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Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

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Much of our daily lives now involve the internet. And all of this web activity often necessitates adding personal or sensitive details to online accounts. Unfortunately, this information is appealing to hackers who typically target businesses in an attempt to steal their customers’ data. While creating strong and unique passwords is good, it’s not always enough to keep information safe. 

Different Types of Authentication

There are multiple ways that businesses can protect themselves and their customers from data breaches. Instead of relying on single authentication methods that utilize only username and password, an extra layer of security can be added using Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Two-Factor Authentication goes a step beyond single authentication by requiring another step to verify your identity. You still need to enter your username and password, but must also provide an additional identifier to complete the login process. Some examples of 2FA include:

  • Phone (to receive a text or call with a one-time login code)
  • Authenticator Apps (Authy, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, etc.)
  • Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Picture and CAPTCHA logins
  • Challenge questions
  • Biometrics (patterns, fingerprints, voiceprints, or iris scans)
  • Hardware Tokens
  • QR Code logins

While not completely invulnerable, it’s less likely an account can be breached when using 2FA. Even if someone had a username and password, they’d also need the other factor that is used to verify the account holder’s identity. The same would apply if a person lost their phone. However, if a lost phone isn’t locked and all passwords are saved, this could be a problem. Luckily, it’s harder to lose an eye or a finger...

How to Enable 2FA

Enabling 2FA is usually a straightforward process. It’s often as simple as enabling two-factor authentication for your account and choosing the preferred verification method. Depending on the website, you may need to download an authenticator app. Other applications may require a home or cell phone number that will be used to send a voice or text verification code.

How to enable 2FA? Two factor authentication tip.

Tip: Not all websites and platforms support 2FA or Multi-Factor Authentication. Be sure to verify that an organization supports all your security needs before signing up for a service.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

Similar to 2FA, Multi-Factor Authentication requires users to provide extra details on top of their username and passwords. MFA can just take it a step further. It can use all the same identifiers as 2FA but can include additional ones. For instance, MFA could include a username/password, a push authentication (text), and a PIN, or any combination of authenticators.

Did you know: The word “password” is still one of the most overused passwords in 2021? It’s in good company though. Among the top-used (and hacked) passwords are also “123456,” “12345678, and “11111.” If you’re using one of these, you might want to think about changing it.

Why is Login Authentication Important?

Passwords are often hard to remember. On top of that, the average user manages a large number of online accounts. To simplify things, many people reuse the same password across multiple (or all) accounts. To make matters worse, passwords are notoriously weak and historically unsecure. To prevent data leaks in your organization, it’s growing increasingly necessary to implement 2FA or MFA. This goes for internal passwords for sensitive or mission-critical applications and customer-managed accounts. Data breaches don’t just affect users, they affect business reputation. As online activity continues to rise, so does the need for greater security.

If you found this useful, why not share it? If there’s a topic you’d like to know more about, reach out and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you liked this, you might find these helpful:

How Weak Passwords Could Put Your Organization At Risk

What is 2FA?

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