Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategies are designed to protect systems from malicious activities, but new technologies are allowing hackers to launch more sophisticated attacks. Many businesses fail to detect and address weaknesses in their systems in time to prevent breaches from occurring, and this failure is leaving the door wide open for devastating attacks.

Hackers love poor identity and access management strategies

IAM Strategies: The Good and the Bad 

Continued reliance on outdated IAM methods is one of the biggest problems with system security. Over 80 percent of breaches are the result of weak, default or stolen passwords, which is hardly surprising when you consider over 60 percent of people use the same password for multiple websites or services. In a business setting, reusing passwords across platforms makes it easy for hackers to gain access to any application and the data it handles. 

The problem gets worse if routine security audits aren’t carried out and enforcement of proper provisioning and deprovisioning is poor. As employees’ responsibilities change, they require new privileges and often aren’t restricted from accessing the data and applications required for their previous positions. Known as “privilege creep“, this process leaves security loopholes through which hackers can infiltrate large portions of the network with a single set of stolen credentials. 

Companies seeking to strengthen their approach to IAM are investing in more advanced authentication protocols, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), one-time passwords, federated identities, and single sign-on (SSO). Many of these changes are being implemented using centralized cloud-based IAM tools designed to automate and simplify the IAM process. 

Recent Incidents Highlight Hackers’ Prowess

Although some businesses are getting savvy with new security strategies, many techniques still fall short. Part of the difficulty lies in a lack of resources. Only 3 percent of organizations have the technology to defend against modern attacks, and only 10 percent have employees with the proper skill sets. These dismal numbers make it clear how 74 percent of the U.S. companies hacked in 2017 were ignorant of the breaches at the time they occurred. 

Phishing and malware remain some of the most common tools used by hackers and contributed to the 60 percent increase in business email compromise. Hackers are employing automation and social networking to make their tactics more believable, and no business is immune to attack. 

One of the most notable and unsettling breaches targeted journalists and activists working in the Middle East and involved a technique used to undermine the apparently reliability of two-factor authentication. Hackers used fake Google and Yahoo security alerts to trick users into clicking a link to reset their passwords and subsequently phished both the passwords and the associated “secret” codes. Through automation, they were able to compromise the accounts of over 1,000 people, proving a second form of authentication doesn’t always guarantee security. 

Modernizing Your Approach 

Your business must perform two types of audits to determine the state of your IAM strategy and what steps must be taken to improve protection for your systems: 

• Security audit – Reveals weak points in security protocols 
IAM audit – Highlights instances of privilege creep, and uncovers outdated or dormant accounts 

Conducting these audits on a regular basis prevents problems with access control and helps your IT department stay on top of crucial security updates. To maintain security between audits, implement a tool to track and monitor user activity. Modern tracking applications incorporate machine learning (ML) technology to distinguish normal behavior patterns from malicious aberrations, thereby providing smarter solutions for access control. 

Integrating tracking tools with a centralized IAM solution makes it easier to manage changing access needs and ensure permissions are granted and revoked as needed. Your IAM platform should include tools for onboarding, offboarding and automating provisioning to maintain the minimum amount of access necessary for each employee. As you add applications to your suite of business tools, make sure they’re designed to integrate with what you already have in place so that you can make use of stronger security options, such as federated identities and SSO. 

Regardless of how advanced your IAM strategies are, ongoing employee education remains a critical part of security maintenance. A single weak or compromised password can facilitate system intrusions, and a lack of knowledge regarding phishing and malware scams leaves systems open to hackers. Train your employees in the proper management of credentials, and take steps to ensure everyone understands how to recognize an email scam or spoofed website. Protecting your network in the midst of rapidly changing security requirements means remaining diligent and adaptable. By modernizing your approach to IAM, you make your business network more flexible and able to handle new threats.

Commit to routine auditing, ongoing education and continued security improvements to maintain strong and reliable IAM policies capable of thwarting hackers before they infiltrate your systems. Identity Management Institute offers various training programs.

Identity and access management certifications

IoT SecurityAs the number of connected devices in homes, offices, public institutions and industrial frameworks increases, so does the need for better Internet of Things security. Each new IoT device and network introduces more points of vulnerability, and it’s time for cybersecurity experts to update their skills to meet and counter the latest threats.

Everything in industry and business today rests on data. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies want more information about their customers, and Business-to-Business (B2B) companies are always looking for ways to streamline operations. Business owners in general are interested in boosting productivity while slashing costs, and IoT devices can address all these concerns.

