What is Two Factor Authentication?

09/30/2019 | by SandStorm IT

TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

Two Factor Authentication, commonly abbreviated 2FA, is a second layer of authentication in addition to your password used to keep your accounts safe. Typically, a code is sent to your phone (by text or application) every time you sign into your account. You enter this code after you receive it to finish the login process. After implementing 2FA to your account, your account goes from simply depending on the security of your password, to depending on the security of a physical object as an additional layer to your password.

Passwords today are under attack from all fronts. They can be obtained by brute force.  For instance, someone can install a keylogger on your PC to retrieve them. Sometimes even shoulder surfing is enough to steal your password. 2FA adds an additional extra security layer that is harder to break as someone would have to physically get access to your phone along with your password.

Can Two Factor Authentication be bypassed?

Two Factor Authentication can not be bypassed easily. 2FA codes sent through text messages have the ability to be hijacked, but even this is extremely unlikely. If you are using a 2FA service that offers an app to download on your phone, such as Google Authenticator, these tend to be far more secure, as the codes that are generated are transferred in more secure ways.

Are there other ways of setting up Two Factor Authentication?

When special hardware is implemented, there are many additional options for authentication. Common biometric hardware includes fingerprint scanners, retina scanners, USB tokens, small handheld token generators and even NFC Security keys. A good example of this type of implementation is Taco Bell’s biometric Point of Sales (POS) system, which requires employees to provide a biometric scan along with a standard password.

If you are interested in setting up 2 Factor Authentication on your workstations and accounts, feel free to contact the IT security experts at Sandstorm IT. We can be reached by phone at 901-475-0275.

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