As the scale and scope of threats present in the digital world expand, more and more cybersecurity measures are necessary to feel safe online.

One such measure, becoming more and more commonplace, particularly in online banking, is the Two-Factor Authentication, alternatively known also as Multi-Factor Authentication.

Read our guide to see why 2FA is essential.

What is Two-Factor Authentication and why is it a necessity?

By definition, 2FA is an umbrella terms applicable to a variety of methods of verifying that you’re the person authorized to access an account under the provided credentials.

Normally, using the correct login and password should be enough, however, no matter how strong a password might be, it might still be broken, or even fall victim to a database leak or hack. In such instances, an account might be vulnerable to an undesired third-party access.

With a secondary authentication layer, anybody who only has your login credentials will be unable to progress.

How does Two-Factor Authentication work?

The available forms of 2FA vary based on the website, but there are several common options you’re likely to encounter:

  • Biometrics – this method uses your body to verify the login. It usually means scans of fingerprints, iris, or face. If the provided image matches the one you set up during or after registration, you will be let in. Smartphones often offer this method.
  • Confirmation via a smartphone app – a synchronized smartphone app can notify you for login confirmation. Many services offer dedicated apps, but you can also often use generic ones, such as the Google Authenticator.
  • One-Time Passwords – this method asks for a code to be provided in addition to the password. The code is generated on a case-by-case basis and usually sent via e-mail, text message, a synchronized app, or a special device.
  • Access token – you might also have a device, a chip, or another kind of object you need to present or plug in to be allowed in.

Complex protection

Putting all of these explanations together, Multi-Factor Authentication is an additional defensive wall, supporting your primary verification (such as a password or a pattern) in protecting access to your digital devices and accounts.

In some cases, such as in-app confirmations or one-time passwords, you will even be alerted when something is happening with your account. You’ll get the notification to verify access, after all, and while it’s essential not to confirm any odd activity, such a notification is a good signal you might need to update your logic credentials at the earliest convenience.

For all the reasons stated above, 2FA is a massive upgrade to your digital security measures. It’s strongly advised to set it up, especially where your finances and your online identity (such as social media) are concerned.