2 Factor Authentication Explained

Two Factor Authentication

In the past few years, there have been increased cases of personal data being stolen from different websites. This is attributed to the fact that cyber-criminals are getting more and more sophisticated – making it difficult for companies and individuals to continue using their old security systems to protect information.

Unfortunately, not even the use of passwords can guarantee the security of your information. Although it is important to use them, passwords do not offer foolproof security because of a number of things.

The first one is that most people use very simple passwords that make it easy for an average IT person to hack. The other problem is that most users have too many accounts – something that often makes them recycle passwords.

What is 2FA?

2FA stands for two-factor authentication. It is an additional security layer designed to ensure that the person trying to log in to an online account is who they claim they are.

After logging in with a username and password, a user will still be required to supply the system with more information – usually, a code sent through the user’s mobile number or email address.

Types of 2FA

If you are using a site that doesn’t require 2FA, then there are high chances of that website being hacked – and your information being stolen.

There are several types of 2FA commonly used today – some are stronger and complex compared to others. Nonetheless, all of them offer more security compared to passwords.

Hardware tokens for 2FA

This is probably the oldest form of 2-factor authentication. They resemble a key fob in terms of size and are designed to generate new codes every 30 seconds. When an account user wants to log in, he or she looks at the device and enters the displayed 2FA code into the site or app.

Voice & SMS-based 2FA

SMS-based 2FA works directly with a user’s mobile phone. As soon as a user enters their username and password, the system will auto-generate a one-time passcode (OTP) and send it to the user’s phone via a text message.

Software tokens for 2FA

This is one of the most popular forms of 2-factor authentication. It works almost the same way as the SMS-based 2FA. However, for software 2FA a user must first download and install a 2FA application on their desktop or mobile phone.

In general, 2FA is designed to offer extra security to online users. There are different types of 2-factor authentication that a person can choose from.

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