With millennials transitioning into becoming heads of households, the technology with which they grew up is becoming a fixture of daily life. Tech companies and retailers are responding with a variety of new IoT devices to meet the increasing demand for perpetual connectivity, instant gratification and personalized experiences.

Devices with the ability to monitor activities and carry out routines in response to behavior patterns are also becoming more common. These include smart refrigerators and trash cans designed to track which products are used most often and deliver reminders when stock runs low, and appliances with the ability to sense when maintenance is required.

Estimates regarding the number of connected devices expected to be in use in the near future vary widely and are in constant flux, but all predictions are staggering. It’s estimated that the number of active IoT devices will surpass 25.4 billion in 2030. By 2025, there will be 152,200 IoT devices connecting to the internet per minute. And, IoT solutions have the potential to generate $4-11 trillion in economic value by 2025.

Every point at which a device connects to a network is vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Because so many IoT devices are in operation and many have the ability to transition between networks as users move, IoT technology is particularly susceptible to new security threats. The diversity of the technology alone is enough to provide hackers multiple points of entry into networks. This means a single weak point in a connected IoT landscape can compromise the safety of all devices connected to and information transmitted over the network.

Hackers may infiltrate networks using direct physical attacks on hardware, by compromising software or by targeting the networks themselves.

In the coming years, IT professionals must be prepared to stay up to date on the latest threats, obtain the proper certifications to meet new security challenges and partner with other experts in the field to build the strongest, most comprehensive network of protection possible.

The full Internet of Things security white paper is available to IMI members. Learn about IMI certifications.

IAM certification

There are many bot attack security risks that computer users and security professionals must consider for staying safe. A bot or a zombie is a computer that has been infected with a malware by a hacker who can control the device remotely to launch attacks against other computers. When bots work together as a group in coordinated cyberattacks, the infected network of computers is called botnet.

Bot attack and botnet security risks

Botnet Attack Process

A botnet attack involves the execution of a malicious software which may be installed by luring users with a spam that includes a link to a trojan horse or, take advantage of an existing vulnerability to gain system access and install the software. There are 3 basic stages of creating and launching botnet attacks:

Find Exploitable Systems

At this initial stage, attackers look for valuable systems that they can access and infect them with their malicious software also called malware. In their search for vulnerable systems, attackers look for system users that can unwittingly help them access the system or simply look for website or system that has inherent system security weaknesses that will allow the attacker to exploit and access the system.

Infect-and-Spread

After attackers find a target, they must install the malware in order to control the device. To accomplish this goal, attackers may lure the users into helping them with the malware download and installation or just access the system without user involvement to install the malware thorough backdoor access or exploitation of system access vulnerabilities.

Spams and phishing methods are often used to convince users to take certain actions such as downloading a program or clicking on a link that executes a malicious program. These can be in the form of phishing emails or links to malicious websites.

Activate-and-Attack

Once the attacker has control of a large zombie network of botnet, they can configure and use them to launch attacks against websites and other business systems. A botnet may include many compromised cell phones, IoT devices or computers that can be used to perform many malicious activities including flooding targets with traffic to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack.

Bot Attack Security Risks

Botnet attacks can place a computer, data, or network at a serious security risk. Botnets are particularly dangerous because they can be used to launch attacks from many computers at once. Businesses and individuals must understand bot attack security risks and know how to protect themselves. Below are some of the risks associated with bot attacks:

Data Theft

Bot attacks can be used to steal sensitive data from businesses. This data can include customer information, financial data, and trade secrets. When sensitive data is stolen, it can be used to commit fraud or sold on the black market. This can lead to severe financial losses for businesses.

File Corruption

Botnets can spread malware to computers that are not protected by ant-malware software to delete or corrupt files.

Financial Losses

Bot attacks can be used to commit financial fraud and steal money from businesses. Ecommerce businesses are at a higher risk of bot attacks. This is because attackers often target commercial websites.

Legal Problems

Bot attacks can lead to legal problems for businesses. The business may be liable for damages if personal data is stolen. This can include fines, class-action lawsuits, and damage to the business’s reputation. Legal problems caused by bot attacks can be costly and lead to business shutdown.

Remediation Cost

Remediation costs are associated with fixing the problems caused by bot attacks and preventing future attacks. These costs include hiring IT staff to fix system issues, upgrading security systems, and paying fines. Lost time spent on fixing the damage could have been spent on productive activities that could generate revenue for the business.

