Friday, February 3, 2023

What is two-factor authentication and how does it protect your account?

  • Relying only on passwords is not enough to protect our online accounts.
  • Activating the two-factor authentication is necessary to protect against unauthorized access to our accounts.
  • Two-factor systems provide a valuable additional layer of security for both individuals and businesses.
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It is important to maintain good digital hygiene at a time when cyber attacks and account theft are at an all-time high. And just as important are some measures to activate two-factor authentication across our accounts and devices.

This feature is known by many names: two-factor authentication, two-factor authentication, two-factor authentication, or two-step authentication. Regardless of how you know it, it is a security measure provided by almost all online service platforms and apps.

Activating Two Factor Authentication is necessary to protect our online accounts from unauthorized access. It works as an additional security layer that prevents theft and access to our accounts by cyber criminals in case they get hold of our passwords.

Protecting accounts with passwords only exposes users to potential cyber attacks, so it’s important to enable two-factor when available.

How effective is two-factor authentication?

Several studies have shown the effectiveness of using two-factor authentication to protect our accounts. A 2019 Google study maintains that this is the most effective way to prevent account hijacking; For its part, another Microsoft study in 2020 assured that 99% of compromised accounts did not have two-factor authentication activated.

Another advantage of this function is that it is very versatile. For example, it can be configured so that you receive a unique six-digit access code via SMS to your phone, which must be entered to access your account. If a cybercriminal somehow obtained your access credentials, they would also need to have the account’s phone number in order to obtain the code and access it, which is complicated.

While most apps and platforms only require a phone number to send the code via SMS, in many cases it’s also possible to set up this extra layer of security using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator. In many cases it is also possible to verify identity using a fingerprint instead of a code.

Two-Factor Authentication
Schematic showing the authentication process for an account with the additional security layer activated. esset

“It is very important not to share this code with anyone. Scammers often contact people via WhatsApp using various pretexts and request that they send a six-digit code sent via SMS to the victim’s number. Forward the code to. The real purpose is to share two-step authentication codes to steal access to accounts, says Camilo Gutierrez Amaya, head of the ESET Latin America research lab.

“Using an authentication app is more secure than receiving a code via SMS, because in the case of a victim of SIM swapping – an attack in which a telephone line is hijacked by chip cloning – the six-digit code is sent to the attacker. will get access to our accounts,” he says.

Which apps and services allow two-factor authentication?

Services such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok or LinkedIn allow you to configure two-factor authentication.

Each service may implement this system with minor modifications; However, the concept will always be the same. After entering your regular password, you will be asked to enter another temporary code.

While you have the option of receiving this code via SMS, you can also use the authenticator app mentioned above. If you choose the latter option, you will need to download it on your phones.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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