What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

We tell our clients all the time that security and convenience are in constant tension of each other. If you want your bank accounts to be more secure, that means they will be less convenient for you to access. That can turn a lot of people off, but it shouldn’t. Just as you protect your family, home and belongings, your sensitive finances, data, or information are important. Take the extra steps, time, tools necessary to protect them.

What is 2FA?

Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is an extra measure of security based on the premise that an unauthorized user is unlikely to be able to supply two (or more) factors required for access. Some examples of authentication factors of a two- or multi-factor authentication scheme may include:

  • A physical object in the possession of the user, such as a USB stick with a secret token, a bank card, a key, etc.
  • A secret known to the user, such as a password, PIN, or transaction authentication number (or a one-time code), etc.
  • A physical characteristic of the user or biometric, such as a fingerprint, eye iris, voice, typing speed, pattern in key press intervals, etc.

How Does It Keep You Safe?

These “factors” are a “known” password and at least one other “factor” which requires another component, such as a temporary password that is sent to your mobile phone. The chances of a thief or hacker having both your bank account login information and your mobile phone are far less likely. However, if they do have your mobile phone they still would not be able to access the temporary password as long as your device is locked. l It may be inconvenient in the moment to enter additional information, but it is an excellent way to deter hackers from logging in to your accounts.

How Do I Set It Up?

It’s common now for all financial institutions to offer two- or multi-factor authentication at no extra cost. You should talk to your banks, wealth or financial firms. Other accounts where criminals can gather a lot of personal information if they had access, should also be protected with 2FA. You can verify whether these apps offer 2FA on this site, https://twofactorauth.org.

Where Should I Set This Up?

Your top priority should be your financial institutions – your bank, investment firm, stock or trading companies, etc. These are usually the most vulnerable to cyber criminals. Next in line should be any company or person you pay online regularly – credit cards, mortgage, etc. You access these often, maybe once a month or more. This gives hackers have many opportunities to gain access to your accounts. Next should be your social media accounts, especially those you use often. It is very easy for criminals to learn about you and your habits if you are sharing pictures, “checking in,” and giving out personal information on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Setup 2FA wherever possible.

It is an added layer of security that could save you and your identity from being compromised!

Howard Tech Advisors: Your Partner in Tech

At Howard Tech Advisors, we manage your IT infrastructure so that you don’t have to. Whether you need assistance creating a disaster recovery plan or you’d like to outsource your IT needs, we can help! Keep up with our weekly blog to stay up-to-date on the latest tech trends, security information you need to know to stay safe online, and tips and tricks to effectively navigating an increasingly mobile world.

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