What is Broken Authentication? How to secure application authentication?

Broken authentication is another type of attack that people face these days with a lot of applications that they are using.

This kind of attack can take advantage of your accounts by some of the mistakes that you make and a few minor things that the application can let you cause. So overall this kind of attack happens due to user mistakes.

Any application that you use has a username and password or some other kind of login credentials that are required to allow access.so when someone gets holds of this information then they can access your account without your knowledge. This is called a broken authentication, where someone is able to break into your application without your permission.

Mostly we see this kind of attack by the people around you by the mean of phishing or social engineering. Sometimes unknowingly we share the details with someone who can use these details to get your login credentials.

How broken authentications works?

As you are aware of the term broken authentication now with a small introduction above, then let us understand this in more detail. Most of the applications we have to allow us to make our own login credentials like username, passwords, session tokens, etc. Along with that, these applications allow us to set up some recovery steps to recover this information in case we lost or forget this.

For broken authentication, a hacker either gets your password and username directly from you using phishing or social engineering or they use these recovery steps to break into your accounts.

These recovery steps normally are some questions that you set up and they are related to you like your birthday, mother name, your driving license number, etc.

The person who is trying to hack into your account tries to get hold of this information and then it becomes easy for him to use the recovery mechanism of the application to get your login details.

Some attackers use the hit and try tools to try thousands of username and passwords on your account and if by chance it works then they can get into your accounts.

How to prevent broken authentication attacks?

1. Complex and long passwords

This is the most common and easy step which every user should take and set up a strong and long password. Now, what makes a strong password is also important to know. You should not use a word or simple phrase. You should use a word, numbers, then variations of upper case and lowercase, a special character, etc.

As an application developer , we should also not allow users to setup a passwords that does not meet a high standard for protection and account security.

There are password generator tools available these days which generates random passwords with good complexity levels.

2. Strong encryption on Login Credentials

All the applications must not save the passwords in the forms it is entered by the users. Once the user sets their password then the application should encrypt it using a strong encryption algorithm and save it in the database. This provides an extra layer of security to the passwords.

Also when transmitting the passwords or sensitive credentials a website should use encrypted data only to avoid any attacks by the hackers to access this information from the network.

3. Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is the most used approach today for most of the applications where users are asked to verify their identity even though they enter the correct username and passwords. This is an additional layer to avoid broken authentication problems.

To make use of multi factor authentications users are asked to enter the one time passwords or Pins that gets generated on each login requests.

These one time passwords are sent by SMS or emails to the user and when user validates these OTPs then they gets access to the application.

Along with this, there are some standard applications are available which can be used to provide multi-factor authentication. Some of the most common applications are Google authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, etc. These applications show you some Pins that you were asked to enter before you could access your accounts.

Some of the devices allows you to have biological authentications also like your finger prints, face recognitions etc to authenticate your identity.