What is Two-Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is an extra layer of security beyond a password to ensure your accounts are highly protected. It does add a step to your log-in process and varies depending on how the account vendor, such as your email or cloud account, has implemented it. The minor inconvenience is worth it to avoid theft of your identity, data, or money. In most instances, once you are signed in to an account using a trusted device or the web, you won’t be asked for additional verification unless you sign out completely or change your password for security reasons. The password is your single factor of authentication. The second factor can come from one of three methods:
1. Something you know: For example, a personal identification number (PIN) or an answer to a secret question.
2. Something you have: This is typically something the user possesses, such as a credit card or a smartphone.
3. Something you are: This category is somewhat more advanced, including things such as a fingerprint scan or voice print.
The most common form of 2FA today involves the “something you have” component: your smartphone. In many instances, after providing a username and password to enter a site, the user is sent a numeric code through text messaging in order to complete the process.
Why is Two-Factor Authentication Important?
Malware attacks to company-sensitive or personal information have become extremely prevalent with the rise of technology. The average internet user should change their passwords regularly, since they can be scooped up by scammers very easily. It is important to be aware of cybercrime and its capabilities, as well as how to prevent it from happening to you. By using 2FA, you are making an attack harder which essentially disables a subset of the hacker community. Two-factor authentication is a great way for businesses to keep their users protected in the long-run.
Is 2FA Vulnerable to Hackers?
Although two-factor authentication is more secure than single-factor authentication, it is still susceptible to hackers. In order for malicious attackers to hack the system, they must either get access to the physical component of the log-in or the cookies/tokens placed on the device by the authentication mechanism. This can happen by phishing, malware, or credit-card reader skimming. Hardware tokens depend on the security of the issuer or manufacturer and can cause the entire system to be compromised if weaknesses exist. The probability of being hacked is reliant on your willingness to keep yourself and your business protected against it.
The Future of Two-Factor Authentication
It is best to use two-factor authentication for all of your online accounts. Rather than a replacement, 2FA should be treated as a supplement to strong passwords. In today’s digital world, you can never be too cautious. Most banks, cloud-based services, and social media platforms already have some form of 2FA in place. As two-factor authentication becomes more prevalent among businesses, it will naturally become easier to use.
Two-factor authentication is especially useful in today’s environment, as the switch to working remotely has changed the workplace dynamic for many businesses. An increased reliance on technology comes with heightened risks, and a need for greater security implementation. Alternative methods to passwords, such as biometrics, are great for the workplace. Employees can access their work without having to enter passwords – and IT continues to maintain control over all log-ins. It may not be a bulletproof solution; however, increased adoption in 2FA would create significant opportunities to refine the technology. Ramping up the security and functionality of 2FA may be a difficult task to achieve but – with the right tools and the right people – the future looks promising.
Cybersecurity Services in Fairfield, New Jersey
At Mindcore IT Services, our team of experts is committed to protecting your business against cybersecurity threats. A single attack can compromise all of your company-sensitive data, which can lead to potentially devastating financial repercussions. That’s why we are here to help! After assessing your current system, we will provide a personalized plan to help you understand how to best protect your company. To learn more about the services we provide, contact us today. We look forward to working with you!