“For every lock, there is someone trying to pick it or break-in”
President, Bernstein Agency
2FA or two-factor authentication is also known as two-step verification or dual verification. You may be familiar with two-factor authorization in Google, Fortnite, Facebook and many other major platforms. As per a recent study shared by ZDNet, more than 47% of Americans don’t know what two-factor verification is. That’s why we’re writing this article for our dear readers.
So, what actually is two-factor verification?
It is a security process designed by the network provider where the user has to ensure that he is providing two factors to authenticate his identity. When you create an account on some social media platform, and it asks you to type the sent code on your smartphone, that’s 2FA.
Having two-step verification is a great improvement to single-step authenctication where you rely on just the strength of your password.
Passwords aren’t hot anymore
Passwords have for long been the reason why someone gets hacked. Many people don’t care about the necessity of having a strong password and they choose a weak password just for the sake of easily memorizing it.
Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when such passwords are hacked and the user’s data is breached.
Strong passwords are in danger as well
Even when people do assign strong passwords, they aren’t fully secure and nor are the passwords. Many people are in habit of storing their sensitive credentials in some third-party app on their smartphones. Any mild attack on such apps can cause your credentials to be stolen and misused.
That is why it is important to have two-factors to authentic your identity online. It adds to your safety online. It is not only highly recommended but is also becoming the norm in the online world.
What Facebook does
For example, if Facebook detects that there is unusual activity on your account, it blocks your accounts and asks you to type a code sent to your smartphone. Your account can not be accessed unless you use the code on your mobile device.
This way, even if someone has hacked the account and were trying to misuse it, Facebook will shut them out and ask for something which only you can have (your smartphone connection)
Let’s discuss various factors that are used in two-factor authentication.
3 factors that rule the authentication
Using a password is traditional and the most common factor in authentication. It’s easy to comprehend and therefore, almost every platform or provider relies on this factor.
But when it comes to the two-step verification process, you have to combine another factor with this traditional one.
As discussed previously, the knowledge factor involves the use of a password or pin. It is the most common method of single-step verification. When you use Pin or password, that belongs to the knowledge factor.
This is the next most common way of two-factor authentication. It involves using something that is in possession of users to authenticate their identity.
Mostly, your smartphone is used for this purpose. But security tokens or I.d cards are also a practiced way of combining possession factors with knowledge factors.
The inherence factor involves the use of human sensitivity. Mostly, it involves the use of fingerprint or facial or voice recognition. Apple has recently added a feature to its iOS where the Face I.d users can log-in to apps or make payments with facial recognition.
Other factors involve location factors where user’s GPS data can be used to authenticate and time factor where the user is provided with a certain time limit to log into the system.
Well, to be honest, we agree that two-factor authentication might not be the pioneer of cybersecurity, but it sure is a vital improvement over the use of passwords or pins. It certainly makes it difficult for hackers to access your accounts/information even if they know or guess your password.
It is very less likely that the hacker will also steal your smartphone, break into it and get the code to provide to the network. So, it is still much secure compared to the traditional password or pins only verification.