Two Factor Authentication: Security System for Digital Assets

Do you still rely only on the passwords for securing digital assets? If it’s yes, then you are making it extremely easier for the hackers to compromise your online accounts, confidential data and information. It is because even the strong passwords can be easily guessed by the hackers using advanced password-cracking techniques available today. The best solution, or you can say security system, that makes your valuable digital assets harder-to-hack for the online attackers is Two Factor Authentication. It adds a critical layer of security that keeps intruders out and makes sure your digital assets don’t get hacked.

A brief about this security system

Two Factor Authentication, also referred to as 2FA or Two Step Verification, is an additional layer of security that double checks identity of the user before granting him access rights or privileges for an account. 2FA requires at least any two out of the possible three authentication factors – knowledge (what you know), possession (what you have) and inherence (who you are) in the login procedure for verifying identity of the user. These three authentication factors act as the secure login credentials. More factors you use in the login process to protect your assets, higher is the security level.

For gaining access to a 2FA-enabled digital asset, you need password (something you know) and a verification code/token (something you have); the second factor. The verification code is sent to the registered mobile device or any other physical device of the user, and is valid only for a few seconds.

Cash withdrawal through an ATM is the common example of Two Factor Authentication security method. For withdrawing cash successfully, you need 4-digit PIN (something you know) and credit/debit card (something you have). If someone else steals your card, then he needs 4-digit PIN to withdraw cash, or vice versa. The same scenario exists with your digital assets too.

Conclusion

2FA (Two Factor Authentication) security system puts a smart lock on all your valuable digital assets. If a hacker manages to get your password, then he won’t be able to gain access, as a second factor; verification code/token, is required to complete the login process successfully. It’s the functionality of Two Factor Authentication security system.

What’s the Possibility to Bypass Two Factor Authentication?

Two Factor Authentication security solution, also referred to as 2FA or Two Step Verification, was introduced to resolve the weakness of password-only verification i.e. 1FA (One Factor Authentication) and provide a higher security level to the online accounts and data. Logging in to an account using just a single layer of protection, i.e. the secret password, remains no longer enough from the security perspectives. It is because the passwords can be easily compromised or hacked, the hackers have already made this statement true by hacking a plenty of accounts and sensitive data of the users.

With the evolution of technology, the hackers or attackers have also started adopting the latest techniques and finding ways to compromise 2FA-enabled online accounts. Two Factor Authentication security solution, as the name suggests, uses any two out of the possible three different authentication factors; ‘something you know’, ‘something you have’ or ‘something you are’. As this method requires a unique verification code along with the secret password to verify identity of the user, so there is no or a very little possibility to bypass 2FA. The unique verification code or One Time Password is sent to the registered mobile device of the user, and is valid only for a few seconds.

Guessing the secret passwords of end users is a quite easy task for attackers as compared to gaining access to the mobile phone of the users. It reflects that Two Factor Authentication security solution can’t be bypassed.

Authentication factors

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

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

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

Hacker’s access to your phone, makes 2FA bypass possible

One and only situation that makes it possible to bypass Two Factor Authentication security solution is when an attacker not only knows your secret login credentials; username and password combination, but also has your mobile phone in possession for receiving unique verification code or OTP. Your mobile device acts as the strongest link for you, but becomes weak for the attackers to remove 2FA from your account, or receive verification code via SMS or voice calls. Before you realize that something is wrong, the attackers can have access to your online account and sensitive data.

Protecting mobile device is equally important as your secret password, especially for accounts that are 2FA-enabled. It is because if your secret password gets compromised, then unique verification code sent to your mobile acts as a second layer of security. But, if unfortunately, your mobile device also comes in the wrong hands along with the secret password, then Two Factor Authentication security method remains no longer secure for protecting your digital assets.