2FA – What is it and How Can it Protect You?

Many of us regularly log in to online services such as Gmail or Hotmail as well as social media platforms such as Twitter or FaceBook. However, reports suggest that many people still don’t use the available 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) features of these websites, although this is highly advisable.

If you logged into your favourite websites today, you were probably asked to sign in with a username/email and password. The password you entered is considered a single-factor authentication. Your password is one factor of security and authenticates to the website that you are allowed to access the account.

What is 2FA?

Two-Factor Authentication, commonly referred to as 2FA, is a feature that adds an additional layer to your normal login procedure in order to verify your identity. Anyone who carries out online banking will have experienced Two-Factor Authentication. 2FA confirms your identity by using two of three possible identifiers:

  • Memorable Information – password, PIN, post code, etc.
  • Personal Identification – facial recognition, fingerprints, retina scans, etc.
  • Device Information – smartcard, smartphone, etc.

Many 2FA systems work differently. Some may prompt you to enter a one-time numerical code from a text message (SMS) after entering your username and password. Others, such as an App on your smartphone, can also be used. These apps generate a login code locally on your smartphone or tablet, which typically expire in 30 or 60 seconds.
Of course, using 2FA only helps to prevent unwanted intrusions. It is also highly advisable to have a secure password for each of your logins and use a VPN whenever you connect to open Wi-Fi hotspots. This advice is of course good practice for anyone using a personal computer, although if your business has users that take laptops off-site, you may also wish to consider encryption to help prevent your company’s data getting into the hands of criminals.
Vantage IT is happy to advise on your company’s IT security and make recommendations where applicable. Please contact Vantage IT to find out more.