In today's world of increasing digital frauds, people need to become highly familiar with the importance of online security, logins, usernames and passwords. But it was proven how only that is not enough to protect your personal information. With the standard security procedure of only requiring a simple username and password, it has become incredibly easy for hackers (groups or individuals) to gain access to a user's private data such as personal and financial details. Criminals use that information to commit fraudulent acts, generally of a financial nature or in plenty of cases, identity theft.
As cyber-crimes get more complex and harming, cybersecurity had to step up the game and introduce sophisticated authentication procedures for users. The most known and a MUST for everyone is Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, two step verification or TFA (as an acronym). It represents an extra layer of security requiring not only a password and username but also something that only the user knows or has, such as personal information only they should know or have immediately to hand - like a physical token. Using a username and password together with a piece of information that only the user knows makes it harder for potential intruders to gain access and steal that person's personal data or identity.
Two-factor authentication adds more security to your information beyond your password. It significantly decreases the risk of hackers breaching your online accounts by combining your password (something the user knows) with a second safety layer, like your personal mobile phone number. Many websites have implemented 2FA which is available from the security settings of your online accounts, yet, often, is an option entirely up to the user to turn on this free feature.
Two-factor authentication tool goes back some years and is not a new concept. However, its use has become far more prevalent with the digital age we now live in and the online threats the masses are exposed to. Google, Yahoo and MSN have this feature in place as early as 2011. It requires either your personal cell number or another email address you have access to. Usually the person receives a text message with a code which gives full access to the account after the password was typed in. Hence two layer security log in procedure. More recently, an increasing number of online services providers ask users to come up with personal questions and answers only they know.
When it comes to banks and online banking, these businesses came up with hardware tokens, issued by the bank to use with their card and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when looking to complete internet banking transactions. Most of the banks offer mobile versions of online banking that also use your mobile number for two-factor authentication.
Using a Two Factor Authentication process significantly helps lowering the number of identity theft cases on the Internet, email phishing and stealing money from people’s accounts because the criminal would need more than just the users name and password details. Most attacks originate from remote internet connections, so 2FA makes these attacks less threatening as obtaining passwords is not sufficient for access. It is unlikely an attacker would also be able to obtain the second authentication factor associated with the user’s account. Make sure your turn on this feature for safety and peace of mind knowing your personal data and information is securely stored. In an increasingly digitalized world, security is becoming more and more important as information breaches are frequent.
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