Lately, there have been many cases of fraud, especially on online accounts. As such, it is crucial to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. Maybe you are wondering how you can do that. The two-factor authentication process allows you to secure your accounts by giving users another method to prove that they are the real owners of the account. It is very difficult for hackers to crack an account secured with 2FA. Here is all you need to know about two-step authentication processes.
What is Two Factor Authentication?
If you have online accounts, I am sure you have realized that they always ask you to secure the accounts using 2FA. When you allow, you will be asked how you want to be receiving the verification code. This could be either by email or by SMS. Usually, you will receive a one-time pin which you should input as the last step to gaining access to your account.
The two-factor authentication beats the single factor authentication, which mainly involves providing a username and password to gain access to an account. However, most people have one password that secures almost all their accounts. Guess what will happen next? Once attackers manage to hack one account, all your other accounts will be compromised. Other users will create passwords that can be guessed even by the most basic hacking software. Such passwords are created from their names, dates of birth, place of birth and other easily detectable clues.
Types of Two Factor Authentication
As mentioned earlier, SMS is one way you can receive the verification codes. However, you ought to be careful with this method because lately there have been cases of telephone porting. All the same, SMS authentication is safer than emails because we all know how vulnerable emails are when it comes to hacking and phishing.
Use of third-party applications
Another method you can use to secure your two-factor authentication is by use of software or an application. The application will receive the code to complete the final step of logging into the said account. However, some applications can only be installed remotely, and in the event that you lose your mobile device, the code can be accessed by whoever gets hold of the device. One example of an application you can use is the Google Authenticator.
Some of these applications are cloud-based, and these will allow you to can access your data even when you don’t have your device. Better still, you can invest in applications that can store data on multiple devices such that when you lose a device, you can still access the other.
Most large organizations use hardware as a method of securing their accounts. The hardware 2FA involves the use of USB devices that are integrated into your computer or phone via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC). Other companies use hardware with a small chip. These chips generate the security codes. For you to get the codes, you have to first access to the hardware. This method is considered the most secure.
Authentication Factors Used to Secure Accounts
Authentication factors refer to the different ways one can confirm their identity when trying to log into their accounts. Here are some of the factors that can be used to determine a 2FA:
- Something the user knows such as a password or pin often referred to as the knowledge factor.
- Time factor that blocks access to an account once the set time elapses.
- Possession factor which involves the user providing something they personally own such as an identification document.
- Location factor which is determined by the user’s IP address or the location from which the device is accessed from. The factor limits access from unknown geographical location based on the user’s history.
- Biometric factor that allows access if features such as facial, biometric data, and voice are recognized.
Where to Use a Two Factor Authentication
We can all admit that cybersecurity is of paramount need now more than ever. This is because fraudsters have devised better ways of gaining access to personal information such as financial data, photos, videos, and messages. You should use the 2FA on all your accounts. However, it is good to confirm whether the account allows users to secure their accounts using the two-factor authentication method. Some of the most important accounts to secure are:
- Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
- Email accounts
- Applications such as bank apps, and Skype.
- Cloud accounts such as Dropbox and OneDrive.
A virtual private network will also help to improve your security on the internet. With these devices, hackers will not be able to attack you directly since your IP address will be hidden. You should, therefore, consider installing a VPN to your devices.
A 2FA is necessary as an extra layer of security for users. It is rare for attackers to gain access to secure accounts. The 2FA can be in the form of an SMS, an email, or a phone call. Alternatively, a user can install applications, software, and hardware that store the codes. You should also consider installing a VPN to enhance your online security further.