10:37 AM
Connect Directly

Phone-Based Authentication Helps Hunt Cybercriminals

Two-factor authentication is the centerpiece of one of the more interesting technologies at FOSE this week, one of those "why-haven't-I-thought-of-that-before" technologies.

Two-factor authentication is the centerpiece of one of the more interesting technologies at FOSE this week, one of those "why-haven't-I-thought-of-that-before" technologies.Phone Factor makes server-based software that rings an employee's phone as part of two-factor authentication and requires the employee to enter a PIN number to access their e-mail, intranet, SAP, or any other server-based application. While at first blush this seems like any other possible piece of two-factor authentication, Phone Factor makes for a particularly interesting scenario for a mobile worker backed by a thoughtful security team.

Say an employee is out of the office, whether on vacation or driving to work. A hacker logs into his company's software using the employee's login and password. Phone Factor, which is installed as an agent watching logins to the server and also is integrated with Active Directory, calls the employee on his mobile phone, tells him via voice prompt that someone has logged into such-and-such application, and asks for his PIN number.

Some online services, like PayPal, have begun doing similar things, like sending a PIN number via SMS to a user who then enters that PIN into a browser form.

In this case, here's where the interesting part comes in. If the second factor of a two-factor authentication is a thumbprint or a USB key, the process would likely be over at this point, because it would likely require too much work for a hacker to reproduce a specific thumbprint or also steal a relevant USB key. However, since the second factor here is pro-active, the employee whose log-in is being used has the chance to notify his employer that someone is falsely using his log-in. With Phone Factor, the employee just hits #5 on his telephone keypad and that tells the employer that the log-in is fraudulent.

Innovative security organizations can take this one step further, Phone Factor sales senior VP Christopher Marshall notes. One financial institution that is a customer of Phone Factor, for example, sets up a honeypot whenever there's a false log-in, trapping the hacker inside a mock-up version of its site, even populating the site with false financial figures to keep the hacker thinking he's just struck gold. With the hacker still logged in, the security team swoops in, trying to pinpoint the hacker in a bid to aid law enforcement and figure out exactly who and where the hacker is.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
5 Security Technologies to Watch in 2017
Emerging tools and services promise to make a difference this year. Are they on your company's list?
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.