In the Age of the Data Breach, Two Factor Solutions are Key

If your bank or social media account (or any account you need to login to) has a 2FA (two factor) option to turn on, DO IT! In this age – it isn’t an option (well, it technically is)

So what the hell is 2FA?

Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, two step verification or TFA (as an acronym), is an extra layer of security that is known as “multi factor authentication” that requires not only a password and username but also something that only, and only, that user has on them, i.e. a piece of information only they should know or have immediately to hand – such as a physical token.

Using a username and password together with a piece of information that only the user knows makes it harder for potential intruders to gain access and steal that person’s personal data or identity.

Many people probably do not know this type of security process is called Two-Factor Authentication and likely do not even think about it when using hardware tokens, issued by their bank to use with their card and a Personal Identification Number when looking to complete Internet Banking transactions. Simply they are utilising the benefits of this type of multi factor Authentication – i.e. “what they have” AND “what they know”.

Using a Two Factor Authentication process can help to lower the number of cases of identity theft on the Internet, as well as phishing via email, because the criminal would need more than just the users name and password details.

If your password and username get stolen in a data breach somewhere OR you inadvertently get hacked yourself, having a two factor solution in place will prevent those people with your stolen credentials from gaining access to your account in most circumstances.  Facebook, for example, has a nifty solution in place which requires you to input an access code when logging in from a new device.  Google and Microsoft (and other companies) have nifty applications for your phone that require you to authorize the login request if someone tries to login to your account from a new device.  You can require a prompt with new device logins or any time you login to an account of yours. For example, say someone gets your username/password for your Gmail account.  When they try to login, a notification pops up on your phone asking if you are trying to login and if you’d like to authorize it.  You can simply deny it and then do more research, change your password, etc.  If you accidentally allow access, you are able to go and revoke access to your account from the application.

 

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