Authentication allows the organization to enable security features in the system. It allows only authenticated people to access the data and protects the resources from intruders or hackers. User authentication verifies the user identity.
There are three types of authentication: single-factor authentication, two-factor authentication, and multi-factor authentication.
We have discussed single factor authentication with its types, pros, cons, and risks.
Table of Contents
- What is Single Factor Authentication?
- Single Factor Authentication Types
- Single Factor Authentication Pros and Cons
- Why is Single-factor Authentication Not Enough Protection?
- Single Factor Vs Multi-Factor Authentication
- Single Factor Authentication Risk
What is Single Factor Authentication?
As the name represents single factor authentication means the process through which it secured any system requires only one factor to identify the person requesting access.
Single-factor authentication allows a person based on only one factor that matches and supports the person’s identity. Among other authentication method types, this is the usually used method.
SFA includes authorization through passwords, knowledge by asking some questions, biometric, or any other single factor.
This is a traditional authentication system. Single Factor authentication depends on the mutual trust between the user and service.
It depends on the user that how strong the password he keeps the password and able to protect them from hackers.
Sometimes a problem arises when one keeps the same password for every account, and it results in the hacking of every account.
Single Factor Authentication Types
There are no specific types of single-factor authentication, but it has three factors on which it sets up authentication. These factors are:
Something You Know
Something you know is the most used factor of SFA. It includes a PIN and password with a username. One should set a strong and unique PIN/password.
Strong Password is a mixture of lowercase, uppercase, and special characters. Sometimes when we have to put a password, we prefer a simpler one or a longer one those both are not safe.
As simpler, something can hack it easily, and we can forget the longer one. So, always choose a password with a pattern that is easy to remember and difficult to crack.
Something You Have
Something you have involves any smart card, token, credit cards, and identity cards. This factor is applicable where there are smart card readers or embedded identity certificates in other cards.
Tokens have an LED light for displaying synchronizing to authenticate. It is a factor of single-factor authentication that gives a timespan to perform a task, and one has to re-synchronize after that period.
Something You Are
Something you are a factor in is what you can provide for authentication. The most common method of this factor is a biometric method.
The strongest method of authentication. It does not get leaked, hacked, or stolen. But this may not work if the system/scanner does not perform well.
Single Factor Authentication Examples
Single-factor authentication examples or applications include:
- Signing in two different apps using a password
- WhatsApp PIN verification
- Biometric systems
- Smart cards
- Token generation system
Single Factor Authentication Pros and Cons
There are three types of authentication: Single-factor authentication, two-factor authentication, and multifactor authentication.
Each type has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Single-Factor Authentication
- Simplicity: It is the simplest authentication process.
- Easy to Use: SFA is easy as you only have to clear one process
- Less Time: Single-factor reduces the time consumption.
- Independent: It does not need user cooperation.
- Strong: This is a sound method of authentication
- Non-troublesome: It makes the process hassle-free.
- RDP: it is defensive against RDP.
Cons of Single-Factor Authentication
- Data Breaching: Research shows that data breaching is high in SFA.
- Leak: It can leak passwords. Someone can steal the password using a keylogger or screen capture.
- Hack: Weak password results in hacking. They then used these passwords for phishing attempts.
- Blackmailing: Once someone stole the data, he/she can blackmail you.
- Affects Reputation: Data exploitation will negatively affect the reputation of the organization.
- Security: It is less secure.
- Access to Different Apps: Reusing passwords is dangerous, as a hacker can quickly access data of other applications as well.
Why is Single-factor Authentication Not Enough Protection?
No doubt single-factor authentication is easy and saves time, but it is not enough. The reason for declaring it not enough is that the ratio of hacking of social media profiles or other accounts is because of the less secure password, or we keep the same password for every application.
If someone knows your password, PIN, or takes your smart ID card then he can do illegal tasks and in return, you will be punished. Weak passwords or sharing PINs with others can breach data.
Biometric systems are stronger authentication systems, but they need a properly functioning hardware system; if it does not work well, biometric is of no use.
Single Factor Vs Multi-Factor Authentication
- Single-factor requires only one factor for authentication, while multifactor takes 2-3 steps to authenticate the person.
- In SFA, factors are password, fingerprint, or smart card. In MFA, once you enter a password, it will ask for another code sent on the email or number.
- In SFA user is not in control of factors, while in MFA users are in control of factors.
- There is a risk of keyloggers in single-factor authentication while there is no risk of keyloggers in multifactor authentication.
Single Factor Authentication Risk
Single-factor authentication is both secure and insecure. Its security depends on the password or PIN you are using and how you are keeping your smart ID card safe.
Except for all the precautions, there is a colossal risk in SFA. SFA is vulnerable to phishing, theft, keylogger, and force attacks.
Hacker can penetrate all your applications once he gets the password of anyone. So, there is a data exploitation risk as well.
Single Factor authentication is a reliable process. Sometimes it does not work because of the poor selection of passwords, the same Pin or password for all apps, and sharing them with others.
Always take measures of the consequences and follow the best practices to protect your system and data.
What one can do is set a strong password, use patterns in it so you can remember it easily, try to have different passwords/PINs for every app and do not save or share it with anyone.
Also, Checkout Rule Based Access Control Model Best Practices