Two-factor authentication (sometimes called 2FA) is a way to increase the security of websites/social media/apps that we use online by making it so that you have to do more than providing a password to login.
Before we get into the details, let’s explain what authentication is, and the different types of authentication.
What is authentication?
Authentication is best described as the ability to determine that someone is who they declare to be. When we are using a website/social media/app that requires a log-in, we provide credentials that verify we are who we say we are in the form of a username and a password.
Types of authentication
There are three main methods of providing authentication when we log into a website/social media/app:
- Something you know – this would be a password
- Something you posses – this would be pass-code that is provided to you at log in (I’ll explain in a moment)
- Something you are – this would be a bio-metric method of authentication. Some smart phones/devices are able to read our fingerprints, etc.
Most websites/social media/apps require only one of these forms of authentication to login – a password. This can be problematic for several reasons. Many people choose to use the same password for everything or choose a weak password that can be easily guessed. Even if they are using a strong password, hackers are getting better at mass-password theft.
To protect yourself it is wise to use an additional method of authentication along with your password.
Most websites/social media/apps have an option in their settings to send you a code via text message when you log in. Once you enter your password you will be prompted to enter the code that was just sent to your phone. Once you have entered that code, you will be able to log in as normal.
Doing this means that even if someone else has your password, they will not be able to access your account unless they also have your phone.
Adding this extra security step is just one thing that you can do to help keep yourself from being victim of cyber theft. Want to learn more? Check out our upcoming classes for other ways you can help protect yourself and keep your information safe.