You’ve likely seen the acronym 2FA floating about and may be wondering what it means and why it is so important.
So, what is 2FA?
2FA (two-factor authentication) adds an extra layer of protection to the online platforms and accounts you are using. Having a strong password – take our password quiz if you haven’t already – is the first step in keeping your details secure and 2FA is the next step you want take to ensure you are well protected from intruders.
The first layer of protection you have for your accounts is of course, your username and password (which isn’t your pet’s name or the year you were born, right?). Two-factor authentication would be your second layer of protection, where you’d be sent a SMS or email with a PIN or code that you need to enter.
A cyber criminal would not (in essence) have access to your mobile or email so would therefore fail to gain access to your account, even if they had your username and password. All thanks to 2FA!
Different types of 2FA include:
Google or Microsoft App
Setting up 2FA makes it harder for an attacker to access your data, drastically reduces the chances of fraud, data loss or identity theft. Individuals and SMEs need to consider setting both up, for peace of mind that their accounts are secure.
But do I really need to use 2FA?
With cyber criminals rapidly becoming more advanced, it is fairly easy for them to steal passwords – especially passwords that are more generic (it takes them an average of 20 minutes to figure it out).
Accounts that have been set up to use 2FA will require an additional check. This means that even if an intruder knows your password, they will not be able to access your account. We strongly recommend that you set 2FA up on accounts that would cause the most harm to you if access to them was stolen. You should also use it for your email, as cyber criminals with access to your inbox can use it to reset passwords on your other accounts.
We always recommend a multi-layered approach when it comes to cyber security, and this is one of them.
OK, how do I set it up?
Most online platforms will already have 2FA enabled as part of their security measures. However, there are some that don’t so you will need to do this yourself manually. Where available the option to switch 2FA on is usually under the security settings of your account (it may also be named ‘two-step verification’). There are no associated costs for setting this up, and most authenticator apps are free. The providers main priority is that their platform is safe and secure for all users.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your approach to cyber security