What is 2-Factor Authentication?

Two-Factor Authentication

With cybercrime on the rise and more business being conducted online, improving cybersecurity is more important than ever. Two-factor authentication is a necessary step to ensure you and your company are doing their due diligence to keep their assets and customers safe. Thanks to ever-improving technology, it is easier than ever to implement two-factor authentication into your system.

In the early iterations of two-factor authentication, the systems were more costly, time-consuming, and generally seen as a hassle because of the extra steps to complete the authentication process, both for the business and the user. Thanks to advances in technology, two-factor authentication has become more accessible and causes less hassle than the systems of the past.

With two-factor authentication added into your system, you can add a layer of assurance that your users are who they say they are, especially before they access sensitive information.

What is 2-Factor Authentication?

Sometimes referred to as the “two-step verification,” the two-factor authentication process simply adds an extra layer of security on top of the typical username/password protection methods.

The process of 2-factor authentication can be straight forward, and can include:

  • Answering security questions
  • Sending a code to multiple devices for authentication purposes
  • Sending smartphone push notifications
  • Text notifications
  • Emails notifications

While these are the “simple” options for 2-factor authentication, other authentication measures can range in complexity. For instance, you can use more advanced authentication measures like fingerprint analysis, face ID scanning, or iris scanning to perform more advanced and secure authentication for potential customers.

Why is 2-Factor Authentication Necessary?

There are a myriad of reasons why 2-factor authentication is becoming more and more necessary. As hackers become more advanced at jeopardizing a business’ security interests, requesting a simple password is quickly becoming less effective than it once was.

Cyber-criminals have more resources than ever at their disposal to commit acts of fraud, which makes having an extra layer of authentication measures all the more critical in 2020 and beyond.

Because people and businesses are storing large quantities of personal and financial information in their systems and on their computers, the risk and consequences of security breaches increase tremendously. Banking information, and other sensitive information, is commonly stored on devices that we use on a daily basis, such as smartphones and computers, which allow cybercriminals easy access to sensitive data through hacks or phishing scams.

The bottom line is: cybercrime is on the rise and passwords are not always secure. In 2016 alone, 15.4 million U.S. consumers lost over $16 billion from cybercrime activity, as reported by Business Wire. Cybercrime is more common and more sophisticated than ever, making cybersecurity and multiple layers of authentication important for both individuals and businesses.

How to Implement 2-Factor Authentication

To implement basic two-factor authentication measures, technology users or business owners can turn to a popular application known as Google Authenticator. Google’s software is a leader in the field of authentication, and it is easily accessible with Android and Apple devices.

The user can determine when the authentication measures will go into effect using a time-based generator that creates single use time-sensitive codes. For example, you can simply turn on Google Authenticator during the basic login procedure for most websites and social media platforms (such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, etc.) and a one-time code will be generated and must be used within a specified amount of time.

It is worth noting that Google Authenticator will require an extra step for logging into websites, which customers may not be fond of. But, if you or your business are seeking enhanced security measures for protection against fraud and cybercrime, the extra step is worth your customer’s extra time.

By using these extra security measures for logging into sites, you can prevent valuable personal information from being stolen by a hacker.

Downsides to the 2-Factor Authentication System

While the two-factor authentication system can be extremely effective, it is not a perfect solution.

For instance, text messages (SMS) run the risk of being hacked or spoofed through SIM swaps. As explained by CNET.com:

“Hackers have been able to trick carriers into porting a phone number to a new device in a move called a SIM swap. It could be as easy as knowing your phone number and the last four digits of your Social Security number, data that tends to get leaked from time to time from banks and large corporations.”

Instances like spoofed text messages are reasons that biometric authentication measures have evolved and why they are quickly becoming a more popular and reliable solution for many businesses. Overall, technology is always evolving, which makes it all the more important to stay up-to-date with best practices and industry insight.

For more updates, continue following IDScan.net’s blog for insights about two-factor authentication and more.

Frequently Asked Questions about Two-Factor Authentication

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security on top of typical username/password protection methods. Common implementations include security questions, smartphone push notifications, text notifications, fingerprint analysis, and face ID scanning.

Why is two-factor authentication necessary?

Cybercrime is on the rise and passwords are not always secure. This, combined with the fact that people and businesses are storing large quantities of personal and financial information in their systems and on their computers, makes 2-factor authentication a necessary step in cybersecurity.

How can my company implement two-factor authentication?

Implementing two-factor authentication is easier than ever. For basic authentication in low-risk environments, Google Authenticator is the current standard. If your company is looking for more comprehensive and reliable authentication, reach out to sales@IDScan.net for biometric options that easily integrate into existing websites or apps.