard practices for strong password policies include:
Advanced identity management solutions can also help you prevent push-bombing attacks. They will typically combine all logins through a single sign-on solution. Users have just one login and MFA prompt to manage rather than several.
Additionally, businesses can use identity management solutions to install contextual login policies. These enable a higher level of security by adding access enforcement flexibility. The system could automatically block login attempts outside a desired geographic area. It could also block logins during certain times or when other contextual factors aren’t met.
Multi-factor authentication alone isn’t enough. Companies need several layers of protection to reduce their risk of a cloud breach.
Are you looking for some help to reinforce your access security? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.
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