Denial of Service Attacks

Botnets can be used to launch distributed denial of service attacks. DoS attack is when a website or business system is flooded with traffic from the botnet computers, causing severe overload to crash and render systems unavailable.

Spyware

This is a software that can track the activities of people using the infected computer. A business can be affected if its employees’ computers are infected with spyware which can lead to a loss of productivity and sensitive information being leaked. Key loggers which a type of spyware can be used to steal IDs and passwords to gain access to a person’s accounts and execute transactions.

Botnet Security Solutions

One of the best ways to protect a system against bot attack security risks is to educate users about spams and phishing attacks and how to detect these threats.

Another solution is to update the security systems with up-to-date patches to avoid unauthorized access which cannot occur if the system is well protected and has the least amount of security vulnerabilities.

Finally, having a botnet attack detection and prevention system can help businesses monitor system for such attacks in real time while leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to continue improving the detection process.

Identity Management Institute on LinkedIn

We must be aware of metaverse security and privacy threats as our lives become further integrated into the metaverse and take safety precautions just as we would in the physical world. Furthermore, from a development perspective, privacy invasions and security breaches threaten further expansion and implementation of the metaverse. Knowing these metaverse security and privacy issues helps keep both end users and developers secure in this new frontier.

Metaverse security and privacy threats and issues

Metaverse Security and Privacy Threats and Issues

Common metaverse security and privacy threats are categorized below as follows: identity, data, privacy, network, economy, governance, and physical/social effects.

Identity-related threats

  1. Identity theft
    When a user’s identity is stolen, their digital assets, avatars, social relationships, and digital life can be leaked in a more destructive fashion than we see in traditional identity theft. Hackers can seize personal information through phishing e-mails, hacked devices, and customer data to then commit fraud within the metaverse itself with the user’s own avatar.
  2. Impersonation attack
    This tactic occurs when the attacker pretends to be an authorized user so they may gain entry to the metaverse’s services. Attackers may impersonate endpoints to insert rogue devices into Bluetooth pairings. Hackers can also invade helmets and other wearable devices and use them as entry points to impersonate the user and their credentials.
  3. Identity linkability in Ternary Worlds
    Ternary (three) worlds represent the physical, digital, and human worlds. All three are integrated into the metaverse, allowing an attacker to track users and determine their positions in the real world. Hackers may also track users through compromised headsets and other wearable devices.
  4. Trusted and Interoperable Authentication
    Fast and safe cross-platform and cross-domain authentication built on platforms such as Blockchain is crucial defense against identity-related threats.

Data-related threats

Data collected or created by users, IoT devices, or avatars is at risk for exploits including availability, confidentiality, false data injection, integrity, and UGC ownership/provenance tracing.

  1. Data Tampering Attack
    Integrity features monitor any modification during data communication across the ternary worlds and sub-metaverses. Attackers can forge, modify, remove and replace that data to interfere with physical entities, users, and their avatars. These attackers can remain undetected by falsifying log files or message-digest results.
  2. False Data Injection Attack
    False data injection involves the injection of falsified information such as messages and instructions to mislead metaverse systems. For example, attackers can generate biased AI models by injecting adversary training samples (centralized) or poisoned gradients (decentralized) during training.
  3. Threats to Data Quality of UGC and Physical Input
    User generated content (UGC) utility such as data quality can be compromised by users generating low quality content to save costs. They can share unaligned non-IID data during the content recommendation model’s training process. Uncalibrated wearable sensors can also create inaccurate data to mislead digital twin creation.
  4. Threats to UGC Ownership and Provenance
    The metaverse is an open and autonomous space with no centralized authority. Therefore, it is difficult to trace ownership and provenance of UGCs produced by many avatars across all sub-metaverses and turn them into protected assets.

Privacy Threats

A user’s location, habit, lifestyle, and more can be offended during the data service’s lifecycle. This includes data perception, transmission, processing, governance, or storage.

