In today’s world of rapidly increasing malicious activities, cyberattacks and Internet frauds, there is nothing more important than protecting your precious digital assets such as online accounts, data and information. Many authentic end users worldwide have been using default login credentials i.e. “Username” and “Password” combination to access their digital assets. But, this combination is no longer enough to thwart hackers, or cybercriminals. To provide better security against all sorts of cyberattacks occurring over the Internet, a new form of authentication mechanism called 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) is being used by major tech giants around the world, and many others are in process of implementing this mechanism as well.
A brief about this method
Two Factor Authentication is a security method that adds an additional factor or security layer in the login procedure to verify identity of the user. 2FA requires two factors – secret password and a unique verification code or OTP (One Time Passcode), to verify the user’s identity, and granting him access to the online accounts. The unique verification code is sent to the registered mobile device of the user, and is valid only for 30 – 45 seconds. Due to the involvement of two steps in the login procedure, this security method is also referred to as Two Step Verification.
Two Factor Authentication security method uses any two of the possible three authentication factors that are explained below:
Something you know (the knowledge factor)
Knowledge factor as an authentication component has been in use for decades. This includes information that the users know, such as username, password, PIN, a secret question & its answer. However, this alone provides very low level of security and can easily be guessed, phished, or hacked by cybercriminals.
Something you have (the possession factor)
This is another authentication factor. It includes credit & debit card, mobile phone to receive unique verification code, or a separate piece of hardware.
Something you are (the inherence factor)
This type of authentication is associated with something specific to use as a person. It can be something like iris, retina, face, fingerprint scan, voice recognition. These types of authentications are called “biometric” and generally offer the highest level of security.
While a single form of authentication; username and password, may have flaws, when two of the above possible three factors are combined, especially knowledge factor and possession factor, for verification purpose, it becomes “Two Factor Authentication” and is much more difficult for the cybercriminals to gain access.
Benefits of Two Factor Authentication method
- Provides an additional layer of security
- Minimizes risk of data and identity theft
- Reduces both operational and security cost
Two Factor Authentication improves security level of the end users’ valuable online accounts, data and information. This security method ensures that even if one of the factors gets compromised, the other factor keeps hackers, or cybercriminals, away from accessing your accounts, thereby minimizes the risk of data and identity theft.