What is 2 Factor Authentication?
2 Factor Authentication or 2FA refers to a security process in which before being granted access to an account, system, or application, users must provide two different authentication factors to confirm their identity.
Now these two factors will fall into one of the following 3 categories:
- Things You Are Aware Of Usually: This can be a PIN or password that the user has memorized.
- A Possession You Have: This can be a tangible object or token that the user is carrying, like a smartphone, hardware security key, or ID card.
- Something You are: This uses biometric information, which uniquely identifies the user based on their physical characteristics, such as a fingerprint, retina scan, or facial recognition.
The user must provide credentials from at least two of these categories in order to complete the authentication process. For instance, a user would enter their password (something they know) to log into an online account with 2FA enabled, and then they would get a one-time code on their smartphone via a special app or SMS (something they have). In addition to a password, they would need to enter this code in order to access the system.
But why are you required to implement 2FA?
2FA significantly enhances security by making it much harder for unauthorized individuals to access an account, even if they manage to obtain the user’s password. It’s widely used in online banking, email services, social media platforms, and other systems to protect sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.
Best Practices for Using 2FA:
- Use an authentication app whenever possible, as it is more secure than SMS.
- Keep backup codes in a safe place in case you lose access to your second factor.
- Regularly update and secure your authentication methods.
- The adoption of more advanced authentication methods, like biometrics, is expected to increase.
- The ongoing development of password-less authentication methods.
In summary, 2FA is a crucial security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to your online accounts. It’s essential to enable 2FA wherever possible to enhance the security of your digital identity and sensitive information.