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Two-factor authentication and why you need it

Two-factor authentication and why you need it

Two-factor authentication is one of the most vital additions to security that you can have. It essentially means that the application or service you are using is double-checking that it is you logging in. It does this by using external processes or services to verify your identity. If you aren’t already using two-factor authentication, 2022 is the time to start. Social media hacks are only increasing in numbers, with one in every four social media users reporting unauthorised access to their account.

Two-factor for personal use

The most common form of two-factor authentication that you have most likely used is text codes. When logging into the site or application, your mobile number will be sent a unique code. This code expires and can only be used once. Upon entering this code onto the site, the site confirms that it is you and allows you access. This is a great form of added security and a good place to start. However, there are some downfalls to this type of two-factor authentication.

One is that it requires you to have cell service to receive the text with the code. The second and main disadvantage is that hackers can intercept your text messages and retrieve this code for themselves. This isn’t easy and isn’t extremely common, however it is possible.

Another form of two-factor authentication is one-time codes. Unlike the text codes, these are provided through a secure second application. There are specific authentication apps that can be downloaded, and you can add multiple social media apps to these. Otherwise, some applications, such as the Suncorp banking app, have their own separate authentication app. These are a great alternative to using text codes, as they provide an extra level of security by needing to log into the app. These can mean extra time to log into your social media, but to protect your data and information, the time is worth it!

Most social media sites and applications have these options available. It’s as simple as going into the settings and enabling two-factor authentication, if it isn’t automatically switched on.

Two-factor for businesses

The importance of two-factor authentication extends beyond social media. Using it to protect sensitive information for your business is vital to reducing instances of hacking and theft. While the majority if not all businesses use some form of passwords and user-login to access business files, these are simply not enough anymore. Passwords are easily accessed and hacked and have proven time and time again to not be enough to deter a cyber-attack.

The good news is most systems and services have the option to enable two-factor authentication in their settings. From here you can choose between the options mentioned above (text or one-time code), or even other security systems.  Microsoft 365 and Gmail are two services which offer great two-factor authentication processes. There are even options to add this feature onto operating systems such as MacOS and Windows.

If you or your business is at all serious about cyber-security, two-factor authentication should be a part of your day-to-day life. It’s an important step of security for anything from your personal social media to your organisations’ files. Cyber hacking is on the rise and data is more at risk than ever. Through wider understanding and implementation of security defences such as two-factor authentication, you can start to protect your data.


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