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The Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) is an authentication standard created by the FIDO Alliance. In UAF, a user who is authenticating to a service or solution will use one or more security factors on their devices (usually a cell phone) to release a private key that is used to sign a challenge issued by the FIDO UAF Server. The user verification mechanism on the device itself can be biometric, knowledge-based, or possession-based in order to unlock the private key.
This is essentially what Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is, where it uses two identification factors to authenticate a user. 2FA uses the two of the following identifiers:
- Something you know – Most often a password for your account.
- Something you have – Such as a cell phone with a temporary authentication code.
- Something you are – Such as your fingerprint or facial recognition.
FIDO UAF also contains constructs and specifications for creating and configuring different policies for authentication as well as transaction verification where the private key on the client device is used to sign various transaction data. This could include financial transaction amounts so that the information cannot be tampered with (verifying the data integrity) in the event that it is intercepted. This standard is leveraged by global organizations to improve security and user experience for both consumers and their workforce.
As of June 2022, this standard and FIDOs initiatives aren’t yet widely accepted and tested, read below for CyberHoot’s recommendations around authenticating users.
What does this mean for an SMB?
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, which itself is protected with strong two-factor authentication to open the password vault. Even once FIDO and UAF become more commonplace, SMBs will continue to possess accounts not tied to these authentication services, so your efforts to adopt CyberHoot’s prescriptions will serve you well for many years to come.
Beyond passwords, CyberHoot also recommends the following minimum essential cybersecurity best practices to build a robust, defense-in-depth, cybersecurity program.
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.
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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