Cyberattacks are a serious threat for anyone who runs a business. Hacking attempts are inevitable and, in the age of modern technology, attacks are only getting more difficult to prevent. Companies have tried everything in their power to ensure that their data doesn’t get breached, with methods such as encryption and employee training methods.
Two factor authentication, also known as two step authentication or multi factor authentication, is another security approach that provides an added layer of protection. This verification method makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data as it requires an additional security key.
In this article, we explain exactly what factor authentication means and why you need more than one authentication channel, how the original method no longer ensures data safety and discuss the various ways you can implement this duo security practice.
One Password Won’t Do the Trick
A decade or so ago, one of the best ways to ensure cybersecurity was to add numbers and special characters to your passwords. In the current day, this will have little to no effect on your data protection.
Your password may seem strong, but with only a surface layer of protection, there is no verification of identity. So, although special characters may hold cyberattackers off for a moment, in most cases, they have access to software that can test millions of password combinations in an instant.
A password provides a single barrier for attackers, which means all they have to do is crack the code, and that’s it — they’ve gained access.
Social networks have also proven to be a security risk. It’s not difficult to find the required personal information for commonly requested security questions. A quick browse through a Facebook profile can give you sensitive data, such as the year someone was born, where their hometown is, or their mother’s maiden name.
By making use of two factor authentication methods, it ensures that the user is correctly identified by requesting an additional authentication factor such as a backup code. Utilizing a trusted device builds another layer to the process, making it harder for security to be breached.
How Does Two Factor Authentication Work?
Two factor authentication is a secure way to check the legitimacy of the identity of the current user by requiring an additional login factor to grant access. It’s a practice that is used by multiple websites and organizations, such as Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
The process is simple:
- You log in to the desired account with your email or username and trusted password.
- You get transferred to the following webpage that says “We have sent an OTP (one-time-password) to your trusted mobile device”.
- You check your phone and an SMS authentication code pops up in a push notification at the top of your screen.
- You enter the 4-6 digit code into the webpage and you gain access to your account.
Just by requesting a verification code via text message, you greatly reduce your chances of getting hit by cybercriminals. Where malicious software such as keylogging spyware can track every character you type, you can find yourself in a vulnerable position with your passwords.
This is especially true if you use the same password for various platforms. Two factor authentication takes the edge off by taking codes to an alternative device — one where malware is not present, ensuring your data remains protected with that extra step.
Why Two Factor Authentication Has Stronger Security Benefits
Hackers target vulnerable accounts. If you have two authentication factors in place, it makes the hacker’s job much more difficult. Instead of gaining access after the first hurdle, they have to do a lot of work to be successful in their task.
To get past the second factor of authentication, the attacker would have to directly intercept the OTP from your phone through your undisclosed mobile number, or be physically close to you or your trusted device to stand a chance of getting in. Due to this, attackers are much more likely to move onto the next potential victim with weaker security.
If a victim only has one layer of password protection, then a hacker has no further barriers. Having the additional layer of verification greatly decreases your chances of a data breach as it deters cyberattackers from attempting a hack in the first place.
Different Authentication Methods
There are various ways in which authentication methods can be verified. These are:
- What you own – A mobile phone, token, or security key.
- What you choose – Password, security question, or standard PIN.
- Who you are – Biometric authentication such as fingerprint, face scanning, or vocal recognition.
- Where you are – If a sign in attempt appears from an unrecognized location, especially if you have logged in recently, systems may block the foreign user.
Using SMS in A2P 10DLC (application-to-person 10-digit long code) is a great way of implementing two factor authentication in your company. SMS Authentication PINs ensure that your consumers and employees verify their identity by sending a unique recovery code to their personal cell phone, keeping everyone’s data safe in a personalized and cost-effective system.
You’re probably already using two factor authentication without having enabled it yourself. Many financial services such as banking apps do not offer an opt-out when requesting a fingerprint scan, or an SMS authentication PIN to grant access to your online account data.
For additional security, push notifications for sign in attempts can be incredibly beneficial for keeping multiple accounts protected. This function is implemented in services such as Apple ID. In this, you have the ability to accept, or reject the attempt if it was not you who requested access. This makes you aware of any recent breaches of data that might’ve led to a potential cyberattack.
Do you want to know more about how you can implement two factor authentication into your business? We have the answers. Get in touch with Swift SMS Gateway or start a free demo and find out more about how you can improve your company security.