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What is 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

2-factor or multi-factor authentication is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add a layer of security to your business.

S1 Technology Blog what is 2-factor authentication

At it's root, 2-factor authentication is a method of establishing access to an online account or computer system that requires the user to enter two different types of info. Most often, this is something that you have that is exclusive to you such as an additional code or a biometric.

You've probably put two and two together by now and realized that what we're talking about here is the annoying little text you get when you try to log into your bank website and they ask you for the 6 digit code that was sent to your mobile phone. Yes! That's it!

Why do we need 2FA?

There are a lot of reasons to enable this feature or install this solution. The most basic of them is that passwords alone are simply not effective enough to keep the bad guys out. Computers are now capable of running complex algorithms to crack your password and cybercriminals have gotten far too clever in their methods of social engineering to steal your login information.


2FA effectiveness


Now you might be asking, "If 2FA is that simple and it doesn't really cost me all that much, why is it so effective?" Think about it this way, if a cybercriminal does happen to send you an email saying, "Hey John, your end of year report from HR is ready" and you click the link from supposedly Michelle from HR, you may be prompted to enter a username and password to an unassuming web page to view said document. At this point, they've got you, the bad guys have stolen your credentials and they think they have the keys to the proverbial kingdom. Not so fast bad guys, John had 2-factor authentication setup on his phone so now when the criminals attempt to enter John's company network with his creditials, they will be met with the prompt stating, "Please enter your secure 2FA code." They'll be caught dead in their tracks because they don't have John's phone. John has John's phone! Not today hacker guys!