Two-factor authentication (2FA), also called multiple-factor or multiple-step verification, is an authentication mechanism to double check that your identity is legitimate.
How Does Two Factor Authentication work?
When you sign into your account, you are prompted to authenticate with a username and a password – that’s the first verification layer. Two-factor authentication is a second security layer that adds an extra step in the process to reconfirm your identity. Its purpose is to reduce faud risks and to make the attackers’ life harder. If you already follow basic password security measures, two-factor authentication will make it more difficult for cyber criminals to breach your account. However, you shouldn’t expect it to work like a magic wand that will miraculously bulletproof your accounts. It can’t keep the bad guys away forever, but it will reduce their chance to succeed.
What are the Authentication Factors?
There are 3 main categories of authentication factors:
- Something you know – This could be a password, a PIN code or answer to a secret question.
- Something you have – This is always related to a physical device, such as a token, a mobile phone, a SIM, a USB stick, a key fob, an ID card.
- Something you are – This is a biological factor, such as a face or voice recognition, fingerprint, DNA, handwriting or retina scan. However, some of these are quite expensive, so, unless you work in a top secret / Mission Impossible kind of facility, you probably wouldn’t have this kind of authentication method implemented.
Why should I activate Two Factor Authentication?
Plain and simple, 2FA drastically reduces cyber criminal’s chances to succeed. Passwords alone are not as infallible as we need them to be. Cyber attackers have the power to test billions of password combinations in a second. Ninety Percent of employee’s passwords can be hacked in less than six hours. Even worse, 65% of people use the same password everywhere. That’s pretty much equivalent to having only one key for your house and your car.
Answers to security questions are also easy to find out, especially now that we willingly share many details about our lives on social networks and blogs. Anyone who interacts with us on a daily basis can find out the answers to common security questions, such as the graduation year, the city that you grew up in or our first pet’s name. Even if you don’t give these out in your Facebook profile, some can be found through public records that are available to anyone who cares to look. Others can be cracked simply by entering common names.
This is where two-factor authentication becomes important. It offers an extra layer of protection besides passwords. It is hard for cyber criminals to get the second authentication factor, they would have to be much closer to you. 2FA drastically reduces their chances to succeed.
Can it be cracked?
As is with other security measures, multiple-factor verification methods are also vulnerable to attacks. Their efficacy depends on many things, such as the chosen authentication method, the security of the channel that is used to deliver or the method in which the second-authentication factor is delivered.
Where can I get it?
We have a proven solution that can be setup in less than 5 minutes. Simply contact our office at 800-258-7150 and we can enroll your over the phone. Yes it is that easy.
Two friends went camping and heard a bear growling. One of them put on his tennis shoes while the other asked “what are you doing, you can’t out run a bear” The other replies “ I don’t have to out run the bear I just have to out run you.”
Well, it’s the same with the two-factor authentication. Having a password and an extra factor authentication does not make your account 100% secure. It’s not a magic wand that will make your account unhackable but it will make it more difficult to breach. Hopefully, an attacker will move on to another target, one that is less protected, rather than spend time and energy trying to breach your second-authentication factor. Keep in mind, as two-factor authentication methods become more popular, new ways for attackers to crack them will also pop out. This is just how the security game is played. Our Job is to make sure you stay one step ahead.