Adaptive Authentication

Entersekt | Encyclopedia | Adaptive Authentication
What is adaptive authentication?

Adaptive authentication is a form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) that assesses and responds to the risk of each transaction or login with the appropriate level of authentication. Also called risk-based authentication, it is not a static response like MFA, which always uses the same types of factors. Instead, adaptive authentication solutions choose the necessary authentication factors based on how risky the transaction is to prevent card-not-present fraud.

When to use adaptive authentication

The financial services industry is one of the main targets for hackers. Banks and other financial service providers need to protect their customers from fraudsters and be able to differentiate their actual customers from fraudsters that may be impersonating them, or manipulating their customers into scams. Adaptive authentication can provide the level of security needed for high-risk transactions, like large once-off payments or instant payments.

How does adaptive authentication work?

Adaptive authentication is a method of verifying a customer’s identity based on a variety of contextual and risk factors. This approach goes beyond legacy authentication techniques, which primarily rely on username and password authentication and are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Adaptive authentication uses multiple contextual factors, such as device information, user location, and behavior analytics, to authenticate the user. By analyzing real-time data, the system can determine whether to approve or deny the transaction.

Adaptive Authentication vs. Standard Authentication

Standard authentication, such as single-factor and two-factor authentication (2FA) methods, often relies on outdated username and password style authentication. These approaches are often vulnerable to cyberattacks, as hackers can easily obtain passwords or one-time pin codes through phishing, social engineering, and other fraud attacks. In contrast, adaptive authentication assesses various factors beyond just usernames and passwords, including device identification, location, and behavioral patterns. As a result, adaptive authentication provides a more secure solution and reduces the risk of unauthorized access.

Additional resources:


Adaptive authentication | Context Aware™ Authentication | ACH (Automated Clearing House)