What Exactly Is Two Factor Authentication and Why You Need It?

What Exactly Is Two Factor Authentication and Why You Need It

Two Factor Authentication (2FA), also known as Two Step Verification, is an authentication mechanism that adds an additional security layer or step in the login procedure to verify identity or check authenticity of the user. This security method is more than just password-only verification. With Two Factor Authentication security method, the end users require to provide a unique verification code or OTP (One Time Passcode) along with the secret password in the login procedure to gain access to their valuable online accounts, data and information. The unique verification code is sent to the registered mobile number of the user, once he enters the valid username and password combination in the login process. This code is valid only for a few seconds i.e. around 45 seconds, and you must enter it within that time frame to log in to your online accounts successfully. 2FA ensures the optimal security of your digital assets from all sorts of cyberattacks that are increasing at a highly rapid rate in present scenario.

Authentication factors used in 2FA security method

Something you know; the knowledge factor – username, email ID, password, PIN, a security question & its answer.

Something you have; the possession factor – credit & debit card, mobile device, key fob.

Something you are; the inherence factor – biometric characteristics such as iris, retina, face scan, voice recognition, fingerprint.

The combination of any two of the above-listed possible three authentication factors is known as Two Factor Authentication security method.

In a simple term,

Something you know + Something you have or Something you are = 2FA (Two Factor Authentication).

Need of this security method

With fluently increasing malicious attacks and hacking incidents, it has become extremely important for the authentic end users to secure their online accounts and sensitive data. A single authentication factor; the secret password, does not provide optimal security level to the end users’ digital assets. It is because even the strong or complicated passwords can be easily guessed by the hackers or intruders using advanced cryptographic techniques. Therefore, it is must to add an extra security layer in the login procedure to keep the online accounts secure from all types of cyberattacks. Due to this reason, the authentic end users need to enable Two Factor Authentication security method on all their valuable online accounts and data.

2FA is not a new technology in place. We use this method in our day-to-day life. A real-world example of Two Factor Authentication is cash withdrawal through an ATM using your credit or debit card. For completing cash withdrawal process successfully, you need your card; something you have, and secret 4-digit PIN; something you know. If any one of these two factors; card and PIN, is not available, then it won’t be possible to withdraw cash even if you are an authentic user. It reflects that Two Factor Authentication provides protection against identity theft. If someone hacks the secret password of your 2FA-enabled online account, then he can’t log in to the account. It is because he needs the second factor; a unique verification code, to gain access to your account. Due to this high level of security, Two Factor Authentication has become a must have method for every end user to keep the online accounts secure.