Two Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication. 

-What is it?

-Why do we use it?

-Is it worth it? 

These are all good questions, especially when it comes to the security and privacy of yours and/or your company’s data. 

Each and every day you come across various attempts at being hacked, even if you don’t know it. The email that looks like it’s coming from your boss, or text message that looks like it’s from your wife. The “FBI” calling your phone because they put a lock on your social security number due to fraudulent activity. Oh, and who can forget that your car warranty expired, right?

There’s always new tricks and scams and there always will be. That’s why we as individuals need to be up to speed, knowledgable and willing. Up to speed on the ever evolving threat landscape, knowledgable on how to react and willing to spend the extra few minutes to make sure you and yours are safe. 

One deterrent that is being talked about more and more is two-factor authentication. Seems kind of self explanatory just by saying it out loud, but many people still don’t know what it is or are too impatient to use it. 

Two-factor authentication as we know it today was first made commercially available by RSA in 1986 as a key fob. The fob held a digital code that was associated with the users password. Today, there’s multiple iterations and it’s being used as an extra layer of security added to an account to prevent unauthorized access, even if they have your credentials to get in. It’s as easy as you typing in your password and your account asking you a separate question verifying you are, well, you. 

Here’s a few examples:

Biometric - using a fingerprint, facial scan or something similar to authenticate

SMS (Text Message) - Have a text sent to your phone so you can reply with “yes” or “no” or verify a specific code

Authenticator App - You have an app downloaded on your phone that sends you a code that you input along with your password. 

Push-based - A separate device is sent a pop up or prompt if you will, letting you know of the attempted login, the location of the attempted login and whether or not you want to accept or deny it. 

Or everyones favorite, click on all of the pictures that have the smallest piece of a street sign you’ve ever seen.

All joking aside, 2FA is incredibly important and extremely beneficial, but some people still wonder why?

Well the answer to that is very, very easy. When’s the last time you didn’t use the internet for something? Go ahead, I’ll wait……………………………………

Correct, it’s almost impossible to think of a time where the internet wasn’t part of your every day life. Your photos, what you did that day, documents, pay stubs, insurance information, private information, I could go on and on. When you go to work, 99% of the time, you log into an account to access some sort of information, right? Regardless of industry. You use a password 1,000 times a day, like its second nature. And still, in 2021, people use the same password for everything and wonder why they are hacked.. OKay, I digress. 

My point, is that everything about us sits behind a password of some sort and there are people out there that spend every waking moment trying to steal anything and everything they can. 

Why? Data is the new gold. 

So how do we prevent it….

One of the easiest steps you can take is setting up two-factor authentication on absolutely every account you can. Be okay with taking the extra 15 seconds to verify who you are because it means that the person trying to steal your information now has hurdles and locked doors in front of them that they weren’t expecting. 

Think about all of the remote workers now and the amount of critical data that is now outside of a company’s network. Two-factor authentication is an essential protection for remote workers accessing anything via a public network. 

Is your information worth 15 seconds of your time?

Written by Nicholas Molik on 2021-04-21 11:05:17