You have probably heard of 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). You may be using it already for online banking or similar websites.
Wikipedia says MFA is “is an authentication method in which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (or factors) to an authentication mechanism”
Usually, this is something you know, like a username and password, and something you have, like a physical smartcard, device or mobile app that displays a unique code, or a code deliver by a phone call or SMS message to your registered phone number.
Using 2FA is by far the best way of securing an account. For example, even if your username and password were acquired from a data breach or phishing attack (which are increasingly common) a malicious 3rd party would not be able to get access to your account as they don’t have your 2FA device or code.
The downside to using 2FA is that it takes an extra step when you log in and you need your physical 2FA device handy when you log in.
What if you lose your 2FA device and lock yourself out? There will be a way to bypass using 2FA for this very reason. This will usually be by an authentication phone call, SMS message or email to a pre-authorised phone or email address. For high-security accounts like banks etc, this may require a phone call to their service desk to authenticate you and remove the lost 2FA device for your account, allowing you to log in again.
Our advice is to always use 2FA for your online accounts where practical especially those that hold sensitive, financial or private details like email, banking, shopping websites. Together with good password practices (unique, long and complex passwords), you will be fully protected.
Many everyday web sites allow you to use 2FA including Microsoft Office365, Amazon, PayPal, Facebook, and all good online banking sites.
There are many 2FA solutions is choose from including the below that we highly recommend –
- Duo 2FA – https://duo.com/
- LastPass MFA – https://www.lastpass.com/multifactor-authentication
- Google Authenticator – https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/1066447?co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&hl=en
- Microsoft Authenticator – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/account/authenticator
If you have any queries about IT Security or 2FA please get in touch. We will be happy to advise.