What Is Two-factor Authentication

Education, IT Consulting, Security

Two-factor authentication is the latest technology for securing anything you might log in to. You still have your traditional username and password, but there is an added layer “the second factor.” Typically, logging into an account with two factor goes like this:

  1. Add user name and password.
  2. A dialog box displays, asking you to enter the authentication code.
  3. You have the code texted or emailed to you.
  4. You enter the code.
  5. Bob’s your uncle, you’re in.

A real-world scenario might look like this: A burglar finds your address (username) and gets your key (the password). At night, they sneak to your home and unlock the door. On the other side of that door is another door. It requires a secret word. The only way to get that secret word is to have your cell phone and request it to be sent to you.

Why is this important or necessary? With data breaches happening all the time, digital security has become problematic. Many users will use the same password for their Gmail account as they do for their bank account. With two-factor, a second credential is added to a person’s account and it is one that is random and ever-changing. So even if a hacker got the two-factor authentication code, it would only be valid for thirty seconds.

The truth is, two-factor authentication is here to stay.  Learning as much as you can about it is the best way to be prepared to manage it.

If you have any questions, send us a message and we can help.