Two-factor authentication: what is it and why use it?

two factor authentication
Man turning verification code knob to complete two-factor authentication, 2FA. Composite image between a hand photography and a 3D background.

Security is a primary concern of those who use the internet, regardless of what uses are made by each one. After all, there are many threats lurking in the online world, such as account thefts and scams of all kinds that can cause a big headache.

One of the most efficient features to ensure the protection of your devices is to enable two-factor authentication, if possible, on all your accounts. Next, you check out what this is and why you should always use it.

What is two-factor authentication?

Almost all current online services (such as access to social networks, banks, registrations, etc.) offer two-factor authentication, which is nothing more than an additional layer of security when logging in to an account.

When you enter your profile, for example, on a social network, the platform will always require you to enter a password that you have registered. However, when triggering two-factor authentication, you will need to go through two “doors” before entering. After the password, the second factor can be an SMS, an acceptance on another social network, or the insertion of a code sent by e-mail.

The idea here is that, in order to log in, the user needs not only to know the password (which can be stolen) but also to have access to another device logged in by himself. It is worth saying that two-factor authentication is not an infallible barrier, but it is a very efficient way to prevent your accounts from being accessed by third parties.

Why use two-factor authentication?

We know that today there are many risks on the internet and scams that can be applied by mere carelessness of the victim – the so-called phishing. It may be that, due to inattention, one day you will end up clicking on some malicious link and a criminal will be able to access some of your passwords.

When you decide to use two-factor authentication, you create an extra “wall” for a scammer, in addition to the password. There are many people who have difficulty creating complex passwords and end up registering simpler codes, becoming vulnerable to external attacks. By activating this feature, even if the cybercriminal can find out one of your passwords, he will also have to access the second factor to be able to hack into your accounts, which is much more difficult.

Therefore, when well executed, the two-factor authentication system is quite secure and can be the difference when you are about to suffer a scam. This system is especially important for the accounts you use and that can cause more damage if they are hacked, such as drives where you store files or the banks you use.

List of 2FA apps available in the market:

  • Google Authenticator
  • Microsoft Authenticator
  • Authy
  • LastPass Authenticator
  • Duo Mobile
  • 1Password
  • OTP Auth
  • FreeOTP
  • Yubico Authenticator
  • Tofu
  • Aegis Authenticator
  • OTP Manager and so on.