3 Reasons Your Business Can’t Bypass Two-Factor Authentication
Login security breaches have become common in recent years. We hear about phishing attacks, stolen passwords, and malware that collects all of our keystrokes. Once these data breaches sparked a call for stronger and more complex passwords, however, research has shown that two-thirds of all breaches are specifically the result of weak or stolen passwords. The reliable one-time password has become the weakest link.
This is where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. Two-factor authentication is a simple but extremely powerful way to increase security through the user’s login sequence by simply adding a second factor of authentication to the standard username and password. To fully understand the power of two-factor authentication, we need to have a basic understanding of authentication itself.
Authentication, the process of verifying your identity, boils down to three simple elements:
Something that the user knows (PIN, password)
Something that the user owns (mobile phone, device)
Something that is the user (biometric, retina, fingerprint)
The problem with using something you know, like a password, is that it can be shared, guessed, or hacked, and while a username and password may seem like “two factors,” they are both actually something you know.
Two-factor authentication, on the other hand, is a combination of two of any of these unique identifiers and often includes information about something the user owns and something the user knows. The use of biometric information is less common as fingerprint or retina recognition software is expensive and difficult to implement.
With two-factor authentication, the login sequence requires not only a password, but also a passcode that is sent directly to the user’s device. Although incredibly simple, incorporating these two separate identifiers into the user login process creates a level of protection and security for the user that even the most complex password can no longer allow. The brilliance of two-factor authentication is that it provides a seamless and cost-effective solution simply by leveraging something the user already has.
So this is good news for online safety, but what are the benefits?
Your data is harder to compromise
Using two-factor authentication not only adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts, it also acts as a deterrent. Although an attacker can compromise one layer of their authentication, it is incredibly difficult to compromise both. An attacker is much more likely to move to an easier target with just one layer of authentication for login credentials.
The consequences of a data breach are reduced
With two-factor authentication, you will have much less to worry about, even if you are subject to a data breach. Once you are also using something that you have or something that is, as additional layers in your authentication process, your identity and data must be safe even if passwords or other personal data have been exposed in breach.
You are alerted to any attempt to access your account.
Two-factor authentication has the added benefit of alerting you to unauthorized attempts to access your account, for example receiving a text message with a passcode when you are not using your account. By using two-factor authentication, you are quickly informed of any unauthorized logins, allowing you to take further security measures, such as changing your password or other security details attached to your account.