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Which Form of MFA Is the Most Secure?

By May 9, 2023May 12th, 2023No Comments

The prevalence of credential theft has reached an all-time high, and it is this type of attack that is most often to blame for data breaches.

A user’s password is the quickest and easiest way to carry out many different types of risky activities because data and business processes are now largely cloud-based.

Being logged in as a user can allow a criminal to send phishing emails to your staff and clients from your company account, especially if they have admin privileges. The hacker may also use ransomware to encrypt your cloud data and demand thousands of dollars to decrypt it.

How do you safeguard the information, business operations, and accounts you have online? The use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the best methods.

Even if cybercriminals have a legitimate user credential to log in, it presents a significant barrier. Due to the likelihood that they won’t have access to the device that receives the MFA code necessary to finish the authentication process, this is necessary.

Which are the MFA’s three main methods?

It’s critical to compare the three main MFA approaches before implementing MFA at your company and to avoid assuming that all approaches are equivalent. Some are more secure than others, and some are more convenient than others due to certain important differences.


SMS-based MFA is the type of MFA that most people are accustomed to. This one uses text messages to verify the user’s identity.

When setting up MFA, the user typically enters their mobile number. After that, they will get text messages with time-sensitive codes that they must enter each time they log into their account.

An application’s on-device prompt

Another type of multi-factor authentication will push the code through using a unique app. The MFA code is still generated at login, but now the user receives it through an app rather than an SMS.

In many instances, a desktop app or a mobile app can be used to accomplish this. Push notifications are typically used for this.


In order to authenticate the login, the third-party MFA method uses a different security key that you can insert into a PC or mobile device. The key itself, which is purchased when the MFA solution is set up, will be what receives the authentication code and automatically implements it.

The MFA security key must be carried by the user to authenticate when they log into a system. It is typically smaller than a conventional thumb drive.

MFA’s Most Convenient Form?

Users frequently perceive MFA as slowing them down. If they have to learn a new app or struggle to remember a small security key (what if they lose that key? ), this situation may get worse.

Companies may decide not to use multi-factor authentication for their cloud accounts as a result of this user inconvenience.

The SMS-based MFA would be the best option if you encounter user pushback and are looking for the MFA method that is the most practical.

There is no new interface to learn and no app to install because the majority of people are already accustomed to receiving text messages on their phones.


It might be in your best interest to choose security if your company manages sensitive data on a cloud platform, such as your online accounting solution.

The security key is the MFA method, which is the safest.

Your accounts won’t be left unprotected in the event that your mobile phone is lost or stolen because the security key is a completely separate device. Your accounts would be at risk if you used either the SMS-based or the app-based versions in this situation.

Because there is currently malware that can clone a SIM card, a hacker could obtain those MFA text messages using the SMS-based method, which is actually the least secure.

A Google study examined how well these three MFA techniques worked to thwart three different types of attacks. Overall, the security key was the safest option.

Percentage of assaults thwarted

  • Based on SMS, between 76 and 100%
  • App prompt on device: 90% to 100%

100% protection from all three attack types

Where does the app with the device prompt fit into this situation? between the other two MFA techniques.

It is safer to use an MFA application that sends the code via push notification rather than one that relies solely on SMS. Additionally, it’s more practical than having to constantly carry a separate security key that might get misplaced or lost.

With PCtronics, you can rest assured knowing that all of your data will be secure with the highest caliber of online protection with quick and effective responses to preventative maintenance. Your data and information will be backed up frequently to ensure that NONE of your digital property is ever at risk of being tampered with by any outside force.