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Amazon and Walmart’s Not-So-Secret Weapon Against Cyber Attacks

March 05, 2021Joel Balsam

What do Amazon and Walmart have in common? Besides being industry-leading Fortune 500 multinationals, they both understand the importance of 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

If you’re an Amazon vendor, you are not allowed to sign up for their service without 2FA. Period.

Here’s what it says on Amazon’s vendor FAQ: “Yes, all users accessing Seller Central must have Two-Step Verification enabled on their login to access their Seller Central account. Seller Support Associates do not have the ability to make exceptions for any seller for this requirement.”

Amazon even goes one step further by making sure sellers have 2FA sent via authenticator apps, SMS texts or phone calls rather than email, “due to the increasing number of cases where email accounts are compromised.”

Similarly, Walmart ensures that every one of its 2.2 million employees worldwide uses 2FA before logging into its WalmartOne portal. “To make sure you can continue to access WalmartOne at work and on a personal device (if you want to) follow the below steps to setup 2 Step Verification and Self Service Password Reset.”

A Critical Weapon Against Cyber Attacks

So, why does Amazon and Walmart use 2FA internally? The reasoning is simple: they have too much to lose if cyber attackers were able to weasel their way into their network.

And virtually all other companies do, too.

We all know how devastating cyber attacks can be. The 2017 Equifax hack caused the release of hundreds of millions of customer records and forced the company to pay out $700 million in damages. The Marriott International hack stole data from 500 million customers over four years. Other hacks have impacted companies like Target, JP Morgan, and Twitter, and thousands of smaller businesses experience threats every single day.

The impact of these hacks is catastrophic — 60% of companies fail within six months of a cyber attack, according to a 2017 study.

And the pandemic has only increased the frequency of these cyber attacks now that more companies than ever are working remotely.

What Amazon & Walmart Realize

As global leaders, Amazon and Walmart face cyber threats all the time. In June 2020, Amazon experienced the largest ever DDoS cyber attack in history, but managed to thwart it. Walmart faced a security breach in 2005, but hasn’t faced anything as substantial since.

We’re not going to tell you the reason Amazon and Walmart aren’t making headlines for data breaches is because of 2FA alone — it is only one layer of cybersecurity.

But 2FA is unquestionably one of the most important weapons against the most common threats, including spear phishing, keyloggers, credential stuffing, brute force and reverse brute force attacks, as well as man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.

Clearly, Amazon and Walmart have come to this realization about 2FA. They know that without this bare minimum level of critical cybersecurity they’re too vulnerable. And in the process, they’re setting an example for other companies to follow.

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