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What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Dec - 12 - 2016
azcomputertechs
2-factor authentication

Keep your online accounts secure with Two-Factor Authentication

Last week we talked about some Email Security Tips.  Another security tip is enabling Two-Factor Authentication to keep your account extra secure.

You may not know it, but you probably already use two-factor authentication in the physical world. This explanation of what it is should help convince you why it’s a good idea to use it with mission-critical online services, too.

When you use your credit card and you must enter in your ZIP code to confirm a charge, that’s an example of 2FA in action. You must provide a physical factor, the card, and a knowledge factor, the ZIP code.

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA as it’s commonly abbreviated, adds an extra step to your basic log-in procedure. Without 2FA, you enter in your username and password, and then you’re done. The password is your single factor of authentication. The second factor makes your account more secure, in theory.

Two-factor authentication adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. When you have to enter only your username and one password, that’s considered a single-factor authentication. 2FA requires the user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to access an account. The three types are:

  • Something you know, such as a personal identification number (PIN), password or a pattern
  • Something you have, such as an ATM card, phone, or fob
  • Something you are, such as a biometric like a fingerprint or voice print

I have enabled 2FA on every single account I can. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, PayPal, LinkedIn, and Evernote are just a few!  It definitely adds an extra step to your log-in process, and depending on how the account vendor, such as Twitter, has implemented it, it can be a minor inconvenience or a major pain. Much also depends on your patience and your willingness to spend the extra time to ensure a higher level of security.

If you need help enabling Two-Factor Authentication with any of your online accounts, please contact us and set up an appointment.


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