Don’t Want Your Accounts Hacked? Use Two-Factor Authentication

Here’s a harsh reality – many of us fall victim to data leaks, account hacks and other crimes of cyber theft simply because we do not use extra security options. We’re happy using automated logins and passwords and don’t really bother much with other security settings. It’s only when our accounts are hacked do we have the ‘AHA!’ moment. One of the most important security features offered by nearly all social media and email service providers is the two-factor authentication which, unfortunately, very few people actually implement. So what exactly is it and why do you need it? Read on.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Standard security requires only a login id with a password which can easily be hacked. The two-factor authentication also known as 2FA is an extra security layer after the login process. That is, once the user logs onto the platform, they will need to provide another piece of information which is unique only to the user – in this case, usually a code or a token sent specifically to the user’s mobile number. This makes it harder for potential hackers to hack into your account and also gives you a notification that someone has been trying to get in. Google and Facebook initiated the 2FA process years ago with banks and other institutions following later. So if you use the 2FA process, every time you (or someone else pretending to be you) logins into the account, a secret code will be sent to your registered mobile number. Once you get the code, you enter it into the field and you’re done.

Why Do You Need Two-Factor Authentication?

If you’re using one password for all your accounts, then you definitely need 2FA. You’re already posing yourself a great risk by using one password. To avoid a hacker gaining complete control over your life, use 2FA wherever you can with your accounts. Standard 2FA asks for something that you know and something that you have. This is mostly used for email or social media accounts which are always at a high risk of being hacked. As for your bank accounts, talk to your bank rep to know what security options are provided by the bank. It’s absolutely critical for people to take security seriously because hackers and code crackers are pretty vicious these days. Do note though that 2FAs are for your personal login safety. It does not provide any security against compromised browsers, phishing attempts or malware attacks.

Good News for AT&T, SPRINT, Verizon and T-Mobile Users

Mobile network providers now understand the criticality of 2FA, hence the four major mobile carriers in the US have joined hands in creating the Mobile Authentication Taskforce, which will develop a mobile authentication solution to be deployed by 2018. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile – the Big Four of US mobile carriers want to simplify the process of 2FAs especially since there are a number of methods to it which could make a user feel chaotic. The four plan on using a combination of network-based authentication, geo-location, and SIM card recognition to enable the 2FA process. By 2018, we’ll be seeing an upgrade to mobile security features and options.

Until then, make sure you have 2FA on for all your important social, communication and financial accounts.

Farah tries to keep up with the fast-paced tech world by writing about it. She covers latest tech news and writes informative pieces to help her readers make informed decisions about their tech preferences.