Securing important information online is one of the top priorities of every organization. With increased cybercrimes, organizations are constantly developing methods and ways to keep personal information safe and ensure that only authorized users/customers can access those data. Authentication is the foundation of securing all data online, such as signatures, applications, and notarizations. There are different ways to validate identity and personal information, such as using passwords, certificates, multi-factor authentication, biometrics, and token-based authentication. Knowledge-based authentication is another common method used to authenticate personal information that offers a variety of security benefits.
The following article will detail knowledge-based authentication concentrating on the two mains; static and dynamic KBA.
What is knowledge-based authentication?
Knowledge-based authentication is a method to secure information online by asking users to answer security questions to provide the right authorization. Knowledge based authentication has become a common security method across most organizations.
Commercial data providers can benefit mainly from knowledge-based authentication as most possess extensive and sensitive personal information. With KBA, the company and customers will not have to worry as only authorized individuals can access this information. In addition, KBA will help ensure personal information is protected against security breaches.
Knowledge-based authentication has enabled most companies to comply with security regulations and standards, especially organizations in the finance sector. As a result of It helps reduce the chances of fraud and the cost of preventing fraud and recovery. In addition, KBA helps improve the security of customers’ personal information, increasing their trust and confidence in the organization.
There are two types of Knowledge-based authentication which include;
Dynamic Knowledge-Based Authentication
Dynamic knowledge-based authentication provides a top and higher degree of security through the use of what is known as “out-of-wallet” questions. Unlike static KBA, questions in dynamic KBA are not predetermined but are generated using information from various data sources in real-time. Examples of these data sources include; marketing databases, customer surveys, companies where you might hold a loan, non-legal name, childhood or college address, and credit bureaus. Examples of dynamic KBA questions include; “which of the following addresses did you live at in the past? The customer will then be required to select the correct answer from the list. The information generated in generating dynamic KBA questions and solutions can’t be accessed easily from individual profiles, making it hard for another person to know the answer apart from the original user.
The advantage of dynamic knowledge based authentication is that the information used in question generation can’t be easily accessed through legal documentation or social media platforms, making it difficult for hackers and fraudsters to access the website. Any small error, such as wrong spelling, deters anyone from accessing the information. This helps to enhance the security of all sensitive data and ensures that only authorized and verified persons can access them.
As a result, it’s easy to forget the security question and get locked out.
Static Knowledge-Based Authentication
Static KBA allows users to set their security questions and provide respective answers. As a result Users will be required to provide the correct security answer similar to what they initially set every time they log in to the website. These questions are simple and can relate to individual life and some relatable issues. Examples of these questions include; what’s your favorite color? Which town were you born in? Who was your childhood best friend? All transactions requiring verification, including changing passwords, will use it to verify the user.
The advantage of static KBA is that the user will set simple and easy-to-remember questions and answers. Further, it has friendly terms that better the customer’s experience since the customer has the liberty to choose their preferred question and provide specific answers to the predetermined questions. In addition, users can have varying authentication questions on different sites.
As static KBAs are consistent across most sites, social media users can easily discover the possible answers to them. In addition, static KBA fails to protect against fraudsters who purchase or access identity information from the black market. The fraudsters can open accounts using this identity information, interfering with security questions and answers.
Knowledge-based authentication increases security measures for online information and transactions through dynamic and static methods. KBA helps boost customers’ confidence and trust in all online transactions and confidential information. However, companies may implement additional layers and security measures to safeguard customers’ information. This depends on the security risk of the transaction and the type of data shared. A good example is biometric or multi-factor authentication as additional security layers.