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Why should I use two factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is a double verification of your identity when you enter a service or site. But why is it recommended to use it? What is the use of it? Is it worth using this identification method, or is it better to switch to the increasingly p

August 18, 2020

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a secondary security step used to log into an online account. You can connect two-factor authentication to log into a banking service or social networking site. This means that after entering the username and password, the user is prompted to enter one more proof to confirm your identity. Often this is a temporary code received by SMS to the mobile phone specified during registration. Why is two-factor authentication important?

Two-factor authentication options

2FA is not just SMS. If passwords are the first factor, the second factor in 2FA might be:

  • Something you know: personal numbers, answers to pre-prepared questions, personal questions (whether it's a dog's name), keysets.
  • Something you have: one-time passwords sent to your mobile, generated codes in authentication apps like Google Authenticator and Authy.
  • Who You Are: Biometric Templates with Fingerprint, Retinal Scans and Voice Prints.

Not everyone wants to bother with specifying additional data, so this point is often neglected. And in vain! After all, 2FA protects not only personal data, but also passwords from accounts and bank accounts.

The most effective two-factor authentication methods

  • SMS codes. This is not the best option for two-factor authentication, as the phone can be stolen and the message forwarded. It's elementary, even a person nearby can see the code if SMS notifications pop up on the screen in the settings.
  • Security Question. It is also not the most reliable option, but it is already safer to use than a user identity verification code. The security question is set by the user himself, so logging into the account is possible with the correct answer. Examples of security questions: grandmother's maiden name, favorite house at Hogwarts, favorite food.
  • Authentication applications. Here we come to the safest 2FA method. After installing the application, you can use random codes to log into your account. Login will be available only after opening the application. The ability to "steal" the secret code is to sit next to the person who logs into the account.

Why is one password not enough?

The basic set, consisting of a login and password, cannot 100% protect an account from hacking. Moreover, according to statistics SplashData (a company that analyzes millions of leaked passwords), provided data that the most common password options are 123456 and 123456789. That is, you can guess such a combination the first time.

The second reason for the ineffectiveness of a regular password and login is the use of the same passwords everywhere. It seems that it helps to remember the password, not to write them down in separate notes. In fact, it is more efficient to set different passwords everywhere, let the system remember them, and then enter them using biometric data (for example, scanning a fingerprint or retina).