Two Step Authentication, also known as Multi-factor Authentication is a method of logging into an account by more than one way.
Traditionally we use a Username and Password to log into an account such as email, Facebook or banking. For a lot of people this is enough.
But, if you want extra security for a particular account, the provider might have Multi-factor Authentication available.
An example of this is with your bank. Some banks provide you with an App or dongle attached to your keyring you use after you have logged in with your email username and password. It will provide you with a special additional code to use at that point in time, and another level of security.
Some email providers use the dame methods, by either sending you a code to your phone, another email address or an app installed on your computer, mobile device or tablet.
Multi-Factor Authentication can be used on just about any device, or platform like Windows, IOS, Iphone, Mac or Linux computer.
Why Use 2 Step Authentication
In a nutshell – Security.
Using Multi-factor Authentication provides a much higher level of security.
Email is a very private thing, with lots of important information. Most institutions will send you emails regarding your finances or affairs and this information is very valuable to criminals.
Email is very convenient, but also very accessible to people in know and who dedicate their time to access other peoples information.
There are methods for gaining peoples passwords, via social networking/engineering, tricking people and even software which can be installed on your computer called Spyware, which spies on you.
Using Multi-factor Authentication can significantly improve the security of your account and even let you know when someone is trying to login.
Problems With 2 Step Authentication
There aren’t a lot of problems with Multi-factor Authentication must you must be set up correctly.
If you set it up to send a text to your mobile, and you loose your phone you must find a way to reconnect t o your account and add your new mobile number.
The same goes for if you are using an app to receive your second authentication notification.
Some applications and programs like Microsoft Outlook you might have difficulty with. In these instances the provider such as Hotmail or Gmail will request you set up a whole new password, but for the Application not the actual email address, which can be a bit confusing.
How to Turn on Multi-factor Authentication
There are many different ways to turn on Multi-factor Authentication and it really depends on the service you are using and if they even provide its functionality.
If you are with a bank they will most likely issue with the physical hardware to carry around with you.
If you are using a paid service you might need to talk to them to enable the functionality and with free services such as Hotmail and Gmail, is is quote easy to enable yourself in the settings of both of these accounts.
Be warned though, lots of people who have trouble with the free services and get locked out themselves risk loosing their information as there is not a lot of support for these services and very hard to actually get hold of someone who can help you.
Google Gmail – Click Here for Instructions
Microsoft Hotmail Outlook – Click Here for Instructions
Facebook – Click Here for Instructions
Telstra – Click Here for Instructions
MyGOV – They will automatically send you a text message with code
Weakness in Passwords
Generally passwords are not weak. In fact, most services require passwords have a high level of complexity such as different upper and lowercase letters, with numbers and characters.
Where the security breaks down is we have many accounts now and a lot of us use the same passwords over and over again.
If one of these sites are compromised and the wrong people get your password, it wouldn’t be hard for them to try other accounts you may use with the same password to log into your account.
Also, the site and password might be secure, but you or your computer might not be.
Lots of computers still get infected with viruses such as Spyware which was made to collect your usernames and passwords on your computer as you use them. The password might be great but if your computer security is compromised someone else could have your password.
Not only that you might have trusted the wrong person with it, or a host of a whole lot of reasons someone else may have your password.
This has led to the rise of multi factor authentication.