What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two factor authentication (known as 2FA ) or Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) provides an extra layer of security when accessing an account.

Why do I need a second factor for an account?

Many accounts we use daily hold valuable data. If any of these fell victim to a cyber crime attack , the result would be devastating to you or your business. This information could be banking credentials, critical business data and emails. Most successful attacks come from criminals obtaining a users credentials. When you login to an account by using email alone (single factor authentication), the risks of those accounts being compromised increase.

In addition to inputting a traditional password, when using 2FA any attempt to gain access to your account requires you prove your identity with a second identifier. A one time code or phrase is created and require before access granted.

While 2FA is not new, it is increasing momentum as we interact online more and more. However, so does cyber security threats such as phishing attacks and social engineering.

Let’s say your account & password becomes compromised by cyber criminals . A second factor blocks any attempt they make to access your information, stopping them before they can get anything more valuable.

Depending on the online services, some accounts may automatically ask you for a second factor when logging in, however many do not. The good news is you can check websites and apps that currently utilise 2FA here.

Granted, using 2FA does add an extra step and a little more time into your normal log-in process. 2FA provides a much-needed layer to your security, and is your data and money more important than an extra 30 seconds?

There are several ways you can utilise a second factor:

Security Questions

The user creates questions and answers that only they know the answer too.

2FA Mobile Apps

Software apps like Authy, Microsoft Authenticator and Google Authenticator. These apps send notifications to your device, providing a one-time access code. The code will normally reset automatically after a short time.

A benefit in using an app is you can store most of your 2FA accounts in one secure place. This makes it a good solution to manage all your 2FA accounts that are compatible.

SMS Code sent to your phone or email

A one-time pin or code is created and sent to your phone number or email address.

Face recognition

Facial recognition is a bio-metric authentication and is unique to you. You have already seen this technology with your smart phone, however this security and has also made its way onto laptop devices recently.

Fingerprint scan

Similar to facial recognition, using a bio-metric authentication such as your fingerprint is a secure way to provide a second factor of identification.

Security token

Security tokens are a physical device that creates a temporary code. Tokens work just like a 2FA app, with the added benefit to a physical device is being harder to comprise. The downside would be losing the device.

What ever your preference to using multi-factor is completely up to you. However, any of the methods listed above is better than none at all. If you would like to know more about 2FA or would like help adding 2FA to your key accounts, please do not hesitate to contact the team.