With the development of the Internet and many of its associated features has also come to the proliferation of hackers. These are highly skilled experts in intercepting security systems and stealing passwords with the intention of taking over people’s assets and accounts, even banking ones.
Nevertheless, the rise of hackers forced some of the most prominent Internet services and websites to implement additional security measures to protect their users and customers’ content and digital assets.
The good name of these brands and pages is subject to the public’s scrutiny (more than ever before), and they do whatever it takes to safeguard everyone’s accounts with tools such as multi-authentication factor aka two-step factor.
What is multi-factor authentication?
Specifically, hackers are so talented these days that just a single password isn’t enough to offer robust protection to people’s accounts.
Subsequently, numerous hacking cases have occurred in recent times, and some of them have gained widespread fame and notoriety.
Indeed, given the rise of online threats, setting just a password isn’t enough to protect your assets anymore (as it was in the past).
No, passwords are not to blame, they are the same, it is just that the cybercriminals and agencies have become smarter.
So because of that, they aren’t nearly as secure as they once were, and it only represents one hurdle between your security and identity theft.
Consequently, the implementation of the two-step (two-factor) authentication solves this problem for good.
The feature asks customers for a service that hold an account for more than a little password. It requires “something you know,” which is the password, and additionally, “something you have.” In this case, that could be your phone or email.
To successfully enter into your account, you need to type your password, and then, the system will send a code to your mobile phone or your email address.
After you receive it, you need to write the PIN, which is the second security measure to fulfill. If what you wrote is incorrect, you will not gain access. Otherwise, you will now be able to enjoy the services of your preferred pages and accounts.
Passwords have become extremely easy to hack in our times, so everybody is migrating to the multi-factor authentication feature, and with good reason. With it, sniffers and prying eyes will most likely be away from what you need to protect.
Why should you be using a multi-factor authentication feature?
The answer to the question is rather obvious. If you have an online banking account, then you probably don’t want any stranger, let alone hackers, to access that at any cost.
You surely won’t feel comfortable with someone entering your email account, and you will make sure that nobody messes with your social media outlets without you knowing.
Email security is increasingly important. Laptop and smartphone owners have their accounts synchronized with their devices, so if they misplace them, it is effortless for other people to access their electronic mail.
These things are often taken lightly, but having a stranger with access to your account is not a pleasant surprise – right?
Gmail, for example, has implemented the two-factor authentication in the form of a text message, side apps or a physical-token such as YubiKey. And no matter which method you chose, you should just enable MFA right now!
Hackers are able to get their hands on users data effortlessly because very few people understand the importance of having multiple security layers to protect a digital asset.
They can easily surpass a password if they are skilled enough (and they indeed are), but what happens when the system asks them for the code it sent to the person’s cell phone? They won’t be able to keep going.
The two-factor authentication system is not complicated to set up as well as is usually free, so there is entirely no downside associated with its implementation.
And if you are worried about losing or misplacing your mobile, most two and multi-factor authentication measures may have alternative ways to help you.
Example: In the case of Google, the assistance may come in the form of disabling your email account, gaining access to your email with a trusted device or backup codes, turning off the two-factor authentication until you get a new Sim card or phone, and canceling your password.
The threat of hackers
Not only hackers represent a dangerous hazard for Internet users and account holders; the problem is that hacking tools are also on the rise and almost anyone can use them to their benefit and your (the target) detriment. Of course, the number of hacking attacks is alarming, and we must do something.
People still have a hard time forgetting the 25 million Gmail and Yahoo accounts that were once being sold online. There were also reports saying that nearly 200 million Yahoo accounts appeared for sale on the web. Do you want your account to be one of them? Do you want to get caught unprotected? Certainly, not!
The whole point of the two-step authentication is making life extremely difficult for hackers around the world.
Protection of your system and digital resources, including passwords and credit card numbers, is a critical aspect of a satisfactory online experience. With the currently reviewed system (the MFA), a person wanting to access your accounts would need your “something you know” and your “something you have.”
Difference between two-factor authentication and two-step authentication
Both, the two-factor authentification and two-step authentification are in fact two names of one thing. Som people name that as two-factor authentification whereas others say two-step.
Whereas, when it comes to authentification systems – today, three authentication systems are widely accessible.
The single factor one uses a PIN or a password to grant access to account or service, whereas the two-factor one would additionally need a code – generated via software or hardware (or a smart card).
There is also the two-step authentication, which requires a single factor plus a PIN that the system sends to the customer’s out-of-band.
The most commonly implemented practice is that the second stage of the two-step auth requires a code it sent to the users’ email or phone — and entering that alongside the password, which is considered “something you have” and because of that, would fall into the two-factor category. The code used in the second phase can still be counted as “something you know.”
The two-factor system is the one where the two elements needed for gaining access need to be on distinct categories in the universe of three: something you know, something you have, and something you are.
Which sites use multi-factor authentication?
The two-factor (multi-factor) authentication system is not yet available in all primary Internet sites.
However, the approach is becoming increasingly widespread, and each day, more services are adopting it to safeguard their customers and users’ assets.
Below are some of the popular platforms where you can benefit from MFA (Multi-factor Authentication).
- Gmail/Google: Google’s system sends a code through SMS when you try signing into your account from a new, unrecognized machine. For iOS, Android and BlackBerry, there is also the Google Authenticator application. If you wish to enable Google’s 2FA, you can do that here.
- Apple: When a user tries to enter the account from an unknown machine, Apple sends a four-digit code by SMS or the “Find my iPhone” notifications. Apple’s documentation explains their multi-factor authentication feature in detail.
- Facebook: The social giant implements the “Login Approvals” measure, sending a six digit code to the account holder through text on mobile when he/she tries to enter from a new device. Android, BlackBerry, and iOS users can also use the Google Authenticator app.
- Twitter: The platform sends a 6-digit secret code by text message when someone tries to enter from an unknown machine. You can find this option in your Twitter settings.
- Yahoo! Mail: The all-around Internet and email powerhouse sends a six-digit passcode over text message.
- Dropbox: A 6-digit code through text message gets send by this widely-used synchronization and storage service, only when the users try to access their account from an unrecognized device. It is also compatible with Google Authenticator.
- PayPal: As like a couple from above, PayPal also uses a six-digit passcode, which gets sent to the user by dint of text message, when he or she attempts not recognized access. Head over here if you want to enable this feature on PayPal.
- Microsoft: For all your Microsoft accounts, the system will send you a 7-digit code over the text message whenever you log in using a new device.
- Amazon: Glacier Storage, Amazon S3, and other related services use Google Authenticator for their two factor authentication.
- LinkedIn: The world’s most significant portfolio and job hunting platform has also implemented the two-factor authentication method. Once set, the system sends a code of six-digits by SMS when the users try signing in from an unknown device.
In conclusion, with all the hacking scandals popping-up(almost daily) and endured around the world, users need to implement additional security measures other than a simple password for their social media, Internet, and online banking accounts.
The loss of essential data and the threat of hackers are the two main reasons why you should be using the two-factor authentication measure to protect your digital assets.
Good thing is, every prominent website and service online is adopting the approach. So, you should not miss out on that – setup MFA on every single online service that offers it. It is not going to cost you anything, as well as you will have your data protected too. Sounds like an attractive deal, don’t you agree?