As long as there have been usernames and passwords, there have been cybercriminals looking for ways to access others' information. In recent years, however, two-factor authentication has become a more common method to log into online systems because it is recognized as a more secure practice. Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, refers to the requirement of more than one security code to gain access to an account. In other words, users are required to enter a password as well as a protected PIN number (or randomly generated access code) that's sent directly to you.
This method is generally accepted as a more secure form of cybersecurity. And although 2FA is not a surefire way to protect yourself from hackers, it does offer a level of protection greater than the alternatives. In fact, researchers from Trend Micro maintain that 2FA is an effective security measure.
"In the security industry there is a tendency to let the perfect be the enemy of the good," Jonathan Leopando, technical communications researcher, said. "This is a good example. 2FA via text messages, for all its flaws, is still an improvement over an ordinary username-and-password system. In addition, the barriers to entry – cost, ease of use and hardware requirements – are lower than with more secure 2FA systems."
You shouldn't entrust your entire online presence to two-factor authentication, but it's better than having nothing between you and the hackers. That said, while this method of internet access still provides a stronger security framework than having no strategy at all, the best defense against hackers and malware is still cybersecurity software.