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Safer Digital Future with 2-Factor Authentication
Today online safety is a concern for everyone. With cybersecurity breaches becoming common, it’s more important than ever to look into ways to mitigate the risks. Understanding the need to raise awareness of the issue, the Department of Homeland Security has deemed last October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).
For the safety of our clients, Connected Technologies has moved our documentation, ticketing, and VPN to 2-factor authentication (2FA). This article helps explain the 2FA technology as a cybersecurity precaution and how it can keep your information safe.
What is 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)?
Passwords provide a single level of authentication. They have been used since the beginning of computing to keep systems safe. But passwords are inherently vulnerable. People use short passwords because longer and complex ones are difficult to remember. People write down passwords and keep them near their computers. Cybercriminals can remotely crack passwords through brute force methods or steal passwords from unencrypted plain text files and databases. So multi-factor authentication is used to combat security threats.
In multi-factor authentication, more factors are added to the process to increase the verification levels. Multi-factor authentication is not a new concept. When you are using your credit card and you enter your zip code, you are using multi-factor authentication. The credit card number provides the first factor and zip code (assumed only known by the authentic card owner) provides the second factor.
A 2-factor authentication (2FA) just means that the multi-factor authentication process has 2 levels. Generally, most 2-factor authentication systems use password as the first level. The second level can be one of the following:
- Biometrics: Iris scan, retina scan, fingerprinting, face recognition, voice recognition or handprint recognition are used for user verification.
- Location Tracking: The GPS capability and unique hardware code of wireless smart devices are used to authenticate access points.
- Security Tokens: Security tokens like smartphones, security dongles or other hardware generated dynamic number is used as an access code.
In a 2-factor authentication system, you will first be asked to enter your password. Once your password is verified, you will be asked to provide the second piece of authentication like a fingerprint, smartphone access code or other security token. Once it is verified, you will gain access to the system.
Why Do You Need 2 Factor Authentication?
As mentioned already, passwords are vulnerable. So adding a second layer of security will deter a subset of intruders from gaining access to your digital information.
You might think that all cybercriminals are sophisticated hackers. But a lot of cybercriminals use century-old social engineering techniques. They gain access to secure information through phishing, calling or even physically visiting their victims. When you have a password pasted to your computer screen, any person visiting your home or office can copy the password. Adding 2-factor authentication keeps you safe from these simple attacks. In addition, if hackers get your password through advanced hacking methods, the secondary authentication will make it harder for them to complete the verification process.
Of course, 2-factor authentication will not be able to stop all forms of attack. It’s like adding more locks to your home. It will prevent more intrusions but it’s not a guarantee of complete safety. But your digital information will be safer with 2-factor authentication. So you owe it to yourself to implement it as part of your cyber security precaution.
At Connected Technologies, we care about the safety of our clients. For assistance with your 2-factor authentication, call us at (706) 548-9598 and we will help you to implement it, so your digital life is safer.