Two-factor authentication also known as 2FA also referred to as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication, is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. Authentication using two or more different factors to achieve authentication include
- something you know (e.g., PIN, password)
- something you have (e.g., cryptographic identification device, token)
- something you are (e.g., biometric)
For example, if you have a Two-factor authentication setup on your laptop you would need to enter your password then you would need to scan your fingerprint to log in. If you have a Two-factor authentication set up on Gmail, you will need to put in your password then you will need to put in a pin code that you got texted to you or by using the code generated by the Google authenticator app.
This need of using two means to authenticate provides extra safety say you are in the car on your way to work and you get a text message from one of your services like Gmail with a login code and you did not just try to login to Gmail this would tell you two things.
One that someone has your password, and you should change it and two since they have no way of getting the code off your phone, they were unable to log in thanks to the Two-factor authentication you set up on your account.
There is software solution in the business world like Duo that before you can log in to your computer you first enter your password on your computer then you must open the Duo app and hit ok on your phone to allow you to log in to your computer. I know sounds at times this sounds like a lot, but password theft is one of the top security issues on the internet today.
For personal use companies like Microsoft and Google provide free authentication apps for iPhone and Android that you can use to secure and add Two-factor authentication to your accounts.
What accounts should you secure? Any important account with a password. Things like email, bank accounts, social media, and any account that has any kind of personal information.
If you need help or think this is something, you or your company want to do please contact us.