If you’re reading this article, you’re certainly interested in being at least a bit more virtually safe and you’ve also have heard about the so famous two-factor authentication. However, it can be kind of difficult to find good reliable information about it.
As such, we have decided to create this quite complete guide in which we explain to you all about it, how it works, what it is, and why you should turn it on. So, just keep reading down below!
Index of this article
Why use two-factor authentication?
It might seem kind of weird for us to tell you why you should use this tool if you don’t even really know what it is. However, it is really important that you understand it.
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is nothing more than an additional layer of protection applied to your online accounts. Considering that the sheer amount of scams going around is always increasing, making your accounts a bit more secure is welcome.
In fact, it’s not only the number of scams that should cause worry, as the traditional methods of security have been becoming more and more faulty, with more data leaks happening all the time. And so, two-factor authentication is that much more useful.
Passwords, the most widely used method of security, aren’t really that secure. After all, it is us, humans, who decide which ones they are, and they can be really quite predictable.
Further, it is super common for us to use the same password in all the platforms where we have accounts. The result is obvious: your security decreases, a lot.
That is due to, if someone knows your password for a platform, they will know what’s your password for all of them. Even worse, when there’s a password leak (and there have been many), hackers can use specific software to try to use all of them in banks, shopping websites, and social media trying to gain access to your account.
Of course, using a password manager will mitigate this problem by making it so it is much more difficult to guess your password, as by using them you can generate random passwords. Still, using two-factor authentication will always make you a lot safer!
And what is it?
Alright! Now is the time for us to explain to you what this method of security is. In a very simplified way, two-factor authentication is a process in which the user needs something more than just their password to be able to log in or to verify who they are.
It is implemented with the goal of providing better protection to the user’s credentials as well as the data locked behind the account. It will always be safer and better than one-factor authentication methods, such as passwords.
This secondary method is different from the primary. That is, you will type in the password and then a security token, your fingerprint, scan your face, or similar things.
It will add a layer of protection and make it so it is much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your account or your devices. After all, even if your password is leaked, it won’t be enough for them to get in!
Which ones are the authentication factors?
As we mentioned, there are a lot of ways through which it is possible for you to confirm who you are and gain access to your account. There are knowledge factors, possession factors, and inherence factors, as the main ones. Below, you can find a list with all the factors used for two-factor authentication:
- A knowledge factor is nothing more than something the user knows, such as their password, a PIN, security questions, and other such things;
- A possession factor is something that the user has. For instance, an ID card, a phone, a specific mobile device, a phone number, and more;
- An inherence factor, or a biometric one, is something the user is. They are inherent things to the user, including physical attributes. For instance, using a fingerprint scanner or a face scanner. However, it goes beyond, including voice recognition, typing pattern recognition, and way of speaking;
- A location factor, one that will restrict your access to a specific location by tracking your GPS signal, your IP address, or by allowing access only from specific devices in specific locations;
- Last, a time factor is one that will restrict access to a specific window of time in which you can log in, restricting the access outside of this window.
How does two-factor authentication work?
To enable two-factor authentication, it is necessary that the app, the store, or the platform have enabled it beforehand for its users. However, the process is extremely similar for all the services that use it.
- To start, you will type in your username and password to start logging into the platform;
- Now, the website or app will ask you to type in the second authentication factor. It will be received in the chosen method, whether that is an app, text message, or whatever else;
- After you type and send, the website will finally let you log in!
Yes, the process is quite a bit longer and more annoying, but due to the additional security you’ll have, it is certainly worth it!
Did you like our guide about two-factor authentication?
Let us know in the comments if you already knew all about it and if we could help you out in solving your doubts! Check out, as well, what to do if your WhatsApp got hacked and how to block unknown calls!