In the world of online security, two-factor authentication (2FA) provides an added layer of protection for accounts, transactions, and more.
What is Authentication?
In the world of computers, authentication is the process of proving the identity of an object; that it is what it claims to be. Authentication mechanisms can be in the form of usernames, passwords, keystrokes, geolocation, biometrics, etc.
What is two-factor authentication (2FA)?
Two-factor authentication requires the object to be verified to provide two means of authentication. Once both means provided are accurate, access is granted to the object. If either one or both fail, access is denied. In some cases, one of the “means” provided for authentication is previously unknown to the object. In the case of authentication methods like usernames or dates of birth, the object would have previous knowledge about them. An example; a system using 2FA would request a username or password which is already known and then request a unique code/token which is not known. A smartcard or token generator app/device is usually used to get these unique codes. Most systems today are built with the aim of implementing maximum security. 2FA apps like Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Symantec VIP, and OneSpan Authentication Server, have become rampant in use online to meet security needs.
Why use 2FA?
Most attacks on passwords are easier than 2FA attacks. If an attacker successfully hacks a password, there are really high chances the person won’t go further because they’d need access to the 2FA means attached to the account. especially for 2FA implemented in the form of code tokens.
In the world of financial transactions online, the use of 2FA helps prevent unauthorized transactions on accounts. Anyone having unauthorized access to the account and perhaps wanting to make a withdrawal would be asked to provide the 2FA code.