Two Factor Authentication is growing in popularity as a smarter way to keep our information secure. It’s being used in applications across the internet, from our bank accounts to our social media. In this blog, I’m going to explore the types and applications of 2-factor authentication and the reasons why it’s such a potent security measure.
As technology usage is increasing worldwide, it is not surprising that our digital accounts are now vulnerable to the target of hackers. Even after using multiple security systems and so many prevention programs, no significant reduction in hacking attempts was seen. In fact, there has been a rise in data breaches. With hacking attempts increasing, it is evident that hackers are becoming fearless and are not hesitating to target businesses, individuals, and even government agencies.
To prevent such hacks, Two actor Authentication or 2FA has become an essential tool to protect accounts and confidential information from spreading online. It is a system that requires the user to provide two forms of identification if he wants to log in to his account.
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What is 2FA or Two Factor Authentication?
Two factor authentication, commonly called 2FA, allows users to create an extra layer of security for their accounts. It is a crucial security measure that uses two different types of factors to verify the user before granting them access to the account. The first factor is usually your usual password or PIN. The second layer of security is more secure than passwords and PINs like biometrics, voice identification, OTP verification, etc.
Even if the hacker gets your password, they will have to go through the second layer of security before getting access to your account. Two Factor Authentication is essential if you want maximum protection of your social media accounts from hackers.
Types of Two Factor Authentication
There are many types of two factor authentication available for you to use. Let us have a look a some of them:
1. Hardware Tokens
Hardware tokens are physical device that is used in addition to a username and password to log in to a site or service. The token generates a random code that is required along with the password to log in. The code on the token changes every minute, making it more difficult for someone to gain access if they have stolen your password.
2. SMS and Voice-Based 2FA
One Time Passwords (OTP) are the most common 2FA method. They are delivered via an SMS to the user’s phone. A person will have to enter the OTP before getting access to the account. Similarly, voice-based 2FA dials the customer instead of sending an SMS to the customer. OTP-based verification is the simplest form of Two Factor Authentication, and almost the majority of companies use this method.
3. Software Tokens
Software tokens are one of the most famous types of two-factor authentication. They are used to generate software-generated time-based OTPs. To use them, consumers should download the free Two Factor Authentication application on their devices and after that, they can use the authenticator on any website that supports it.
To log in, the user has to enter the random code shown on the application along with the username and password, the codes are generally valid for 60 seconds.
4. Push Notifications
Push notifications notify the user whenever the application detects an unusual or unknown login attempt. The user will then need to approve the request if they wish to. This method does not require any kind of manual codes or any kind of intervention.
Push notifications are the best choice in areas where data connectivity is low.
Where Two Factor Authentication Can be Used?
Two Factor Authentication can be used in a variety of mobile applications, including online banking, e-commerce websites, and social media platforms. It is especially useful for businesses that require a higher level of security, such as banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.
2FA can also be used to secure physical access, such as building entry or access to restricted areas. This type of 2FA typically involves a badge, keycard, or biometric scanner. In addition, Two Factor Authentication can be used to secure remote access to systems, such as VPNs and remote workspace solutions. This type of 2FA typically involves a one-time password (OTP) sent via SMS or email, or a time-based one-time password (TOTP) generated with an authentication app.
Risks Associated With Two Factor Authentication
While we can agree that two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security, it also has a few dangers. Two-factor authentication can save users against basic phishing attempts, but users stay prone to advanced phishing attempts. For example, hackers could replicate any website to fool someone into entering their credentials.
Recent reports from APWG show that there were 1,097,811 total phishing attacks in the second quarter of 2022.
It is evident that 2FA is a crucial security method and all websites should implement it to protect the data of their customers. If the website does not provide 2FA, customers themselves should be aware enough to activate a 2FA on their accounts. In conclusion, two-factor authentication is an incredibly useful tool for users, as it adds an extra layer of security to the authentication process. It can be used in several forms, such as SMS authentication, biometric authentication, and one-time passwords. While two-factor authentication is effective in preventing unauthorized access, it is also important to remember to use strong passwords and other security measures to protect user data.
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