Move beyond passwords: Why two-factor authentication (2FA) is the way forward

You may be only one data breach away from having your personal information leaked online. The main vulnerability is weak passwords, which is one of the most traditional ways to secure your sensitive information online. Do not fall for the illusion that creating a longer and more complex password is the sole solution to be safer online. You can create a password that is so long that it may even take you five minutes to type it. However, it will do nothing to protect your data for when the platform you use is breached, which is most of the large-scale data breaches.

A solution for this problem is by utilizing multi-factor or two-factor authentication (MFA/2FA). You may or may not even realize that you have been using 2FA for quite some time now. An example of this would be when you are shopping. When you are finished shopping you approach the checkout stand, when it is time to complete the transaction you swipe your debit or bank card and then you are prompted to enter a PIN. In this example, the first step requires you to have a debit or bank card and then the second step requires you to know an authorization PIN number. 2FA is a method that requires two methods of proving one’s identity and is also available more and more every day to secure your online accounts.

No, we are not saying it offers perfect security, but it does add an extra security layer when logging into your accounts and makes your private data more secure.

Why 2FA?

Cybercriminals are after information, you have most likely seen articles posted almost every day regarding data breaches, ransomware, phishing, and weak passwords that cybercriminals utilize to gain access to almost anything. From bank accounts to your private photo collection, cybercriminals will take anything that could be used to exploit you as an individual or your business. Or, they can even just sell the personal information they have collected on the dark web, which could lead to further compromises of your financial information or identity.

With it becoming increasingly simple for attackers to guess or brute force passwords, two-factor authentication becomes even more crucial than ever. Now, it may be a hassle for you to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts, but without it, you could leave yourself vulnerable to individuals that are eager to gain access to your personal information. Adding that extra step to your accounts means cybercriminals have more obstacles to overcome to gain access to your sensitive information. With 2FA enabled, an attacker who has gained access to your password will have a more difficult time accessing your account without having access to the second authentication method.

Is it worth it?

2FA or MFA authentication does not offer full-proof protection, however by utilizing them it makes it increasingly more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your account. You are not only making your account more difficult to attack but are simultaneously making it less lucrative for cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are often looking for quick and easily accessible accounts, to spend more effort on an account that might not have any real value to them would be a waste of their time and effort.  As the attacker is operating under the mindset of gaining the most access to the most people in the shortest amount of time, which is essential to them not being caught so they can profit off the information that they have obtained.

While to some it may seem a hassle but entering a verification takes less than a minute.

Today, most online websites and applications on your phone offer 2FA or MFA services through several different means: PINs through email, SMS, or push notifications, authentication tokens, or biometric data just to name a few. With Cybercriminals continuing to evolve, we too need to do our part by using the latest protection solutions available. So, if you are one of those who still has not enabled the 2FA or MFA on your accounts, you should stop thinking about it and do it now. Protect yourself out there!

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