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5/17/2018
05:42 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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Cracking 2FA: How It's Done and How to Stay Safe

Two-factor authentication is a common best security practice but not ironclad. Here's how it can be bypassed, and how you can improve security.
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Social Engineering Attacks: When and Who
'The most obvious, and the way the majority of attackers go after two-factor authentication, is via social engineering types of attacks,' says Steve Manzuik, director of security research at Duo Security. Attackers who want to bypass the second factor typically steal it from their victims.
'I'd be shocked if we found a two-factor vendor who wasn't generating those codes securely,' he says. This isn't to say someone hasn't done it wrong, he continues, but most companies do it well. This motivates attackers to take codes from their victims instead of generating their own.
These are specially targeted attacks, he continues. 'One of the big misconceptions is people assume attacking two-factor is something that can happen on a mass scale ... because of the way two-factor works, it's more of a targeted attack scenario.'
The target of a 2FA attack depends on the attacker's motivations. If your organization has execs or senior engineers you've identified as likely targets, they probably are. 'A smart attacker is going to target the people who have access to whatever they're trying to get at,' Manzuik says.
(Image: Golubovy via Shutterstock)

Social Engineering Attacks: When and Who

"The most obvious, and the way the majority of attackers go after two-factor authentication, is via social engineering types of attacks," says Steve Manzuik, director of security research at Duo Security. Attackers who want to bypass the second factor typically steal it from their victims.

"I'd be shocked if we found a two-factor vendor who wasn't generating those codes securely," he says. This isn't to say someone hasn't done it wrong, he continues, but most companies do it well. This motivates attackers to take codes from their victims instead of generating their own.

These are specially targeted attacks, he continues. "One of the big misconceptions is people assume attacking two-factor is something that can happen on a mass scale ... because of the way two-factor works, it's more of a targeted attack scenario."

The target of a 2FA attack depends on the attacker's motivations. If your organization has execs or senior engineers you've identified as likely targets, they probably are. "A smart attacker is going to target the people who have access to whatever they're trying to get at," Manzuik says.

(Image: Golubovy via Shutterstock)

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RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2018 | 10:18:28 AM
Phishing
As a Security Engineer, I always stress the dangers of phishing and this is a perfect example as to why. It subverts most of the security safeguards at an organization with minimal effort as it exploits an open medium. This is why there has been a very steady transition from server side attacks to client side attacks. 
NeverEnoughToys
100%
0%
NeverEnoughToys,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2018 | 4:07:11 PM
That's not really cracking 2FA
Most of these aren't about cracking 2FA.  They are about bypassing 2FA.  The SS7 and SMS type examples could be argued as cracking, but they are really about breaking into SS7/SMS - the 2FA compromise is simply a welcome result or side effect. 

SMS is not secure and should never have been used for 2FA, but convenience wins (as the article points out).  Time based generators are much more secure (yep, and less convenient).
williamconor
50%
50%
williamconor,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/17/2018 | 11:14:11 AM
Cracking the SS7 Network
NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued guidance that found SMS insecure and no longer suitable as a strong authentication mechanism...

I am using WebADM Multi-Factor Authentication with Hardware Token (U2F) and Hardware Security Modules (HSM) in order to comply with the highest security requirements...

This Security Solution from RCDevs is like a Swiss Army Knife.

It is even free up to 40 users.
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