two-factor authentication

One of the most basic security methods is the creation of strong passwords. The problem is after time, we all need to create not one password but plenty of them. For the personal and job e-mail, banking, taxation, social networks, video streaming service, shopping, etc.

This is bait for hackers. By cracking passwords, they can access all possible sensitive data from people. Besides, many people use the same password for different accounts, they don’t change them regularly, and they use really predictable information. This makes the job really easy for the shady guys.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an authentication method in which users must prove their identities through two different ways to access their accounts. If they don’t provide the correct two factors, access will be denied.

2FA strengthens security by adding a layer of protection. It stops unauthorized people from accessing your sensitive information. Even if they get your user and password, they won’t access directly to your account. An extra factor still is needed.

How does the two-factor authentication (2FA) work? 

2FA adds a step to the regular log-in process. Besides, enter regular credentials (user and password), the users’ fingerprint can be required, or a code that the user will receive via mobile. That involves a separated device from the one you are trying to access, either a scanner or a mobile phone, meaning fewer risks. Regularly such codes are built with at least six numbers. The fewer numbers a code has, the easier it is for hackers to try combinations until they get the right one. This code is generated every time a user attempts to log in (user and password). It is called a verification code, passcode, or authenticator. That way, the identity will be double-checked to prevent hackers.

Without the second factor/step, logging in won’t be possible.

2FA uses several factors. The most common categories are the following.

  • Biological factors. It includes biological aspects like humans’ voices, eye retina, or fingerprints. 
  • Possession factors. A piece of information that can be physically possessed. A USB drive or a plastic card you have to insert on a specific spot to access. 
  • Software factors. Proves of identity supplied by software (applications, cryptographic key, etc.).
  • Knowledge factors. Specific, confidential information to access an account. A particular keystroke, the answer to a question, a code sent to your mobile, etc. 

Types of two-factor authentication (2FA)

There are different technologies available on the market. As you will see, the different factors can be combined to offer you stronger security.

  • Location authentication. Some accounts can require a second step to check the user’s location. When the user logs in with regular credentials (step one), this action triggers the verification of the location based on IP address or GPS coordinates. If your business has permanent regions, countries, or areas of operation, this can be a choice for you.  
  • Biometrics. This technology has become very popular, and it already offers a wide menu of choices. To prove your identity, you have to pass a recognition test. From fingerprint, hand geometry, voice, iris, retina, or face recognition, to gait (walking style), typing style, odour, and much more. 
  • Audio messages or SMS. Codes can be sent to users via SMS or voice message. 
  • Software tokens. They are applications that users install to generate and/or receive the necessary code they need as a second factor for accessing an account.
  • Hardware tokens. These are physical tokens that generate codes or the extra piece of information necessary for users to have access. 

Conclusion

Don’t take security for granted! To crack simple credentials is a piece of cake for hackers. Protect your online accounts and sensitive data with two-factor authentication (2FA).