In today’s digital world, user authentication plays a crucial role in protecting sensitive information and data from unauthorized access.
A.9.2.4 Management of secret authentication information of users is an essential part of the ISO 27001 standard that focuses on the protection of user authentication information.
This control objective addresses the management of user identification and authentication controls, policies, procedures, guidelines, and technical controls to ensure that only authorized users have access to confidential information.
In this article, we will discuss the A.9.2.4 control objective of the ISO 27001 standard and provide a sample checklist that organizations can use to evaluate their user authentication practices.
- Are user identification and authentication controls, policies, procedures, and guidelines in place?
- Do technical controls such as minimum password length, complexity rules, forced change of passwords on first use, multi-factor authentication, biometrics, shared passwords, etc., exist?
- Is the mix of technical/automated controls and manual procedures, management reviews, etc., evaluated?
- Does anyone routinely check for weak passwords and follow up with user security awareness/training?
- Are new, replacement, or temporary passwords provided to users only after confirming their identities?
- Is such information conveyed by secure means?
- Are generated or default passwords sufficiently strong, i.e., not easily guessed or brute-forced?
- Are recipients required to acknowledge receipt of IDs and passwords?
- Are default vendor passwords changed immediately after the installation of systems or software?
- Are procedures and tools for temporary password generation manual, semi-, or fully-automated?
- Are users encouraged to use suitable password vault software, and is it sufficiently secure?
- Are passwords in systems/devices and applications stored purely in encrypted form (preferably as salted hashes)?
The protection of user authentication information is critical to the security of any organization’s information assets.
To comply with the A.9.2.4 control objective of the ISO 27001 standard, organizations must have user identification and authentication controls, policies, procedures, guidelines, and technical controls in place.
In addition, organizations must routinely check for weak passwords, follow up with user security awareness/training, confirm users’ identities before providing new or replacement passwords, and store passwords in encrypted form.
By following the sample checklist provided in this article, organizations can ensure that their user authentication practices are up to par and provide robust protection for their sensitive information and data.