Accounts Compromise Made Harder with Two Factor Authentication

Accounts-Compromise-Made-Harder-with-Two-Factor-Authentication

The malicious attacks over the internet are on the rise, and no authentic end user can deny this fact. Taking these types of attacks into consideration, the security of the digital assets i.e. online accounts, sensitive data and information must be the primary focus of all the end users. To hack or compromise an online account, the hackers need a single set of login credentials; username and password combination. It is because most of the end users globally access their online accounts and data using just a single secret password. Therefore, it is better for the end users not to rely on just password-only verification, and use an additional security layer in the login procedure to prevent the online accounts compromise. Two Factor Authentication is the best option, as it is more than just password.

Definition

Two Factor Authentication or 2FA is a security method that adds an extra protection layer in the login procedure to verify identity of the user who is logging in to the account. This security method requires two different factors – unique verification code or OTP (One Time Passcode) and a secret password, to check whether the user is authentic or not. The unique verification code is sent to the registered mobile device of the user immediately after entering the correct username and password combination, and remains active only for a few seconds. Due to the involvement of two different steps in logging the account successfully, 2FA is also referred to as Two Step Verification.

Authentication factors

The possible authentication factors used for verifying identity of the user are:

Something you know (the knowledge factors) – username, password, PIN, secret question.

Something you have (the possession factors) – credit & debit card, mobile phone.

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

Time and Location factors – geographic location.

The combination of any two of the possible four authentication factors, especially ‘something you know’ and ‘something you have’ is known as Two Factor Authentication method.

Two Factor Authentication security method is used in day-to-day activities. One of the most common examples of this method is cash withdrawal through an ATM using credit/debit card. For completing cash withdrawal process successfully, you need both your card (something you have) and a 4-digit PIN (something you know). Without the availability of both these things, you won’t be able to withdraw cash even if you are an authentic user.

The same case exists with the online accounts and confidential data of the end users. If someone else hacks your secret password, then he can’t gain access to your valuable online account. It is because he needs both a unique verification code along with the password to log in to your account successfully. In this way, Two Factor Authentication security method prevents accounts compromise. With 2FA-enabled login procedure, ‘something you know’ and ‘something you have’ or ‘something you are’ is must.

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