  1. Pervasive Data Collection
    Facial expressions, eye/hand movement, speech, biometric features, and brain wave patterns are all profiled in a user’s avatar creation. Motion sensors and four built-in cameras in the Oculus headset, for example, can track our environment and can be exploited by attackers.
  2. Privacy Leakage in Data Transmission
    Sensitive user data collected by XR data such as headsets are transferred through wired and wireless communication. Although this sensitive data is encrypted, attackers can still access the raw data through eavesdropping through different channels. Differential attacks and advanced inference attacks are used to track a user’s location.
  3. Privacy Leakage in Data Processing
    The aggregation and processing of data from users and their environments is necessary for avatar creation and rendering and this data can be leaked. Private data belonging to different users may violate regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Attackers can also infer a user’s privacy and preferences from published processing results (avatars).
  4. Privacy Leakage in Cloud/Edge Storage
    Storage of sensitive information from users in cloud servers or edge devices raise privacy disclosure issues. Hackers can determine users’ privacy information by frequent queries by differential attacks, or compromise cloud storage as a whole through DDoS attacks.
  5. Unauthorized Data Access
    Different service providers across the sub-metaverses need to access real time user activity in order to deliver seamless personalized services such as avatar creation. Malicious service providers can illegally elevate their data access rights using buffer overflow and tampering access across control lists.
  6. Misuse of User/Avatar Data
    During the data-service lifecycle, user data can be intentionally revealed by hackers or unintentionally revealed by service providers to assist user profiling and precision marketing activities.
  7. Threats to Digital Footprints
    Digital footprints consist of preferences, habits, and activities of avatars that can reflect the end user in the real world. Attackers can use these footprints to exploit real world users. Users can also be stalked without their knowledge thanks to the wide third-person view typically used in the metaverse, and their user preferences can later be used in social engineering attacks.
  8. Threats to Accountability
    Since XR devices gather much more data than traditional smart devices, the metaverse must be accountable for meeting privacy compliance. However, the audit process of the compliance of privacy regulations (such as the GDPR) is inefficient under the centralized service offering architecture. They also cannot ensure transparency of regulation compliance during the data management life-cycle.

Network-Related Threats

Traditional threats still exist in the metaverse, as it is still utilizing the current internet and and existing wireless technologies. The most common threats include SPoF, DDoS, and Sybil attacks.

  1. SPoF
    Centralized architecture like the cloud-based system used in metaverse creation is convenient and cost saving. However, it can be vulnerable to Single Point of Failure (SPoF) by damage to physical root servers or DDoS attacks. It also makes free exchange of tokens or virtual currency difficult across different worlds.
  2. DDoS
    Hackers can exploit IoT botnets made up of many IoT devices to conduct distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. By overwhelming the centralized server with massive amounts of traffic, they can cause service unavailability and network outages.
  3. Sybil Attacks
    Sybil adversaries manipulate many stolen identities to gain disproportionately large influence on metaverse services such as reputation and voting-based services. These attacks compromise system effectiveness.

Economy-related Threats

Service trust, digital asset ownership, and economic fairness in the metaverse is at risk for various risks outlined below.

  1. Service Trust Issues in Virtual Object Trading
    Inherent fraud risks such as repudiation and refusal to pay during virtual object trading can result in inherent distrust within the metaverse marketplace. Through the creation of digital objects through digital twin, the metaverse must guarantee the authenticity and trustworthiness of the deployed digital copies.
  2. Threats to Digital Asset Ownership
    Lack of central authority in addition to complex circulation and ownership forms make the generation, pricing, trusted trading, and ownership traceability of digital assets in the trading economy difficult. This includes both collective ownership and shared ownership.
  3. Threats to Economic Fairness in Creator Economy
    Well-designed incentives promote efficiency and fairness in resource sharing and digital asset trading in the creator economy. Three factors put this fairness at risk:
    a. Strategic users/avatars can manipulate the digital market to break the supply and demand status to make enormous profits.
    b. Free-riding users/avatars unfairly gain revenue and utilize metaverse services without contributing anything themselves, subsequently risking the sustainability of the creator economy.
    c. Collusive users/avatars may collude with each other or a service provider to manipulate the market and make a profit.

Threats to Physical World and Human Society

The metaverse is an extension of the cyber-physical-social system (CPSS), where physical systems, human society, and cyber systems are interconnected. Therefore, metaverse security and privacy threats in the digital world cross over into personal safety, physical infrastructure, and human society.

  1. Threats to Personal Safety
    Hackers can attack wearable devices and indoor sensors such as cameras to observe the routine and physical position of users to orchestrate robberies. They can also display frightening content to the end user which may cause physical harm.
  2. Threats to Infrastructure Safety
    Hackers can sniff software or system vulnerabilities and then exploit compromised devices as entry points to invade national infrastructures such as the power grid or high-speed rail through Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks.
  3. Social Effects
    User addiction, rumor prevention, biased outcomes, and simulated facts are all inherent threats in this emerging technology. Similar to the Matrix films, the metaverse is controlled by AI algorithms where the code is the ultimate law. Subsequently, ethical issues such as racial and gender bias may occur.

