The online identity of the authentic end users is at a risk of getting compromised any time by the hackers. It is because they; end users, protect their online identity using a single set of login credentials, i.e. username and password combination. The password is no longer a secure way, as it can be easily hacked by the online attackers using advanced hacking techniques available today. It shows that the online identity security is becoming a big challenge. The end users simplify the hacking process by using the same username and password combination, making it an easier task for the fraudsters to gain access to their valuable online accounts with a single hack. There is a need to an additional security layer or user authentication in the login process for improving the online security to its best level. One method that improves security and ensures no hacking of the digital assets is Two Factor Authentication.
What exactly this method is?
Two Factor Authentication, or simply 2FA, is a method that adds an extra security layer or authentication factor in the normal login procedure to verify identity of the user who is logging the account. In other words, this security method requires two different factors – password and a verification code, to check whether the user is authentic or not, and grant him access based on the two set of login credentials entered by him. The second factor, i.e. verification code, is sent to the registered mobile or any other physical device of the user, and is valid only for a few seconds. Due to the use of minimum two authentication factors for completing the login process successfully, this security method is also known as Two Step Verification.
Possible factors of authentication
The knowledge factors (something you know) – username, email, password, PIN, a secret question & answer.
The possession factors (something you have) – credit/debit card, mobile or any other physical device.
The inherence factors (something you are) – biometric characteristics of the user such as iris, retina, face scan, voice recognition, fingerprint.
Time and Location factors – geolocation.
2FA – Two Factor Authentication security method uses any two out of the possible four authentication factors for the verification purpose.
Combining ‘something you know’ with ‘something you have’ or ‘something you are’ is significantly more secure as it cannot easily be guessed or compromised by the online attackers. In fact, Two Factor Authentication is a single solution to all sorts of the online scams occurring over the Internet.
How 2FA strengthens security level?
Two Factor Authentication requires the users to use ‘something they know’ and ‘something they have’ or ‘something they are’ to complete the login procedure successfully. After entering the valid username and password combination, a verification code is immediately sent to the user’s registered mobile device via a text message. A user will get access to the service only after he enters this verification code in less than a minute. If any unauthorized user hacks your password, then he won’t be able to access your account, as he needs to enter the second factor, i.e. verification code. In this way, 2FA strengthens the online security level.
Adding this second layer of security is must to keep the hackers or intruders away from your valuable digital assets. 2FA emerges as the best solution for the online security.
One of the common examples of Two Factor Authentication in your everyday life is cash withdrawal through an ATM. In this process, you require your credit/debit card (something you have) and a 4-digit PIN (something you know). Without the combination of both card and PIN, cash withdrawal won’t be possible even for an authentic user also. If someone else steals your card, then withdrawing cash requires a secret PIN as well. This second factor prevents an unwanted transaction.
Two Factor Authentication (2FA) security method completely reduces or minimizes the possibility of cyberattacks. It is because 2FA makes login process more complex by requiring an extra factor along with username and password combination.