Synthetic Snake Oil: Online Security Tips

DP78 Why Consider Two-Factor Authentication

February 28, 2020

Another security measure I’ve talked about is two-factor authentication. Paired up with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you’ll have a tighter security than most people. But while there’s been a lot of talk of two factor authentication, this technology is not really anything new.

 

This technology has been around for a long time but is now coming to the surface because of the number of attacks and breaches we’ve gone through. Both on a business and individual level.

 

So why are people talking about this technology? Well what I mentioned above is part of the reason, but it’s also worth looking at other considerations.

 

First the one-factor authentication method is questionable. This the typical provide a password and a username. It’s easy and convenient, but on a cybersecurity standpoint it has many drawbacks. A password as we’ve seen is as strong as how we make it. If it’s an obvious password, people will crack it. Even if your password is a bunch of mixed numbers and letters, if you use the same password across multiple sites, people can access a lot of information if they ever crack it.

 

What’s also worse is that many sites offer convenience by allowing users to click on the “keep me logged in” button. This too is convenient but poses dangers as that action stores a cookie on your computer with that information. This makes it easier for hackers to get into your computer and get access to all of the passwords.

 

The second consideration is as the name suggests, a two factor authentication provides another layer of security. It can be displayed in three ways:

  • Through knowledge: something only you know like a username and password.
  • Through possession: something you have on your person physically. Examples are security token, your phone, a PIN, or a card.
  • Through inherence: another physical attribute to yourself. A fingerprint or another biometric trait.

 

The final considerations is the ample of benefits that two factor authentication provides. Outside of the additional layer of security, businesses and individuals can get other benefits like:

 

  • More productivity and flexibility: While you do have to go through an extra step to get access to anything, what step you have to take is up to you. Not only that but knowing that the site or network is more protected can ensure you fill it with sensitive information.
  • It lowers costs: On a business level having two-factor authentication can cut costs in tech support and help desks. Why? Because most of the calls to those areas stem from password resets. With two factor authentication, it’s easy to use other measures of gaining access to other areas outside of a password and usernames. For individuals, this measure can block out hackers and others who could take advantage of you by cracking passwords.
  • Lowers fraud: And naturally a two-factor authentication will make it tougher for hackers to get into your accounts and commit fraud or identity theft.

 

Because of these distinct aspects and perks, it’s well worth considering tightening up your security in this fashion.

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