Just about any account you own on the internet is susceptible to being hacked. Adding an additional step of authenticating your identity makes it harder for an attacker to access your data. The vulnerability of passwords is the main reason for requiring and using two-factor authentication (2FA) also known as multi factor authentication (MFA). Research suggests that 65% of people use the same password for multi accounts and that 90% of passwords can be cracked in under 6 hours.
Multi factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to online platforms which you access. The first layer is generally a combination of a username and password. The second layer of authentication is either something you know, something you have or something you are. For example, you may be asked for a secret code or answer to question, a USB drive or code sent to your mobile phone, or biometrics such as a fingerprint scan, or it may even include a combination of all of these.
These additional layers of security drastically reduce the chances of fraud, data loss and identity theft. Its purpose is to make attackers’ life harder and reduce the risks of your account becoming compromised.
Multi factor authentication is a must-have for:
- online banking
- online shopping (Amazon, PayPal)
- email (Gmail, Microsoft Office 365)
- cloud storage accounts (Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive)
- social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram)
- productivity apps (Evernote, Microsoft Office 365)
- password managers (LastPass)
- communication apps (Slack, MailChimp, Microsoft Teams)
If you’re curious which websites do or don’t offer a form of 2FA, you can check this list provided by Two Factor Auth List.
Using a strong password and additional factor of authentication won’t make your account impossible to hack but it just may make it difficult enough to discourage a cyber-criminal from bothering to spend their time on your account, in favour of a less savvy victim.