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2FA – What is it and why do you need it?



With the rise in cybercrime, it is now more important than ever to take cyber security seriously. One of the best steps to take to improve the security of personal and business accounts is to enable Two Factor Authentication.


But What is Two Factor Authentication?


Two Factor Authentication or 2FA is an extra layer of authentication needed in addition to the normal username and password needed to log into an account. After a user enters their username and password for an account, instead of immediately gaining access, they are brought to another page requiring an additional piece of information, depending on the form of 2FA chosen for that account.


There are a few common forms of 2FA that are used to protect accounts


Hardware tokens - This type of 2FA uses a small device, similar to a key fob, that generates a new code every 30 seconds. When a user tries to unlock an account, they will glance at their device for the code to unlock their account. Another hardware token can come in the form similar to a USB drive where it serves a similar function as the previous device but will automatically fill the code when the device is plugged into the computer


SMS/Voice Message - This type of 2FA will send a one-time use passcode to a phone number, the user will then input that code into the application they are trying to gain access to. The code can come in the form of an SMS text message or in a voice message from a phone call.


Software tokens - This is by far the most popular option. Software tokens work the same way as a hardware token but is hosted on an application rather than a dedicated device. The app will generate a new code every 30 seconds for the accounts, so when a user logs in to one of those accounts, they simply take the code for that account from the app and log in.


With how often online accounts are targeted by bad actors, 2FA is a must have from all accounts.


Below are popular picks for 2FA


YubiKey - Hardware Token


Authy - Software Token


Google Authenticator - Software Token


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