Have you wondered why two-factor authentication has been appearing more and more on social media and other platforms? Read on to find out what it is and why you should use it.
You’ve likely heard about two-factor authentication (2FA) by now, and may have even set up 2FA on some of your personal accounts on social media or on various websites.
But why is 2FA suddenly cropping up everywhere, and why is it so important to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your personal data as safe as possible?
Keep scrolling to learn exactly what 2FA is, what types of 2FA there are and how it helps to keep your passwords safe.
What is two-factor authentication?
2FA is a security process where users must provide two different authentication factors to get into their account. It can come in many forms and usually goes alongside your usual username and password login.
It is higher security than single-factor authentication (SFA) which only requires one method of authentication to get into an account, usually being the standard username and password.
2FA makes it much harder for hackers or phishing accounts to get access to your personal data, as even if they managed to discover your password they still wouldn’t be granted access to whatever account they were trying to get into, as long as you have 2FA enabled.
It’s generally a better way to protect the user and their credentials and the resources they’re accessing.
What types of two-factor authentication are there?
There are a few different 2FA methods that are currently being used, with some being more effective than others.
There are SMS and voice-based 2FA, which involves a message being sent directly to your phone. Usually, the message includes a one-time password (OTP) that the account holder can use to gain access to their account after the initial login stage.
This method is still quite popular but is not the most secure as phones can be hacked, and if your phone was stolen and someone was trying to get into an account, they would be able to use the code that was sent to you.
There are also software tokens, which are one of the most popular ways to use 2FA. This involves downloading an application onto your device, and when logging into an account you would have to enter the security code that is provided by the app. Instagram supports this form of 2FA, and it is wildly seen as one of the safer ways to set up 2FA.
One of the newest versions of 2FA is biometric or inherence factor, which requires you to use your fingerprint or a facial recognition scan to access your account. The benefits are that you’re the only one capable of unlocking the verification, and it is becoming an option for users who download 2FA apps, like Microsoft Authenticator.
There are also push notifications, which immediately notify users when someone is attempting to log in to their account. Twitter currently allows for this, so you are aware if your account is compromised as soon as it happens.
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Why is two-factor authentication important?
2FA is important as it adds another security measure to your account so it’s even harder for people to access it without your permission. Plus, as hackers and phishing accounts get smarter, it’s important to make sure your account is as protected as possible, which is why some websites and applications even allow for three-factor authentication (3FA) for further protection.
Moreover, since people have so many different accounts, it’s likely that you’re reusing some of your usernames and passwords for different platforms. This is dangerous as it makes it easier for hackers to get into multiple accounts you operate on and find out more of your data, so relying on more than just a password helps keep hackers out of your account.
2FA is also usually very simple to set up and is encouraged on most social media sites and email service providers, so it’s never been easier to set up 2FA for your personal accounts.
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