Today, more and more of our lives are happening on mobile devices, laptops and computers. So it’s no wonder why our digital accounts are the prime target for cyber criminals.
Attacks against the government, companies and individuals are happening every day. High profile data breaches and password leaks are becoming more and more common. Cyber criminals are continuously developing more sophisticated hacking methods, making some security practices obsolete.
Fortunately, for any organization, one simple method for protecting digital accounts remains effective: two-factor authentication (2FA). Learn more about why two-factor authentication is important.
What is two-factor authentication?
Two-factor authentication is the method of verifying your identity by adding a second factor of authentication to your account. Incorporating 2FA adds an additional step to the login process. After users enter their credentials, 2FA prompts users to enter an additional code before they can access their account.
Types of two-factor authentication
There are many types of 2FA available. Some are more secure than others, but all provide improved protection for digital accounts.
Here are a few of the most common forms of 2FA:
Software tokens are the most popular form of two-factor authentication and requires software that generates a time-sensitive, single use passcode to use to access an account. The user must download and install a 2FA app on a smartphone or desktop, such as Google Authenticator, Authy, or Microsoft Authenticator. These applications are compatible with a variety of websites.
Once the user configures the application with the account, it will begin generating and cycling through time-sensitive codes.
To access the account, the user must use the code provided by the 2FA application to access the account. These passcodes are usually only valid for less than a minute.
SMS or Voice-based Messages:
In an SMS-based 2FA environment, a user attempting to access an account will be sent an SMS message containing the 2FA code.
Similarly, voice-based 2FA automatically dials the user’s phone and verbally delivers the 2FA code.
SMS and voice-based authentication is one of the least secure methods of 2FA.
A user with a smartphone or computer can receive notifications when an authentication attempt is taking place. The user can view details related to the request and can approve or deny access through the provided link.
Push notifications provide a more user-friendly form of security.
In Biometric 2FA, user identities are verified via fingerprints, retina patterns, and facial recognition.
These types of authentication are in development and are sure to become more popular within the next few years.
Why use two-factor authentication?
Passwords, no matter how complex, are no longer as infallible as they once were. Cyber attackers can test billions of passwords in seconds. Furthermore, it’s extremely common for users to use the same password across multiple accounts, meaning once hackers have access to one account, they can gain access to other accounts with relative ease.
2FA provides additional protection to accounts that is independent of password strength, and more secure than traditional security questions, which can be guessed by hackers who can view public social media profiles. Dexter Edward incorporates 2FA support into several of their solutions that can help your organization be secure, encrypted, and traceless.