Multi-factor authentication is used all over the internet to make sure that users are safe and their data is secure. It is a combination of several different authentication factors, for example:
A knowledge factor – this is something chosen by you (the user), that you know; for example a PIN or password
A possession factor – something that you hold, e.g. an ID card, smartphone or maybe a security token.
An inherence factor – also known as a biometric factor which is something unique to you; fingerprints or Face ID.
Two factor authentications, or 2FA, is used to add an additional layer of protection for your accounts online and is a combination of two of the above factors. Have you ever been sent a text with a code to use in an app, or been asked to prove you’re not a robot? Sound familiar?
We are all familiar with single-factor authentication, which is one layer of security and it is most commonly a password that you set up when first creating your account for a website.
What can I do about it?
Email and social media accounts are under scrutiny to protect our data, and online banking services are having to make it tougher and tougher for criminals to access our banking information.
Multi-factor or two factor authentications are only as secure as their weakest part, if you have a very weak password then you are still at risk. Make sure you have a secure password (check out my previous blog post for tips), do not use sites that you do not know and trust, and if you are suspicious about a link that you have been sent – do not click on it.
You can use Authy, Google Authenticator, or Microsoft Authenticator. Depending on which app or login that you want to protect, you will have to check which Authenticator supports it. These are all apps that can be downloaded on your smartphone, and these allow you to carry out the second factor of the authentication with a single tap on your phone or smartwatch. With a few simple steps you can set up 2FA in minutes.
There are lots of handy guides, and I have linked you to some of the ones I used on Authy.
See you next time!