Last week the White House and a consortium of companies started campaign encouraging Americans to “lock down your logins.”
The campaign is part of President Obama’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan and also kicking off October, which is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The goal is to encourage Americans to move beyond user names and passwords and use two-factor authentication for cybersecurity when it’s available.
The site says biometrics, security keys and one-time passcodes can be used for multi-factor authentication. Here is also a list of 70 web sites with links to instructions on enabling additional security at those sites. The vast majority of the instructions involve setting up one-time passcodes to mobile devices.
Americans live their lives online. The need to for better cybersecurity is paramount as 73% of Americans go online daily and 20% are constantly connected. While online security is a concern, most are not aware of the different technologies that can help them secure their online accounts. The goal of this campaign is to educate them on how to do it.
The last few years have seen hackers pick up the pace on data breaches. We’re at a point where breaches don’t get reported unless it’s millions of records. The odds are that the vast majority of consumer passwords have been compromised. Enabling two-factor authentication – even via text messages – is a step in the right direction for consumers to better secure their online accounts.
This solution isn’t perfect. The past few years have been spent trying to come up with different options that enable consumers easy, secure and privacy enhancing online identities but we’re still a ways off.
“Lock down your login” is a solid step in the right direction that may help many consumer prevent account takeovers and other problems. In the meantime the White House, security companies and relying parties can keep working toward better options that will one day enable everyone easy and secure access online.