What is two factor authentication? And how does it work?
With the rise of hackers and different types of cybercrimes, having mere passwords isn’t enough. Take your security to new heights with 2-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication, protecting your account and sensitive information from theft.
What Is Two Factor-Authentication?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an additional layer of security that requires two different and distinct identification to access an online account or complete a transaction. Aside from username and password, 2FA demands another piece of information, which can be a code sent to you via text, a biometric pattern of your fingerprint, face, retina, or others.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), on the other hand, is an electronic authentication method that requires more than one verification factor to gain access to an application or website. MFA strengthens security by combining two or more independent categories of credentials such as password, security token, or biometrics, minimizing the chances of becoming a victim of cyber-attacks.
How Does 2-Factor Authentication Work?
With two-factor authentication, any user who attempts to open an account should enter the right username and password. After a successful log-in, instead of having access immediately, a second verification is required to finally gain full access to the account.
Meaning, you’ll need another identifying factor beyond just the traditional username and password. The second factor is often hard to crack since it is something that only the legitimate user has access to.
Types Of Two-Factor Authentication
The most common types of two-factor authentication include:
SMS 2FA – Two-factor authentication via SMS sends a secret one-time passcode (usually 5-6 digits) to a user’s mobile number as a second verification following the username and password log-in. This is the most popular 2FA option since many people use SMS, plus no app installation is required.
Phone call 2FA – Much like SMS 2FA, users get a verification code through a phone call after a successful username and password log-in.
Email 2FA – 2FA via email is also a common choice since it’s easy to implement and accessible to both smartphones and computers. In this method, an OTP or secret code is sent to the user via email. In some cases, instead of OTP, they’ll send unique links which you can simply click to gain access.
Hardware 2FA – Used primarily by business entities, hardware-based two-factor authentication is one of the most secure 2FA methods. It uses a device such as a key fob or dongle to generate a 2FA token for access gain.
Biometric 2FA – This method works by requiring the legitimate user to present something unique about his physical body such as a fingerprint, retina, face, or voice for account access.
With this generation becoming reliant on computers and the internet, optimizing your security with two-factor authentication is crucial to prevent and combat digital fraud. With 2FA, you can protect your confidential data or bank account details from some fraudster trying to impersonate you.
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