Let’s talk about Two Factor Authentication. Sometimes you’ll see it written as 2FA.
In the most simplest terms, two factor authentication means using two different methods of authentication to verify that an individual indeed is that person.
The good — makes your account safer
The bad — still hackable, but it’s harder
The ugly — it’s annoying when you are in a hurry.
Almost everyone knows that you can authenticate yourself with a password. But did you know there are other forms of authentication? Below are the 3 ways you can authenticate yourself with.
Something you know — passwords
Something you are — biometrics
Something you have — badge, phone
Something you know — This is a password. This is something in your mind that no one else knows. Security questions — only you technically know them.
But this isn’t enough. Someone else might figure it out. By itself, it’s not safe.
Have you ever filled out or seen a popular Facebook questionnaire where it asks you fun little questions to get to know you better? Some of those questions might be like: where you grew up, your favorite color, pet’s name.
Answering these questions, while harmless, can compromise your password security because if you ever forget your password, most security questions are basically the same questions from that Facebook questionnaire. And if you answered those questions truthfully, then someone probably knows your favorite color.
Let’s explore some non password authentication methods:
Biometric — using some element of your body to identify yourself.
Fingerprint, face recognition, retina scan, hair, voice.
Something you are utilizes a biometric to identify an individual.
Something you have — something physical that no one else should have.
An employee badge is a good example.
Your phone, along with a text or email another good example
Individually, these are just authentication methods. But, when put together, you get 2 factor authentication.
Simply put, you use 2 items from the list above, to authenticate a person. This makes it harder for hackers to get into an account, because they have to have 2 pieces.
While this solution isn’t 100%, it’s still better than just relying on a password. An attacker has to go the extra mile to get one of the other items.
Security by layers. Most attackers are lazy. Unless this is a targeted attack, 2 factor will deter most attacks.