A Complete Overview of Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

A Complete Overview of Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

“Security of the valuable online accounts, data and information is extremely important for all the authentic end users worldwide, as cybercrimes are increasing day by day at a very fast pace”.

The Problem

The end users have several online accounts for performing different activities over the internet such as emailing, net banking, online shopping, etc. Most of them (the end users) use the same passwords for accessing their online accounts. The username and password, as you know, are the primary means of verifying identity of a user. With the help of password, you prove you are who you say you are. This process of proving your identity in the login procedure to gain access to the account is known as authentication. There are different factors of authentication available in today’s cutting-edge technology. The passwords are one of its kind.

Normally, one of the most common ways of authenticating a user is the username and password combination. The major problem associated with using just password-only authentication method is that it does not provide the next level security to the online accounts and data. All an attacker needs to do is to guess or compromise your secret password. If he manages to accomplish this task successfully, then he can easily gain instant access to your digital assets. The harm can be even far greater, if you use the same passwords for all your online accounts. To better protect your online accounts, data and information, you must move to stronger authentication methods that require the use of two or more factors in the login procedure to authenticate or verify identity of the user.

The Solution

Strong authentication method that is 2FA (Two Factor Authentication), also known as Two Step Verification, uses two factors; password (the first one) and a unique verification code (the second one) to check authenticity of the user. This method is the best and proven solution to the problem associated with using just password-only authentication in the login procedure. Cash withdrawal through an ATM is one of the common examples of Two Factor Authentication security method. In fact, it is one of the strongest ways to protect unauthorized access to your online accounts, data and information. So, move ahead with 2FA for a better account security.

Two Factor Authentication, also referred to as 2FA or Two Step Verification, is a security method that adds an extra layer in the normal login procedure to check whether the user is authentic or not. 2FA security method requires not only the secret password, but also a unique verification code or OTP (One Time Passcode) to gain instant access to the account. This unique verification code is sent to the registered mobile device of the user via a text message after every login attempt. The validity of this code is less than 60 seconds. Two Factor Authentication is a recommended best practice for protecting the end users online accounts and sensitive data.

Different factors to authenticate a user

The knowledge factor (something you know) – username, password, PIN, any secret question and its answer.

The possession factor (something you have) – credit & debit card, mobile device.

The inherence factor (something you are) – biometric characteristics such as iris, retina, face scan, voice recognition, fingerprint of the user.

Time and Location factors

How does it work?

Being an end user, if you have enabled Two Factor Authentication on your online account, then it won’t be possible for any hacker to gain access to it. It is because he requires your secret password and a unique verification code to simplify hacking of your account. He may manage to know the first factor; the password, but he can’t get the second factor; a unique verification code. The reason is that this unique verification code or OTP is sent to your registered mobile device (something you have) once the hacker enters the valid username and password combination of your online account. In this way Two Factor Authentication security method works, and secures your valuable account.

Something you know + Something you have or Something you are = Two Factor Authentication

Using Two Factor Authentication security method provides a protective layer that can help make sure your sensitive data and information is only accessed by those who are legitimately authorized to access it.