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Helping You Staying Safe & Secure on The Internet
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires two pieces of information to authenticate someone. When you turn on 2FA, it will ask for not only your password but also an additional piece of information, such as a code from a hardware token or the answer to a secret question.
It means that even if someone discovers your password, they can’t access your account without this second factor! Let’s get into it.
If you are an online user, it is essential to understand the importance of two-factor authentication (TFA). Many people think that this type of security measure has become less necessary due to advancements in technology.
Two-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification) is an extra layer for account security that makes it harder for someone to hack into your accounts. Instead of just using one method like a password or PIN to log in, you’ll need to confirm who you are by utilizing another factor.
It is something only the user knows (a password or verification code), something only the user has (such as a hardware token or phone app), or somewhere the user is located (via GPS). A second factor might sound inconvenient at first, but they will be locked out if hackers can’t get past this step.
There are several different ways to implement two-factor authentication. While SMS and push notifications can be convenient, they aren’t as secure as hardware tokens or software tokens that generate OTPs for sign-in. The details include:
A hardware token is a physical device that generates one-time passwords (OTPs), which provide an extra level of security for your accounts. A common type of hardware token is USB devices. Usually, they look like flash drives and contain the OTP generator, receiver, and sometimes even the capability to generate new seeds or PINs on them.
Users receive a text or voice call on their cell phone when they log in to confirm that it’s them. A notification will appear, and the user must tap “Approve” before being allowed into an account. The method of authentication requires no special software but does require access to a mobile phone connected via SMS (text messaging) or voice.
A drawback of this form of two-factor authentication is that attackers can potentially hijack the text messages sent out by services. For example, Google Authenticator if they have physical access to your smartphone or Google account.
Many software tokens for two-factor authentication are compatible with numerous devices. These tokens either use cryptography to generate time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs) or produce passwords as a sequence of numbers.
Push notifications are a great way to deliver the same security without the bulkiness of SMS or voice-based authentication. Instead, your phone receives a push notification with an activation code. You enter it in order to gain access to whatever site or app you’re trying to log into.
If you are not using two-factor authentication, it is time to start. You never know when someone might try to log into your account and get access to all of your information. The authentication factors and account recovery process will make sure that the only person who can log in or change any settings on your accounts is you!
Hence, two-factor authentication adds protection to your accounts without having to remember multiple passwords. Just make sure you use it right! You can also check for other tips to stay safe on the Internet for your privacy.
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