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Is Two-Factor Authentication a Must-Have?

Secure passwords aren’t enough anymore. Especially with the rising sophistication and frequency of phishing attacks. A secure account needs a second method of authenticating users. Thankfully, most of the larger internet-based companies have made it simple.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is becoming the new standard for beefing up digital security. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to secure an online or mobile account with just a password.

It’s basically a supplement to a digital password that. When used properly, makes it harder for a cybercriminal to access a compromised account. However, it is NOT a substitute for a strong password.

In other words, two-factor authentication (2FA) is the use of a second step. Along with a password, it verifies a user’s identity. It comes in different forms, but it’s usually a single use key or password. But there are others, like biometrics, verification codes, hardware tokens, and so on. For example, with Google, the second step can come as a text message or a popup on your phone. Or, it can come through a Google Authenticator app, or from a series of printed single-use codes.

And the fact is, the technology has advanced to become so seamless that there’s little reason not to use it. With 2FA, you’re adding only a few seconds to your login time, but potentially saving yourself a huge headache. Anyone with sensitive, password-protected information needs to consider using 2FA.

Corporate Armor and 2FA

Corporate Armor partner Fortinet has a series of 2FA products, called FortiToken. With Fortinet’s FortiToken, a password is used along with a security token and authentication server. It provides far better security. FortiToken 300 provides affordable, easy to implement hardware tokens for environments where strong authentication is needed. They start at under $200 for a 5-pack. Or, you can check out the FortiToken 200, from $182 for 5. In addition, there is also FortiToken Mobile, which you install on your mobile devices.

How does two-factor authentication work?

It’s like a second guard on duty in case the badguy gets past the first one. Ideally, the second factor is tougher to spoof than a password. Why? Because it requires something only the legitimate user has access to, like a smartphone with an authenticator app installed. Or, a linked phone number for a push notification or SMS authentication code. Or a hardware security key, which leaves a hacker stuck even if they have the correct password to the account.

Why does 2FA matter?

Pretty much everything we do on a computer or mobile device is exposed to the internet. And that means those online accounts can be compromised. Adding two-factor authentication to an account makes it harder for a stolen password to be used against you.

With the increase in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-factor authentication is more essential than ever. Remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable. That means a lot of workers are on networks that exist outside of offices and can’t be kept secure.

How safe is it?

Nothing is completely secure, and that includes two-factor authentication. 2FA systems have been hacked in the past, but the biggest risk isn’t technological-it’s social engineering. And that can bypass even the most secure of systems, because it only needs to outsmart the unsuspecting used, not the technology.

So is two-factor authentication safe? In and of itself, yes. It’s rare that two-factor authentication is actually hacked. The most exploitable weakness, is humans.

In summary

In summary, it’s essential. Yes, the right combination of technical expertise and scamming can crack even the most secure systems. But, for the average user in the average situation, two-factor authentication can make all the difference.

Using it on consumer services like Apple ID, Google, Facebook, Twitter, bank websites, etc. is often simple. It’s just a matter of turning the service on. Businesses can standardize two-factor authentication by subscribing to a service. They can be quite economical, and are too numerous to list here. But if you have any questions about 2FA for personal use or business, just email us. Or, call Corporate Armor at 877-449-0458? Thanks for reading!