Multi-Factor Authentication is a very vital tool in protecting your online accounts. Phishing attacks are all too common on the internet today, and these attacks are nearly indistinguishable from legitimate login pages. How can you best protect yourself from these attacks? Multi-factor authentication can help eliminate these threats by adding a second layer to logging into your accounts.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-Factor Authentication is a security verification system used to confirm that the person attempting to access the account is indeed the owner of the account. This can be done through various methods, such as security codes being sent over text messages, a One-time password being generated, or a USB key. These offer varying degrees of security.

Multi-Factor authentication can be done through a variety of devices, including smartphones.

Text Messages

The most insecure method for multi-factor authentication is security codes sent through text message. The SMS protocol is notoriously insecure, with attackers being able to make fake cell phone towers or other ways of intercepting the one-time codes. However, it is generally very convenient and is better than not having any method of multi-factor authentication. Let’s see what other methods are more secure.

One Time Passwords

Another common method for multi-factor authentication is that of one-time passwords (OTP). OTP is generally done through an authentication app such as Duo or Google Authenticator. These codes generated by your authentication app are unique and time sensitive. One way this method of multi-factor authentication is more secure is that it does not require a request from the service you are trying to log into. This method is a lot harder to crack and reasonably convenient.

Security Keys

This leads us to our third method of multi-factor authentication: USB security keys. USB security keys have gained popularity over the years with the introduction of devices such as Yubikey and Google Titan keys. These are very secure as it is dedicated hardware for generating the authentication code. All that is needed to authenticate is plugging the USB key in and pressing a button. After that you have been successfully authenticated.

Where can multi-factor authentication be used?

Multi-factor authentication can be used on most online accounts, but accounts such as banking and other financial information should especially be protected. Work accounts should also be protected due to potentially sensitive data being handled.

Ask your IT department if multi-factor authentication is being used at your place of business. ActivPC can help you create a multi-factor authentication process that is both convenient and secure for your accounts today.


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