Most people globally use the internet in today’s cutting-edge technology, and almost all of them have the online accounts. But, security of these accounts is an important step too, as the hacking incidents and cyberattacks are increasing at a rapid pace. The primary requirement to log in to an account is the username and password combination. If an unauthorized user i.e. a hacker manages to know secret login credentials; username and password, of an authentic end user, then he can easily access his account. Therefore, security of the online accounts must be the top priority of every end user worldwide. Password alone can’t protect the online accounts from malicious activities that are rapidly increasing over the internet. It is because once it (password) gets hacked, accessing the account becomes extremely easier for an unauthorized user. Therefore, it is must to add extra security layers in the login procedure, so that the account remains protected even if the password gets compromised. One security method that helps to keep the online accounts protected from all sorts of cybercrimes is Two Factor Authentication.
What is Two Factor Authentication?
Two Factor Authentication is the most prevalent way to secure the online accounts, data and valuable information from the hackers. Being a security method, Two Factor Authentication adds an additional protection layer or step in the normal login procedure. This security method is also known as 2FA or Two Step Verification. 2FA security method requires two factors – a secret password; the first factor, and a unique verification code or OTP (One Time Passcode); the second factor, in the normal login procedure to check whether the user is authentic or not. The unique verification code, a second security layer, is sent to the registered mobile device of the authentic user when he or someone else enters the valid username and password combination, and is valid only for a few seconds.
Two Factor Authentication security method asks you to authenticate that you are who you say you are by requiring both secret password and a unique verification code in the login process. If any one of these two factors are missing during the login procedure, then accessing the account won’t be possible even for an authentic user.
One of the common examples of Two Factor Authentication is cash withdrawal through an ATM using your credit or debit card. To withdraw cash, you need both your card (something you have) and a secret 4-digit PIN (something you know). If you don’t know or have any one of them, then cash withdrawal is impossible. For completing the transaction successfully, you need card and 4-digit PIN at the same time. Due to this reason, Two Factor Authentication method is considered highly secure.
Factors involved in the authentication process
The knowledge factor (something you know) – username, password, PIN.
The possession factor (something you have) – credit & debit card, mobile device.
The inherence factor (something you are) – biometric characteristics like iris, retina, face scan, voice recognition, fingerprint.
Two Factor Authentication method, as the name suggests, uses any two out of the above-listed possible three authentication factors to prove identity of the user.