Compromised user credentials, such as usernames and passwords regularly surface on the dark web. From there, these malicious individuals can sell your personal details, enabling cybercriminals access to your online profiles, websites bank accounts, and credit cards, compromising your digital security. Simple passwords just aren’t effective enough as a security measure. However, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) can help mitigate this by adding an extra layer of security.
What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an extra step added to the log-in process. 2FA is an electronic authentication method that requires a user to prove their identity in multiple ways before they are allowed access to an account.
It requires a user to identify themselves using two separate methods. These can include your username and password, as well as a six-digit code sent to your mobile phone before access to an account is granted. The addition of this second security factor makes it far more difficult for a thief who is in possession of your password to access your account.
Why do I need 2FA?
Passwords are weak. This is due to the advanced nature of hacking and the fact that people use the same password across multiple accounts. It may seem an annoyance but without adding 2FA to your accounts, you leave yourself vulnerable to cybercriminals who want to steal your personal information and access your bank accounts. Adding this extra layer of security will help to stop a cybercriminal from accessing your account even if they have access to your password.
What are the different “factors” in 2FA?
The most common 2FA factors can be categorised in three easy-to-remember ways:
Something you know. The most familiar method. It is a password, a PIN, your mother’s maiden name, the name of your first pet. The possibilities are endless.
Something you have. This factor can be something physical, like a USB key with specific keys on it, or it can be something digital, such as a time-based one-time password or code.
Something you are. Biometrics such as your fingerprint, your voice, or your face.
What are the different types of 2FA?
There are different types of 2FA available, all of them relying on the various forms of factors.
Hardware tokens: This requires users to possess a physical token, such as a USB that they must insert into their device before logging on. Some hardware tokens display a digital code that users must enter.
SMS and voice: The user receives either a text or voice message providing a code that must be entered to access a site or account.
Software tokens: These tokens are apps that are downloaded. Any site that features 2FA, will then send a code to the app that is entered before logging on.
Push notifications: A push notification app is downloaded to your phone. When login credentials to access a website are entered, a push notification is sent to your smartphone. A message will then appear on the phone requesting approval of the log-in attempt with a tap.
Biometrics: To log onto a site, a fingerprint scan, voice scan, or face scan are required for verification.
Location: If an account was created and registered in one geographical area, and a log-in is attempted in a different location, it may trigger a location factor. These factors will alert you when a log-in is attempted on a new device and send a code to enter for identity verification.
How to enable 2FA
To activate 2FA in your site, account or applications, head to the security settings tab. From there you can easily set up 2FA and apply the added security factor that best suits you.