So far 2022 confirms that passwords are not dead yet. Neither will they be anytime soon. Even though Microsoft and Apple are championing passwordless authentication methods, most applications and websites will not remove this option for a very long time.
Think about it, internal apps that you do not want to integrate with third-party identity providers, government services, legacy applications, and even SaaS providers may not want to invest in new integrations or restrict their existing authentication methods. After all, online businesses are interested in user traction, and security usually brings friction. For example, a few days ago, Kickstarter sent out millions of password reset emails “simplifying its login process,” including for people that used social login without a password.
Though you may be able to remove passwords from many enterprise components, a large portion of third-party providers, government portals, business suppliers, and SaaS services will still rely primarily on password-based accounts. No wonder Gartner believes that digital supply chain risk is one of 2022’s biggest challenges.
So long as any part of your infrastructure or cloud footprint uses passwords, they will ultimately become the cheap and easy attack vector which is leading to 80% of breaches in 2022 as well.
Why are passwords difficult to protect?
Online password usage is completely unmonitored by most organizations. There is no obvious policy to prevent reusing corporate LDAP (Active Directory) passwords in online services, or sharing the same passwords across multiple web accounts. Password managers are opt-in and rarely available or used across all employees and accounts because it’s an overhead for productivity for most non-IT workers.
Once important accounts’ passwords are reused in online services, or saved and synced across browsers, there is no telling how or where it is stored. And when they get breached, leaked passwords will lead to account takeovers, credential stuffing, business email compromise, and several other nasty attack vectors.
This was exactly the case recently with Cisco, which was breached using a saved VPN password that was synced across browsers, according to the reports. Although MFA also needed to be compromised in the process, it only makes sense to protect all factors involved in our authentication process.
To make things worse, with all of the public social data for correlation, password reuse in personal accounts, (using private emails with corporate passwords) can also be a devastating and unmonitored vulnerability. After all, people are not too creative in coming up with their passwords.
So how to prevent password leaks and stop worrying about password-related threats?
Fortunately, there is a cure. Most web-based accounts are created individually and form a big part of your Shadow IT footprint, so education must certainly be a part of it. But the only hard solution is to rigorously check for password hygiene across all accounts that are created and used online.
The browser is the sole point in the process of password usage, where clear-text visibility is attainable. It is your number one application providing the gateway to almost all internal and external services and resources, and the largest unmonitored gap for defending your accounts.
Scirge uses a browser extension as the endpoint component that is transparent for the employees. It provides customizable password hygiene checks without any user action. This results in all passwords being checked for sufficient complexity and strength. Also, their secure hash is used to compare each password for reuse, sharing, and even against custom blacklists or known breached passwords.
Reusing your AD/LDAP password online? Gotcha. Using your secure corporate passwords for a private account? Scirge can see that.
Scirge allows you to monitor corporate accounts, and even private password reuse based on granular, centrally managed policies, without the compromise of PII data. All password hashes and indicators are stored at your on-site server that you are 100% in control of. Over 25 indicators reveal risky accounts and employees with low password hygiene and allow highly targeted and personalized educational notifications.
On top of all, Scirge creates personal inventories of all app and account usages, providing visibility into ex-employee accounts that they could access even after leaving. High-privilege or service-email usage can be identified to mitigate spear phishing attempts. Scirge can also collect browser-saved accounts, and detect internal threats. Someone using accounts belonging to others in the organization is immediately spotted for compliance, segregation of duties, and other security purposes.