Two-factor and multi-factor authentication go beyond complex usernames and passwords. It benefits individuals and businesses in multiple ways by safeguarding confidential information. If you have 2FA or MFA turned on, you know your account is safe even if the credentials are leaked. Let’s further explore what these authentications mean and their benefits.
What is 2FA and MFA?
2FA and MFA are identity and access management security methods. The former requires two forms of identification to access data and resources, while the latter requires two or more forms of verification.
While MFA is a relatively new security method, 2FA is used universally and has been around for a long time. Apple has even made two-factor authentication ubiquitous with its products, and the most common instance is Apple ID two-factor authentication. This requires users to present two different pieces of identification to get access to their accounts. Although this keeps your account safe, you may not want such complexity and wish to turn off two factor authentication. You can do so by signing in to your account, going to the Security section, and clicking Edit.
Similarly, if you have 2FA or MFA enabled for your Google, Instagram, or any other online account, you can turn it off if you don’t want to go through the hassle of offering multiple forms of identification. But it is recommended to have these security methods turned on.
Benefits of 2FA and MFA
- Assures consumer identity
These are essential security tools for safeguarding consumer data from identity theft. As soon as you implement these measures, the security and safety of the traditional username and password login will be improved. This adds an extra layer of protection where you can access your account and data after offering multiple forms of identification.
Cybercriminals will have a hard time accessing your account because it is challenging to crack the OTP sent via email or SMS. And if you have MFA enabled, you will need to provide more than two forms of information to access your account.
- Challenging for criminals to gain access
Multiple layers of security and authentication mean your data and accounts are safe from cyber-attacks. Your account will be locked if multiple sources of secure information are not furnished.
2FA and MFA provide a fraud prevention mechanism that makes it difficult for criminals to access confidential information. If a fraudster tries to access your account, they won’t go beyond cracking your username and password. Hence, their efforts will be thwarted. The criminals will encounter multiple barriers seeking more information, and this will prevent them from committing fraud.
An example of fraud prevention is when 2FA or MFA uses email or SMS to send a one-time code. You can also set it to call and give you the one-time code. Then, you can access your account. Hence, even if the fraudster has cracked your username and password, they won’t be able to crack the distinct forms of identification required to access the account.
- Improved internal security
These security methods are excellent for an organization’s internal use. For example, if an employee is working from home or remotely, they can access the company’s internal network without compromising security.
Thanks to this security method, the workforce can work flexibly from home. They can connect to a company’s resources safely and not fall prey to data breaches.
- Reduces risks from compromised passwords
Passwords are the most common form of security and authentication, but they are not the most secure. People might share or reuse passwords. Passwords might be stolen, or hackers can guess your password to access your account. But if 2FA or MFA is enabled, hackers cannot access your account even if they have cracked your password. They will need to provide more forms of authentication that are only available to you.
- Easily adaptable for different use cases
There are some situations in life that call for greater security. For instance, if you are conducting transactions online or accessing sensitive data from unknown devices or networks, you would want to safeguard your information. 2FA and MFA use behavioral and contextual data like IP address and geolocation to assess the risk and ensure you don’t fall prey to any data breaches.
The Bottom Line
Adding two-factor or multi-factor authentication is the simplest and most straightforward way of preventing cybersecurity incidents from happening. Besides organizations and companies, individual users must also use these security methods to safeguard their information and prevent their confidential data from falling into the wrong hands.
So, if you take your online security and privacy seriously, it is time to go beyond creating complex passwords. You must enable robust security methods to keep your data, resources, and accounts safe.
However, if you want to stay away from such complexity, you can turn off 2FA and MFA.