What is Two-Factor Authentication?
by Oscar Luna, IT Support Specialist
In today’s digital age, it is important to implement a layered security strategy, both personally and professionally. Two-factor authentication is an easy, secondary method of securing accounts. Normally users have a username and password, which is Single-Factor authentication. Enabling Two-factor authentication or 2FA, provides a secondary method to authenticate a user. The factors can be security tokens or biometric factors, such as a fingerprint or retinal/facial scan. These methods offer security against cybercrime beyond just knowing the user password, which eliminates that point of access.
An example of 2FA is when you go to the ATM to getmoney and use two factors to authenticate yourself. You have something you know, which is your Pin, and something you have, in this case your ATM card. You cannot access your account with only one, access requires both. For all of your accounts, the something you know would be your username/password and something you have would be a security token. Again, these come in different forms, such as a a text with a code that gets sent to your phone, your thumbprint, or an authentication app that generates a 6 digit code every 30 seconds, or a security card.
Having this level of security, an added layer, is important with the prevalence of phishing campaigns, everyday carelessness, and brute force attacks. If you have Two-factor authentication on all of your accounts, it does not matter if a bad actor gets a hold of your password, because they would need the secondary form of authentication in order to sign in as you. Your digital security is important and having Two-factor authentication, employing an easy, layered security approach, minimizes a single point of failure and makes it that much harder for cybercriminals to access your data. It’s a simple, cost effective security approach to protect sensitive, personal information.