Two-factor Authentication also known as 2-step verification or 2FA, is a process that employs two methods to identify that you are really the person you are claiming to be when log into online accounts such as email, banking or social media.
When you log into an online account with a user name and password that process is call single factor authentication, there is just one layer of security in the identification process.
With Two-factor Authentication, you need to provide two things (1) is your password and (2) additional security layer to identify you such as a verification code send to email to text to you mobile, if that process of verification is passed then system is processed and you can log into your account. When a token’s random number is combined with a verification code, the resulting pass code provides best positive identification, and more reliable user authentication. It usually requires the user to supply additional contact information for the CODE during the registration process. CODEs can be delivered by:
- Short Message Service – SMS Text message
- Google Authenticator – a list of one-time codes
Why is it important?
In order to keep your data safe, it is important that only authorized users use users’ credentials. Implementing two-factor authentication is one of the simplest and most effective actions can take to improve the security of your data. Two-factor authentication requires users to provide two forms of validation to access their online account. By requiring more than one factor during the login process, it is far more difficult for a hacker to gain access to user accounts. Even if hacker obtains a user’s credentials, the second form of authentication can help prevent access to the user account.
- wherever possible, activate two-factor authentication (2-step verification or 2FA)
- use strong passwords and keep them safe
- do not use the same passwords for different online sites
How to setup your two-factor authentication
Some online services such as paypal, gmail, banking, and gas or electricity bill will automatically prompt you to setup for a second factor when you log in. However, many other online services do not, so you will need to activate it. This can be find in the setting and look for the option to switch on 2FA in your online accounts.
There are several types of two-factor authentication such as:
- Email with code. An email with a 6-digit code is sent to the email address you provided when registering with online services. You need to enter this code to complete the verification process.
- Text message (SMS). A text message is sent to your mobile phone with a 6-digit code. Enter this code to complete the verification process.
- Google Authenticator. For this method, you should install the Google Authenticator app. This application allows you to receive codes even if you do not have an Internet connection or mobile service. The Google mobile app on your device generates a verification code. Enter this code to complete the verification process.
Some online accounts such as Gmail give you an option with a list of backup codes when you switch on 2FA. Each code will only work once, so you will need to create a list of your backup codes. Backup codes are useful if you need to log in without a phone to hand. However, you will need to store the codes in a safe place and easy to access when you need it.
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