2FA Use Is on the Rise
Two Factor Authentication, Multi Factor Authentication, Two Step Verification or TFA, call it what you will, 2FA is fast becoming familiar thanks to more and more people managing their lives online.
Log-ins, passwords and pin numbers are all par for the course when it comes to managing online accounts. The problem is, with so many passwords to remember, rather than come up with unique log-ins for each online account, people tend to choose things they have already committed to memory like their mother’s maiden name or family birthdays – both of which are easy targets for hackers as the information can be found with a simple web search.
Hackers are also getting smart by taking educated guesses at passwords, trying things like pet’s names, recent holiday destinations or your partner’s name (remember all those status updates you posted publicly on Facebook?) to get unlawful access to accounts. As hackers get more sophisticated in their efforts to access phones, bank accounts, emails etc., security methods used to protect customers have evolved to better meet today’s needs – that’s where 2FA comes in.
What is 2FA
2FA helps ramp up security for online accounts even when your imagination for creative and complex passwords has run out.
As its name suggests, Two Factor Authentication uses two factors to authenticate the identity of someone trying to access an online account. It combines something that the customer knows (e.g. their password) and something they have (e.g. a code sent via text message sent to their mobile phone) to tighten security and minimize the risk of unauthorised access.
If both factors are not submitted on request, access to the account is blocked.
2FA in Action
Here’s how it works:
- Visit your online banking website
- Successfully input your password
- Confirm that you’d like a unique SMS sent to the mobile phone number you have registered with the bank to complete sign in
- Receive the SMS, input the code
- Authentication complete – you’re in
Smart phones and SMS offer the perfect synergy when it comes to 2FA.
Most people have their mobile phone close at hand these days which plays to the immediate response required for authenticating identity via a unique SMS code. Making codes single use and only valid for short periods of time can add additional security to the 2FA mix. Mobile phones can also be used to further enhance 2FA by putting their biometric (fingerprint or voice) and geographic capabilities to good use.
How is 2FA Being Used?
2FA is being used across a variety of environments and applications to increase customer security and protect sensitive online account information. From banking to customer on boarding through to online shopping and social media. In fact, so many people use SMS for 2FA these days that you probably take it in your stride without giving it too much thought. Take a look at our Industry Guides for more information on how 2FA could benefit your customers.