Using behavioral analytics and passive biometrics to aid cyber defenses

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The largest source of threats to the digital identities of consumers is the ever-growing dataset of account information made available through data breaches.

With the usernames, SHA-1 hashed passwords, email addresses, names, and IP addresses of over 14 million Hostinger customers now breached, victims must immediately change their passwords along with any other accounts that they might have reused the same password on.

Customers must also consider whether their accounts were fraudulently accessed on Hostinger and other locations online. The migration from a SHA-1 hashing scheme to SHA-256 will greatly improve the security of consumers’ passwords stored by Hostinger. In addition to the move to SHA-256 it’s important that the password is salted with unique information prior to being hashed to improve the security of the hash further.

Customers interested in mitigating the impact of the breach to their accounts must use unique and complex passwords with multifactor authentication where available. Once your login credentials are compromised, you must consider them compromised for every service provider where you reused the username and password combination.

Major attacks that attackers use stolen account information from data breaches for are account takeover and new account fraud. If you’re looking for help managing unique and complex passwords, a password manager like Lastpass or OneLogin can be extremely useful to help create and manage your passwords.

Affected customers may want to consider setting up a fraud alert, to get ahead of attacks where a cybercriminal could use the exposed customer information for new accounts in other industries like online retailers or financial services. Fraud alerts are free to setup and will alert financial organizations that they should perform more thorough vetting when verifying your identity before extending credit in your name.

If the fraud alert gets a hit or you discover claims for services you did not receive, report the identity theft and work with the involved organizations to recover from the attack.

For service providers wishing to avoid sophisticated attacks that reuse the data from this breach – or past breaches – two-factor authentication can be combined with other security layers such as passive biometrics and behavioral analytics, so that only suspicious users will need to be authenticated further. This protects customers' accounts even if the credentials have been stolen.

While two-factor authentication capabilities can help verify the user, behavioral analytics and passive biometrics allow you to learn and trust the user’s behavior both at login and across the session. This way you put the trust on the human instead of the device.

With passive biometrics, customers are identified by their behavior online and not by static data such as passwords or one-time codes. This inherent behavior cannot be duplicated by hackers even if they use correct static data; devaluing stolen credentials and protecting the customer account. Leveraging characteristics from individuals’ online behavior and habits provides a variety of unique identifiers that cannot be replicated by cybercriminals.

This integrated approach is a way for organizations to reduce their risk and if one identifier is compromised, another one can be used to verify the user. It also allows companies to provide a safe and satisfying experience for consumers while blocking criminal activity at the same time.

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