An extra coat helps keep you warm. A deadbolt lock on your door, along with your regular lock, makes the door harder to break into. Doesn’t it make sense to up your cybersecurity and give your personal data the same level of protection?
Two Factor Authentication (often abbreviated to 2FA) adds that extra layer of protection to your online presence. Sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, PayPal, and others have been using it for a long time. More and more websites and applications are adding it as an additional way to protect the information that users share with them.
Many of the apps you use frequently might have been asking you if you’d like to activate Two Factor Authentication. Don’t think of it as another annoying thing to enter, but think of the extra protection it adds. Hackers are actively looking at ways to acquire your personal data and everyone is a target.
Entering your user name and password is one step of verifying your identity. 2FA typically comes in 3 methods:
Something common that you set such as a password, PIN, zip code or answer to a question
A code or response sent to a phone, credit card or fob
A biometric response, such as a fingerprint, retina, face or voice
After entering your user name and password, you’ll be asked for authentication based on the method used by the system you are logging into. The most common is a code texted to your Smartphone. That code must then be entered to gain access. Typically there is a very specific time frame to enter the information. This is important because it also limits the amount of time a cyber criminal would have to gain access.
There are several benefits to using Two Factor Authentication. It improves general security by making it harder for attackers to impersonate you. In doing so it helps reduce fraud and identity theft. This builds a more secure online relationship for businesses and consumers.
Two-factor authentication comes in various shapes and sizes with varying levels of protection. While 2FA is an added layer of protection it is only as good as the owner’s security. If the owner shares the authentication information, misplaces the physical token, or stores the authentication information in an unsecure manner, then no two-factor authentication technology is going to be able to protect your accounts. 2FA is a great way to improve your security if you follow best practices and stay alert.
Adding extra security to your online life does require an extra step, but the protection it provides is as cozy as that extra winter coat.