For decades, knowledge-based authentication (KBA) has been at the forefront of cybersecurity measures employed by countless companies globally. Creating usernames and passwords has been the norm for people looking to create online accounts. Some platforms also require users to answer security questions they will later need to answer when accessing their accounts.
KBA became an industry standard for many years as it allows enterprises, especially in complex sectors like finance, to have reliable protection for customer accounts. However, the popularity of KBA has gradually decreased along with the growth of the digital sphere. The use of passwords and PINs for accessing an account now causes more friction between users and brands than ever, mainly due to the increased expectation for faster sign-in options and the industry’s over-reliance on text-based credentials.
The Threats to Knowledge-Based Credentials
Various factors have contributed to the diminishing reputation of KBA in the cybersecurity world. First, there are the rampant phishing attacks that swindlers do every day, and countless individuals still fall prey to this traditional online security concern. By posing as legitimate emails or texts from well-known brands, fraudsters can collect an endless amount of PIIs that they can use to access accounts or make transactions.
Apart from this, there are also some security questions where the answers can be easily searched on different social media platforms. There is also the possibility of hackers selling the PII or answer to security questions on the black market. And suppose an individual only uses one password for every online platform. In that case, compromising their credential will give swindlers an all-access pass to all the confidential information they can steal from the victim.
Move Beyond KBA with Biometrics
With the continuous increase of data breach and identity theft cases in the past decade, investing in robust knowledge-based authentication alternatives has become a priority for many companies. Many are pivoting to using multi-factor authentication (MFA), which ensures a high level of digital security. This combines KBA with other authentication forms, making cybersecurity more robust than ever.
One such form of user verification combined with KBA in MFA is biometrics. Here, the user must authenticate themselves using their biological data, such as fingerprints, face structure, or iris scans. The rise of biometrics as a preferred identity-proofing method can be attributed to biometrical information being hard to reproduce. It offers a faster yet highly secure way for individuals to verify their identities.
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