Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security process that requires two different means of identification from an individual to access a particular account or device. The first factor is typically something the user knows, such as a password, and the second factor is usually something the user has, such as a physical token or mobile phone.
2FA is often used in business and enterprise settings to protect sensitive data and systems, but it can also be implemented on personal accounts to provide an extra layer of security. In fact, many online service providers now offer 2FA as an optional security feature for their users.
How Does Two-Factor Authentication Work?
When logging in to an account with 2FA enabled, the user provides their account name and password as usual. If the account is enabled for 2FA, they will then be asked to provide a second authentication code before being granted access.
This code might be generated by an automated phone call or sent as a text message that contains a six-digit security code that needs to be entered on the website’s form before access is granted. Another increasingly common option is receiving codes via applications like Google Authenticator or Authy.
These apps allow users to generate time-based one-time passwords (OTP) on their mobile devices without having to rely on SMS messages.
While not completely foolproof, 2FA helps protect online accounts from unauthorized access since even if hackers are able to guess or obtain an account holder’s password, they’ll still need an additional code to get in.
Choose a Unique Password for Every Account
It’s not enough to have different passwords for each of your online accounts. It’s equally important that every password is unique. Using the same password for multiple accounts can nullify 2FA benefits since if one account is compromised, hackers will gain access to all associated data and services with the same key.
Moreover, this practice reduces the overall security of each account on its own by making them more susceptible to brute force attacks. A strong password should be long (at least 10 characters), complex, and never reused.
This post was originally published on 9, December 2021, but according to new information stuff, this post is updated frequently.