Endpoint

5/17/2018
05:42 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

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.
Previous
1 of 8
Next

(Image: Golubovystock via Shutterstock)

(Image: Golubovystock via Shutterstock)

Two-factor authentication is common but hackable. If you haven't implemented 2FA, there's a good chance you're in the process. It's a growing best practice, especially in the workplace where growing stores of sensitive data demand employees strengthen their login security.

But 2FA isn't a guaranteed shield against cyberattacks. It can be bypassed, as most recently demonstrated by KnowBe4 chief hacking officer Kevin Mitnick in a hack last week. Mitnick used a phishing attack to prompt users for their LinkedIn credentials. When they were entered into the fake login page, the attacker could access their username, password, and session cookie. When Mitnick plugged the target's session cookie into his browser, he didn't need the second-factor code to log into the LinkedIn account.

Cracking 2FA isn't new; hackers have presented these types of exploits as concepts at conferences like Black Hat. But Mitnick's demo put the code into context for everyday users and showed them their second factor is hackable.

A challenge with implementing two-factor authentication is enforcing a policy that employees may consider inconvenient.

"It's always a matter of trying to balance usability and security," says Joe Diamond, director of security product management at Okta. Most companies err on the side of usability to stay on employees' good sides, but they run the risk of neglecting stronger security factors.

Here, we take a closer look at cyberattacks that can bypass two-factor authentication: how they are done, when they typically happen, which methods are most and least common, and how you can protect your employees from these types of exploits.

 

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Previous
1 of 8
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
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).
RyanSepe
0%
100%
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. 
What We Talk About When We Talk About Risk
Jack Jones, Chairman, FAIR Institute,  7/11/2018
Ticketmaster Breach Part of Massive Payment Card Hacking Campaign
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  7/10/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Locked device, Ha! I knew there was another way in.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-10886
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-16
ant before version 1.9.12 unzip and untar targets allows the extraction of files outside the target directory. A crafted zip or tar file submitted to an Ant build could create or overwrite arbitrary files with the privileges of the user running Ant.
CVE-2018-10859
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-16
git-annex is vulnerable to an Information Exposure when decrypting files. A malicious server for a special remote could trick git-annex into decrypting a file that was encrypted to the user's gpg key. This attack could be used to expose encrypted data that was never stored in git-annex
CVE-2018-14324
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-16
The demo feature in Oracle GlassFish Open Source Edition 5.0 has TCP port 7676 open by default with a password of admin for the admin account. This allows remote attackers to obtain potentially sensitive information, perform database operations, or manipulate the demo via a JMX RMI session, aka a &q...
CVE-2018-14325
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-16
In MP4v2 2.0.0, there is an integer underflow (with resultant memory corruption) when parsing MP4Atom in mp4atom.cpp.
CVE-2018-14326
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-16
In MP4v2 2.0.0, there is an integer overflow (with resultant memory corruption) when resizing MP4Array for the ftyp atom in mp4array.h.