Two-factor authentication (2FA): why you need it and how to use it
Let's talk about security. Have you ever thought about how secure your personal data is online? How often do you use the same password for different accounts? What happens if an attacker steals your password?
It is worth recognizing that the modern world is becoming more and more digital every day and it is difficult to imagine our life without online services. We regularly use internet banking, email, social networks and many other online resources. However, the more we leave our data online, the more likely we are to become a victim of a cyberattack.
That is why we want to tell you about one of the most popular methods of protecting personal data - two-factor authentication, or 2FA for short.
In this article, we will look at: the definition of two-factor authentication, how it works, how to use it, and also give some examples of programs that provide this feature.
Table of contents
What is two-factor authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a method of verifying a user's identity in which two of the three possible authentication factors are combined to grant access to a website or application:
- something the user knows;
- the user has something;
- something the user has.
The purpose of two-factor authentication is to increase the level of security to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. Even if an attacker knows the password, he will not be able to access the account without a second identity verification factor, which is usually harder to fake. Two-factor authentication has become a common security measure in online services to protect users' sensitive information from cyberattacks and data theft.
Possible authentication factors
As we found out, there are the most common authentication factors. Let's look at them in more detail:
- Something the user knows. Most often, this authentication factor falls under: password, PIN code, passphrase or secret question. In order to complete this task, the user must provide information that matches the answers previously provided to the site/organization/application by that user.
- Something the user has. This authentication factor includes entering a one-time password that is generated by a hardware authenticator. Users carry an authentication device with them that, on command, will generate a one-time password. The user is then authenticated by providing this code. Today, organizations provide software authenticators that can be installed on a user's mobile application.
- Something the user has. The next authentication factor implies that the user must be authenticated using biometric data. This may include: fingerprint scanning, face scanning, behavioral biometrics, etc.
Note that on the Internet, the most common authentication factor is something the user has (for example, a bank card) and something the user knows (eg PIN code).
How does 2FA work?
Now let's understand how 2FA works. As you already know, 2FA is an authentication process that requires you not only to enter a password, but also additional confirmation in order to gain access to your personal data. But how does it work in practice?
To start, as usual, you enter your username and password, for example. This is the first factor in confirming your identity. The system will then ask for a second confirmation factor, which may be different depending on which method you have chosen.
For example, if you have selected an SMS code as the second factor, then the system will send you a code to your mobile phone, which you will need to enter on the authentication page. If you have selected an authentication device, then after entering the password, you will need to verify your identity using the specified device.
It is important to note that the second confirmation factor is an additional barrier against intruders. If they know your password, they still won't be able to access your data, as they will need to enter another code or use a different verification method.
In addition, if you notice unusual activity in your account, such as attempts to log in from unknown devices, you can quickly block access to your data using additional security options related to 2FA.
We think that we have figured out how two-factor authentication works in practice! It's fast, simple and very effective in combating various hacks and identity thefts. We hope you now understand why 2FA is so important to your online security.
Importance of 2FA
In the modern world, two-factor authentication has become an important link in the security of a user account. Cybercrime is on the rise and passwords are becoming less and less secure. After a series of high-profile data breaches over the past ten years, many username and password combinations are already available for sale on the DarkNet. In addition, there is a human factor in which passwords become less effective.
2FA will serve as an additional layer of security for your online account and is more likely to prevent your account from being easily hacked. With 2FA enabled, even if a hacker knows your username and password, authentication will still fail and prevent unauthorized access.
Where can you use 2FA
To ensure the protection of personal data, the user in a good way should enable two-factor authentication always and everywhere. Let's see where you can use 2FA:
- social networks;
- online banking;
- password managers;
- cryptocurrency exchanges;
In fact, the list can be much longer, but we decided to limit ourselves to these examples for understanding.
Best 2FA Apps
- Google Authenticator (iOS, Android, Windows);
- Authy (iOS, Android, Windows);
- LastPass Authenticator (iOS, Android, Windows);
- Microsoft Authenticator (iOS, Android);
- 2FAS (iOS, Android).
In case you did not know what two-factor authentication is, we hope that we have covered everything in detail in this article.
The importance of 2FA is, without exaggeration, very important in the modern world, and especially in our beloved field of earning.
Therefore, be careful, set up two-factor authentication and take the security of your personal data seriously.
In this article, we have analyzed: the definition of two-factor authentication, found out what the abbreviation will be 2FA, possible authentication factors, how it works, its importance, where it can be used, as well as the best 2FA applications.
If after reading the article you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!
We hope this article was helpful to you. All successful and profitable investments!
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