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Fast Identity Online (FIDO) is a set of technology security specifications for strong authentication. FIDO is developed by the FIDO Alliance, a non-profit organization that seeks to standardize authentication at the client and protocol layers. FIDO specifications support Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and public-key cryptography. Unlike password databases, FIDO stores Personally-Identifying Information (PII), such as biometric authentication data, locally on the user’s device to protect it.
FIDO’s local storage of biometrics and other personal identification is intended to ease user concerns about personal data stored on an external server in the cloud. By abstracting the protocol implementation with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), FIDO also reduces the work required for developers to create secure logins for mobile clients running different Operating Systems (OS) on different types of hardware.
FIDO supports the Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) and the Universal Second Factor (U2F) protocols. With UAF, the client device creates a new key pair during registration with an online service and retains the private key; the public key is registered with the online service. During authentication, the client device proves possession of the private key to the service by signing a challenge, which involves a user–friendly primary authentication factor action such as providing a fingerprint, entering a PIN, taking a selfie, or speaking into a microphone.
With U2F, authentication requires a strong second factor such as a Near Field Communication (NFC) tap or USB security token. The user is prompted to insert and touch their personal U2F device during login. The user’s FIDO-enabled device creates a new key pair, and the public key is shared with the online service and associated with the user’s account. The service can then authenticate the user by requesting that the registered device sign a challenge with the private key.
What does this mean for an SMB or MSP?
This means that you should continue following CyberHoot’s recommendations regarding cybersecurity and authentication processes until these passwordless options become widely available, tested. and generally accepted. Until then, require 14 character, non-complex, and non-expiring passwords, stored in a password manager, itself protected with strong two-factor authentication. Beyond passwords, CyberHoot recommends the following minimum essential cybersecurity recommendations.
CyberHoot’s Minimum Essential Cybersecurity Recommendations
The following recommendations will help you and your business stay secure with the various threats you may face on a day-to-day basis. All of the suggestions listed below can be gained by hiring CyberHoot’s vCISO Program development services.
- Govern employees with policies and procedures. You need a password policy, an acceptable use policy, an information handling policy, and a written information security program (WISP) at a minimum.
- Train employees on how to spot and avoid phishing attacks. Adopt a Learning Management system like CyberHoot to teach employees the skills they need to be more confident, productive, and secure.
- Test employees with Phishing attacks to practice. CyberHoot’s Phish testing allows businesses to test employees with believable phishing attacks and put those that fail into remedial phish training.
- Deploy critical cybersecurity technology including two-factor authentication on all critical accounts. Enable email SPAM filtering, validate backups, and deploy DNS protection, antivirus, and anti-malware on all your endpoints.
- In the modern Work-from-Home era, make sure you’re managing personal devices connecting to your network by validating their security (patching, antivirus, DNS protections) or prohibiting their use entirely.
- If you haven’t had a risk assessment by a 3rd party in the last 2 years, you should have one now. Establishing a risk management framework in your organization is critical to addressing your most egregious risks with your finite time and money.
- Buy Cyber-Insurance to protect you in a catastrophic failure situation. Cyber-Insurance is no different than Car, Fire, Flood, or Life insurance. It’s there when you need it most.
Each of these recommendations, except cyber-insurance, is built into CyberHoot’s product and virtual Chief Information Security Officer services. With CyberHoot you can govern, train, assess, and test your employees. Visit CyberHoot.com and sign up for our services today. At the very least continue to learn by enrolling in our monthly Cybersecurity newsletters to stay on top of current cybersecurity updates.
To learn more about FIDO, watch this short 2-minute video:
CyberHoot does have some other resources available for your use. Below are links to all of our resources, feel free to check them out whenever you like:
- Cybrary (Cyber Library)
- Press Releases
- Instructional Videos (HowTo) – very helpful for our SuperUsers!
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