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Multifactor authentication: What it is and why you should use it



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Have you noticed that many websites and apps are starting to require more than just a password to log in to your account? Do you get annoyed and frustrated and wish you didn't have to? In fact, more and more websites require this additional level of security and this means that more and more questions have arisen as to what it is and why it is necessary.

When a website or app requires at least one extra piece of information in addition to a password to log in, it is called Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Each piece of information required must come from another category for it to be considered as MFA. Categories include something you have (bank card), something you know (password) and something you are (fingerprint). Multi-factor authentication has been around for a long time, but most are probably not aware of it. The most common example is an ATM, which requires both a bank card and a PIN code. If a website or app requires something other than a password, it usually means entering a numeric code sent to your phone or email address (validation code) or responding to security issues. And to make it easier for the user, the program will usually remember the device you are logging in from so that you do not have to complete this step every time.

So why is all this extra work to log into your account necessary? To get directly to it, the more information you need to log in to something, the harder it is for someone to hack into your account. According to a Google survey, two-factor authentication is one of the five best ways security experts protect their information. Identity fraud only grows and becomes more common, so the safer your information is, the better. I'd rather take the extra steps to go through MFA than risk my account being hacked. If MFA is optional, take steps to demand it!

Source: https://www.nist.gov/itl/tig/back-basics-multi-factor-authentication


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