The Importance of Two- Factor Authentication

20th March 2021

Passwords are a daily part of our lives. We use them to access our work, banking, online shopping and to interact with our social circles. In fact, just about everything else that we do on the internet involves them. But what’s the best way to keep our accounts secure in 2021? And what role can Two-factor authentication play? Here we discuss the importance of Two Factor Authentication.

The evolution of the password

The first computer password was developed in 1961 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This allowed multiple users to access their systems. As the internet grew in popularity, passwords quickly became the go-to-standard. Providing the masses with access to all the favourite systems, websites, and applications that we know today.

However, it didn’t take long for the internet to begin to be used for nefarious purposes. Today there are a plethora of sophisticated hacking techniques, password-cracking programmes, and cyber-criminals lining up to steal passwords and compromise accounts. Indeed, many of the biggest names around such as Google, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Yahoo have all fallen victim to big data breaches.

In the early days of the internet, most of us used the same password for all of our accounts. Eventually, we began to wise up to the dangers of cyberspace and began using different passwords for each account. We also used more complex combinations, and later password managers which create unique passwords for you. However, even with the healthiest amount of caution in tow, it only takes one phishing email or database exploit to unravel your defences and compromise your accounts. So many institutions and developers are employing new techniques in their fight back against cybercrime.

Two-Factor Authentication explained

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA as it is sometimes known, adds a second secure method of identity verification to the login process. First, you type in your password as usual but rather than being admitted straight away, you are asked to verify your identity with a tool that only you have access to at that given moment.

For example, when you attempt your log in the website might ask you to confirm your identity with a single-use code made up of numbers and letters. This code might be given on-screen, in a text message, or by a phone call. Only once that code is typed in will you be provided access. The means of approval sometimes differ, for instance, you might be asked to use your phone’s fingerprint reader, or facial recognition software to provide that verification in place of a code.

While this may sound complicated and time-consuming, it’s important if you want to stay secure. This tool prevents hackers from using simple methods of access to your accounts like guessing passwords but also provides a defence from more complicated forms of software too – which is why you’ll likely see it employed by your banking institution.

Business cybersecurity plan

For businesses, 2FA is only one step in the process. To avoid catastrophic losses, and set-backs, you should develop a robust continuity plan with your IT provider. Here at ECL, we offer a wide range of solutions including such as virtual server infrastructure for our clients that allow them to quickly bounce back should the worst happen. To find out more please call us today on 01268 575300 or email us at info@ecl.co.uk.

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