Governance-Related Threats

Just like social norms in the real world, content creation, data processing, and the virtual economy should reflect digital norms and regulations. However, the following metaverse security and privacy threats can threaten system efficiency and security.

  1. Misbehaving Regulators
    Rogue regulators can cause system paralysis, and their supervisors must also be observed. Dynamic punishment/reward mechanisms should be utilized to punish these regulators and reward their law-abiding counterparts. Punishment and reward standards should be maintained by a majority of avatars in a decentralized and democratic manner to maintain sustainability.
  2. Threats to Collaborative Governance
    Collaborative governance under a hierarchical or flat mode is best for large-scale metaverse maintenance in order to avoid the concentration of regulation rights. Rogue regulators can still undermine this system by, for example, partitioning a specific regulator from the network using wormhole attacks.
  3. Threats to Digital Forensics
    Digital forensics is defined as the virtual reconstruction of cyber crimes by identifying, extracting, fusing, and analyzing evidence from both the real and virtual worlds. However, the dynamics and interoperability issues across worlds makes efficient forensic investigation difficult. Additionally, the real and digital world can be frequently blurred such as through emerging innovations such as deepfake technology.

Metaverse Security Certification

If you are interested to learn more about metaverse security and privacy issues, consider joining the Metaverse Security Center community at Identity Management Institute and apply to become a Certified Metaverse Security Consultant (CMSC)™.

CMSC

As Identity as a Service continues to grow at an average annual rate of 20%, it’s important to explore IDaaS benefits and vendors as well as its challenges. Technology has become more integral to how organizations operate and how we as individuals conduct our lives. With the evolution of the internet and the proliferation of devices that can connect to it, our online identities have become increasingly important. At the same time, the traditional methods for managing identity information are no longer adequate. New approaches are needed to secure and manage identity information in today’s digital world. Cloud-based solutions, such as Identity as a Service (IDaaS), offer a promising way to address these challenges. Here we will explore IDaaS, how it works, and the benefits it can provide organizations and individuals.

Identity as a Service IDaaS benefits and vendors

What is Identity as a Service (IDaaS)?

Identity as a Service is a cloud-based solution for managing identity information. It provides a centralized platform for storing and managing identity data, authenticating users, and authorizing resource access. IDaaS solutions are typically delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), which means they are offered on a subscription basis. They can be accessed from any location with an internet connection.

How does IDaaS work?

IDaaS solutions typically offer a web-based interface that allows users to manage their identity information and access the provider’s services. The IDaaS provider is responsible for storing and managing the identity data and providing the necessary authentication and authorization services. We will further explore IDaaS benefits and vendors in the below sections.

IDaaS Benefits

By centrally storing and managing identity information, these solutions can help to improve security. They make it more challenging for hackers to obtain and use this data. The providers often offer additional security features, such as two-factor authentication, which can further reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud. Multi-factor authentication is a security measure that requires users to provide more than one form of identification when accessing a system. This can include something they know, like a password, something they have, like a security token, or something they are, like a fingerprint. IDaaS solutions can also help to reduce the costs associated with managing identity information. By using a cloud-based solution, organizations can avoid investing in and maintaining their infrastructure for storing and managing this data. It can also make it easier for organizations to comply with regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation requires organizations to protect individuals’ data and gives individuals the right to have their data erased. By using these solutions, organizations can more easily manage and delete individuals’ data when required by law. These solutions also offer a more convenient way for users to manage their identity information. Rather than having to remember multiple usernames and passwords for different online accounts, users can access all of their accounts through a single platform. This can make it easier for users to keep track of their identity information and reduce the risk of losing or forgetting essential credentials.

IDaaS Challenges

These solutions require users to entrust their identity information to a third-party provider. Organizations must consider the provider’s security and privacy controls before selecting a solution. Providers may also change their terms of service or go out of business, disrupting their services. Organizations should therefore consider using multiple service providers to reduce the risk of relying on a single provider.

Major IDaaS Vendors

The market for IDaaS solutions is still relatively nascent, but several vendors have emerged as leaders in this space. Okta is a leading provider of identity and access management solutions. The company offers a cloud-based platform that helps organizations to manage and secure user identities. Okta also provides various add-on products, such as Single Sign-On and Multi-Factor Authentication, which can be used to improve security further. OneLogin offers a platform that helps organizations securely connect people with their needed apps. It also provides various tools to help organizations manage and secure identities, such as its Universal Directory and Single Sign-On solutions. Other major vendors include Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Google Cloud Identity, Amazon Web Services Identity and Access Management, Ping Identity, IBM Cloud Identity, and Salesforce Identity. See our vendor list to learn more about IDaaS benefits and vendors.

Cost Effectiveness When Compared to Traditional Identity Management Solutions

The cost of IDaaS solutions is typically lower than the cost of traditional on-premises identity management solutions. Providers often charge a subscription fee, which can be paid monthly or annually. This subscription fee covers the costs of maintaining and updating the platform. In contrast, traditional on-premises identity management solutions typically require an upfront license fee and ongoing maintenance and support costs. As a result, IDaaS can offer a more cost-effective solution for organizations that need to manage user identities.

Small businesses must evaluate their needs to decide whether a cloud solution is the right fit. Your organization’s size, budget, and IT infrastructure will all play a role in this decision. You should be aware of the potential risks associated with these solutions, such as vendor lock-in and the fact that providers can change their terms of service or go out of business. IDaaS can be a good option for small businesses that need a flexible and cost-effective solution for managing user identities.

Identity and access management certifications

Managing temporary worker access is critical for data security when hiring contract employees to outsource a business task.

Many make the mistake of using the terms interchangeably without understanding the difference between authentication and authorization. However, they are distinct concepts, as we will explore in this article.


As Forbes article puts it, “authentication and authorization are often confused but they are distinct and are part of a broader security control called Identity and Access Management (IAM).”

Difference Between Authentication and Authorization

Difference Between Authentication and Authorization


Two crucial cybersecurity concepts are authentication and authorization. The former validates the user and latter determines what level of access the user is granted.

Authentication


First and foremost, a system needs to validate users as they attempt to access the system. This is usually initiated by filling in the username and password fields. Beyond that, the site might send a one-time password (OTP) to confirm it is truly a valid user trying to sign in.


In fact, as web hosting company IONOS puts it, “more and more online services are beginning to use two-factor authentication, especially when it comes to sensitive data.” This is due, in large part, to the fact that so many passwords have been compromised over the years”.

How Does Authentication Work?


After entering the username and password, the system compares that information to its database to confirm user identity. “Authentication solutions provide access control by checking a user’s credentials against the database of authorized users or an authentication server.” And once the system has authenticated user identity, the next step is authorization to determine the access level.

Authorization


After users are authenticated, authorization is a matter of determining what level of access authenticated users should have. For instance, the system admin of a web application has typically more access than a regular user.

Why Are Authentication and Authorization Crucial?


We live in a world full of cybersecurity threats, and data breaches compromise the information of customers and could ruin the reputation of an affected company. Thus, security measures which limit who has access to what information are crucial.


For instance, SQL injection is a cyberattack where instead of typing a username or email into the fields, they enter SQL code to sign in as an admin and steal information from a MySQL database.
In fact, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) lists both SQL injection and authentication failures in their Top 10 Application Security Risks.

Back-End Access

The back end of a website is usually accessible only to the site owner and its system admins which includes direct access to the database, plugins, servers, etc. without accessing the system data through the front-end access program. When users login to their bank account, they are accessing the system information stored in the database through the front-end portal which also controls access level referred to as “permissions”. However, direct access to systems via back-end access may pose greater risks if access controls are not maintained or are loose.

Data Security Standards


As noted by the International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, the primary reason for many system security vulnerabilities is the existence of “insecure coding practices.” Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the web developers apply secure coding practices.


Data security standards are designed to minimize cybersecurity risks. For instance, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) require that payment sites facilitating financial transactions pass an annual system penetration test. Such pen tests are conducted by an ethical hacker or team of hackers that aim to identify any vulnerabilities in the site. They use the same tools and techniques as the black hat hackers (bad guys) but without the malicious intent. They aim to identify system security vulnerabilities to report and perhaps even mitigate risks whereas the black hat hackers identify and exploit vulnerabilities such as selling stolen data on the dark web.

Stay Safe Online


All things considered, authentication and authorization are necessary to keep our data safe. In a world where so many want to illegally access our information for either fun or profit, or a combination of the two, cybersecurity is a top priority. For example, stolen credit card numbers could be used for a shopping spree or possibly even be soled on the dark web. Thus, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated.


We hope that you enjoyed our article and realize the importance of the concepts discussed and the difference between authentication and authorization. And while things such as two-factor authentication might seem an inconvenience to users, perhaps now you have a deeper appreciation for better security controls. It’s always better to spend a few extra seconds to check your email for a one-time password or use a second authentication factor than enduring the ordeal of identity theft.

Identity and access management certifications